This Garden of Sounds and Smiles is Music for the Soul

The musical garden, which is fully accessible to people with disabilities, was donated by KKL Italy and its president, Sergio Castelbolognesi, in loving memory of his brother Massimo, who had Down's Syndrome.

The musical garden, which stands in KKL-JNF's Field and Forest Center in Nes Harim, provides a soul-healing experience that combines forest immersion with music therapy.

The garden features game tables and musical play equipment adapted to children with disabilities and special needs. These include a flower-shaped musical tube, a colorful palette of percussive flowers, a melodious steel drum, a large xylophone with song-playing options, 3 mushroom-shaped bells, and a gong; all acoustically designed for the outdoors.

The instruments' therapeutic qualities lie in their expert design to produce pleasant tones that positively affect the nervous system. The interaction between the players creates a musical conversation and a unique group improvisatory experience enjoyable for both the performers and the listeners.

The brand-new park is already proving to be a hit with the Ukrainian child refugees currently staying at the Nes Harim Center.

In a video message broadcasted at the dedication ceremony (June 12th, 2022) KKL Italy President Sergio Castelbolognesi spoke lovingly of his brother Massimo. "He was with us for 50 years of his life, giving us many beautiful moments," said Sergio. "He was an interesting person, a lovely guy, and we have been very lucky and happy to have him in our lives."

The dedication plaque, inscribed in Hebrew and Italian (translated here for the purpose of this article), reads:

Dear Massimo,
We hope that this garden will bring lots of happiness and smiles to the children that will play here, like the many smiles and joy that you gifted us throughout your life. You were a marvelous and fun companion on this journey. We think of you always and keep you close to our hearts.

Photographs: Bonnie Sheinman, KKL-JNF