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The Yachad Magazine

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  • Supplement to Jewish ActionA publication of the Orthodox Union

    the yachad magazine 2015-2016

  • YACHAD EXECUTIVE TEAMDr. Jeffrey Lichtman International Director

    Eli Hagler Associate Director

    Ken Saibel Associate Director

    Mitchel Aeder Chairman, Yachad National Board

    YACHAD DEPARTMENT HEADSNicole Bodner Director, New York Yachad

    Liz Fishel Director, National Yachad

    Jack Gourdji Executive Director, Jewish Union Foundation

    Dr. Joe Goldfarb Director, Summer Programs

    Chani Herrmann Director, New Jersey Yachad

    Michelle Mintz Supervisor, Social Work Services

    Esti Shulman Coordinator, IVDU School

    YACHAD NY/NJ PROGRAMMINGMichael Adler Program Director, Rayim Yachad

    David Weintraub Program Director, Senior Yachad

    Ron Hirschhorn Program Director, Junior Yachad

    Rebecca Schrag Director, School & Community Programming

    YACHAD REGIONAL LEADERSHIPDeborah Rockoff Director, National Programs

    Ahuva Stern Administrator, National Programs

    Batya Jacob Director, Educational Support Services

    Rabbi Eliezer Lederfeind National Director, Our Way

    NATIONAL CHAPTERSBaltimore, MD

    Chicago, IL

    Cleveland, OH

    Dallas, TX

    Detroit, MI

    Houston, TX

    Los Angeles, CA

    New England

    New Jersey

    New York

    Omaha, NE

    Philadelphia, PA

    South Florida

    Toronto, ON, Canada

    Israel

    ORTHODOX UNIONMartin Nachimson President

    Howard Tzvi Friedman Chairman of the Board

    Allen I. Fagin Executive Vice President / Chief Professional Officer

    Rabbi Steven Weil Senior Managing Director

    Rabbi Dr. Tzvi H. Weinreb Executive Vice President, Emeritus

    Mayer Fertig Chief Communications Officer

    Shlomo Schwartz Chief Financial Officer / Chief Administrative Officer

    Rabbi Lenny Bessler Chief Human Resources Officer

    Sam Davidovics Chief Infomation Officer

    Gwen Bloom Executive EditorEli Hagler Associate Editor Abby Ravski Assistant EditorCarrie Beylus OU Director, Design & BrandingEsther Berger Art DirectorDeena Katzenstein Graphic Designer

    HOW TO REACH US:Yachad/National Jewish Council for Disabilities11 Broadway, 13th Floor, New York, NY 10004212-613-8229 Fax: 212-613-0796 yachad@ou.org www.yachad.org

    @YachadNJCD

    www.facebook.com/yachadnjcd

    www.youtube.com/yachadnjcd

    www.instagram.com/yachadnjcd

    Clockwise from top left: Akiva Marder (White Plains, NY)

    & Yedidya Cohen (New York, NY) - Camp Nesher

    Tamar Lesser (Toronto, ON),

    Deena Moskowitz (Brooklyn, NY), & Shani Beilin (Teaneck, NJ) -

    Camp Lavi

    Feivy Zafran (Brooklyn, NY) & Jonathan Gardner (New Brunswick, NJ)

    at the Celebrate Israel Parade

    Chaya Reich (Brooklyn, NY) & Lala Schwartz (Toronto, ON) -

    Camp Moshava

    the yachad magazine 2015-2016

    Supplement to Jewish ActionA publication of the Orthodox Union

    BELONG

    2015 by Orthodox Union.

    All rights reserved.

    because everyone belongs

  • INTERVIEW WITH SARA COOPERMANGrace Berman

    TRADITIONAL SERVICES VS. SELF-DIRECTIONBatya Rosner

    ARIELLA BARKER: A LIONESS OF GOD - NO MATTER WHATBayla Sheva Brenner

    CHAPTER HIGHLIGHTS

    YAD B'YADBatya Rosner

    AN ADVENTUROUS LIFE OR A MEANINGFUL LIFEMichael Silverman

    YACHAD'S RELATIONSHIP BUILDING COURSEZvi Volk

    HARD WORK AND A HELPING HANDGwen Bloom

    A SERVING OF SUCCESS Michael Orbach

    CELEBRATING PURIM WITH OUR FRIENDS IN STATEN ISLAND

    A VERY SPECIAL GIFT

    AN UNEXPECTED CELEBRATIONBatya Rosner

    EXECUTIVES' MESSAGESMitch Aeder | Dr. Jeffrey LichtmanKen Saibel | Eli Hagler

    YACHAD IS MY HOMEJonathan SpillerTHE JOEL DANER YACHAD COMMUNAL FELLOWSHIP

    A YACHAD FAMILY Gwen Bloom

    THE ABLE ACTBECOMES LAW

    RICHARD BERNSTEIN: NO WAY BUT FORWARDBayla Sheva Brenner

    YACHAD YOUTH LEADERSHIP COUNCIL: MAKING THINGS HAPPEN

    YACHAD'S 30TH ANNIVERSARY DINNERGwen Bloom

    FROZEN & AS WARM AS CAN BE

    WHAT INCLUSION MEANS TO ME

    RECONNECTING & MOVING FORWARD

    TABLE of CONTENTS

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  • 2 BELONG 2015-2016

    I am new to Yachad, but Yachad is not new to me. I have known for a long time what Yachad means to my niece, Zahava, a Chicago Yachad member. Wherever she goes, Zahava meets friends she made at a Yachad Shabbaton (weekend retreat) or on Yad BYad, Yachads flagship summer program in Israel. Wherever her siblings go, they meet people who say, You must be related to Zahava! Yachad makes Zahava feel important and included. I am writing these words shortly after my family and I attended Yachads 29th Annual Northeast Family Shabbaton. Over 900 people, including 135 Yachad members and their families, joined together for an

    extraordinary Shabbat. While the Yachad staff and dozens of tireless volunteers led programming for the Yachad members, their parents and siblings attended lectures, shiurim (classes), panel discussions, and workshops covering a wide gamut of topics political advocacy, psychological issues, sibling support services, job training, financial planning, networking all geared specifically to families of those with special needs.

    It was both heartbreaking and heartwarming to hear the families stories. Painful challenges faced with resiliency and faithparents sharing their experience with and providing advice and encouragement to other parents. Siblings of children with special needs who understand each other instinctively and can laugh and cry together. A number of parents said to me, I do not know how we would survive, literally, without Yachad. Or, this Shabbaton is our lifeline. This was a rare event, where a wide spectrum of Jews secular, modern Orthodox, Chassidic, Ashkenazic and Sephardic, sat side by side as a community. What connected us was not overwhelmed by what usually divides us. Empathy and the desire to learn from one another replaced judgment. The advisors present, college age students who volunteer at Yachad programs together with high school students and even eighth graders, exhibited such maturity, patience and caring that it is evident these volunteers get as much from Yachad as they give, if not more. There is so much more that Yachad can do. The imagination and aspirations of our staff is limitless, but our resources are not. We need to be more efficient in providing services and more effective in conveying to the broader community the imperative of inclusion. And there is so much more that each of us, and each of you, can do. Encourage your employer to sponsor a Yachad Shabbaton. Invite Yachad into your community for a lecture or a workshop or a Shabbat. Make your shul (including the bimah) wheelchair accessible. Encourage your children to build relationships with Yachad members they meet in school or camp. Promote inclusion in your schools. Give a job to an adult with special needs. Sponsor a Yachad camper this summer. Join Team Yachad in the Miami or Jerusalem Marathons. Share ideas. Contribute. I can be reached at mitch.aeder@gmail.com.

    MITCH AEDER Chairman, Yachad National Board

    In my position as Yachad's associate director, I am often asked why one should contribute to our organization. Quite simply, we need your support to continue and expand upon the vital work we do. However, lets dig a bit deeper to learn more about Yachad. Today, Yachad is an international organization with 15 chapters around the United States, Israel, and Canada. We are the largest provider of summer camp experiences for Jewish individuals with special needs with 27 different programs. We have sliding scale counseling services for individuals and families. We have a school for those with disabilities. We have a Day Habilitation program and an extensive vocational program in order to stem the high rate of unemployment among our members. And as the only national organization whose mission is to promote inclusion, we have thousands of Shabbatonim (weekend retreats), and social and recreational programs throughout the year for Yachad members and their typically developing peers. Additional funds are needed in order to meet the increasing programmatic demands of our communities. Scholarship assistance remains our greatest need if we want to ensure that everyone can participate in our activities. The decision about whether to attend a summer camp, a Shabbaton, or a recreational program is often a strictly financial one for many Yachad families. We do our very best to ensure that every member of the community can participate, but we need your help. Funds are scarce. The needs are great and sometimes very difficult decisions must be made. Often, people will ask, "how many individuals do you serve? The answer is never simple. When just one Yachad member attends a program we are actually impacting multiple lives including those of the Yachad members siblings and family. They may then get the chance to do things that they ordinarily cannot such as taking a much-needed respite. We also impact the lives of the typically developing teen and their families, who are immensely affected (often for the rest of their lives) by their participation. As a proud beneficiary agency of the Orthodox Union, Yachad does indeed benefit by costs being subsidized through the generosity of the OU, thus ensuring that your hard-earned dollars go directly to the cause you wish to support. Space does not permit me to share with you the countless stories of those whose lives have been forever changed by their interaction with Yachad, so I inv