Elstree member wins gold with Team GB at Special Olympics

Daniel Bernard scores a three pointer at the Special Olympics

21 March 2019

Daniel Bernard, an active member of The Liberal Synagogue Elstree (TLSE), was part of the Team GB men’s basketball side that won the gold medal at this month’s Special Olympics World Games.

Twenty-five-year old Daniel (pictured scoring a three pointer during the Games) who has learning difficulties and autism, played a key role in the event in Abu Dhabi. Team GB beat America in the final to win gold.

Daniel was among more than 7,000 people from 170 countries competing in the games, which are like the Olympics or Paralympics but for athletes with intellectual difficulties. Great Britain sent a team of 128 athletes in a variety of sports along with their coaches, medical team and support staff.

He has been in training for a number of years, including with an intense programme of blended inclusive basketball. In 2017, he was part of the winning team at the Special Olympics GB National Games in Sheffield.

Both sets of Daniel’s grandparents were involved at Finchley Progressive Synagogue where his parents – Jacqueline Silver and David Bernard – met and indeed married. The family are now very active members of TLSE.

Mum Jacqueline said: “We are immensely proud of Daniel and the entire Special Olympics GB men’s basketball team. All the players and coaches have trained tirelessly to reach this moment. The gold medal is deservedly theirs.

“Liberal Judaism continues to be a big part of Daniel’s life. He enjoys attending Rabbi Pete Tobias’s services where he joins in with the prayers and readings and sings loudly. He particularly enjoys the services where Rabbi Pete plays his guitar and a good kiddush.

“Daniel is always the first to wish fellow congregants ‘Shabbat Shalom’ and feels confident in the relaxed nurturing environment. TLSE and Liberal Judaism is where he feels included, safe and valued, where his autism and learning difficulties are not a barrier and where he feels like a full member of the community.”

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