Elstree member represents Team GB at Special Olympics

13 March 2019

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

Twenty-five-year old Daniel (pictured kneeling bottom right), who has learning difficulties and autism, flew out this week for the event which starts on Thursday in Abu Dhabi.

He will be 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 has sent a team of 128 athletes in a variety of sports along with their coaches, medical team and support staff.

Daniel has been in training for a number of years, including with an intense programme of blended inclusive basketball. He has already tasted sporting success. 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: “Daniel was delighted and proud to be selected to represent Team GB for the World Games. It is an amazing achievement and he is determined to do his best, make friends with people from all over the world and work as a team to win a medal.

“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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