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Supplement to Jewish Action

the yachad magazine • 2013

national jewish council for disabilities


YACHAD EXECUTIVE TEAM Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman

National Director

Eli Hagler

Assistant Director

Yachad/NJCD’s Programs Include:

Dr. Joe Goldfarb

Assistant Director; Director, Summer Programs Ken Saibel

Associate Director, Institutional Advancement

YACHAD NATIONAL BOARD Aaron Kinderlehrer, Chairman Dr. Giti Bendheim

Dr. Isaac Klein

Joseph Bensmihen

Elaine Cohen-Liebman

Martin Bienstock

Atara Mauskopf

Rabbi Dovid Cohen

Howard Suss

Alan Forman

Esther Schlanger

Dr. Mark Freilich

Steven Spira

Dr. Jimmy Hain

Gary Snitow

Dr. Avi Jacobs

Dr. Tzochi Rosman

Ira Kellman

YACHAD NY/NJ PROGRAMMING Nicole Bodner, LMSW Director, NY Yachad and Program Director, Rayim Yachad

Rebecca Schrag, MSW

Program Director, Senior Yachad

Ron Hirschhorn

Program Director, Junior Yachad

Chani Herrmann, LMSW Director, New Jersey Yachad

YACHAD REGIONAL LEADERSHIP Deborah Rockoff

Director, National Programs

Ahuva Stern

Administrator, National Programs

Batya Jacob

Director, Educational Support Services

Art Therapy Chanukah Parties College Learning Programs Cultural Arts Program Dating & Marriage Group DayHab (Without Walls)

North American Inclusion Month (NAIM) “On The Job” Training Our Way for the Jewish Deaf Parent Support Groups Purim Carnival Relationship Building Course

Educational Services

Self-Advocacy

Family Services

Sensitivity Training Workshops

Individual Counseling

Shabbatons (Weekend Retreats)

IVDU School

SibZone

Leadership Training

Simchaton

Lobbying in Washington D.C.

Special Education Conferences

Midwest Family Shabbaton

Summer Programs

Morris Sandelbaum High School Fellowship

Taglit-Birthright Trips

National Family Shabbaton

Vocational Training

Team Yachad

Rabbi Eliezer Lederfeind National Director, Our Way

NATIONAL CHAPTERS Baltimore, MD

Mira Labovitz

Boston, MA

Liz Offen

Chicago, IL

Efrem Popel

Cleveland, OH

Sarah Taub, Sara Ireland Cooperman

Columbus, OH

Halle Schwartz

Dallas, TX

Rabbi Sandy Schulkes

Denver, CO

Emily Kieval

Detroit, MI

Jeff Lazar

Houston, TX

Gina Fass

Los Angeles, CA

Ian Lurie

Omaha, NE

Karen M. Gustafson

Silver Spring, MD

Rabbi Shalom Hoffman

South Florida

Tzippi Rosen, Beth Landesman

St. Louis

Debbie Garbow

Toronto, Ont., Canada

Galya Ouanounou

Israel

Lisa (Rich) Galinsky, Yoel Sterman

Eli Hagler Carrie Beylus Michael Orbach Renée Rosenfeld Lee Landor Lauren Browdy

OU SENIOR TEAM Martin Nachimson

President

Stephen J. Savitsky

Chairman of the Board

Rabbi Steven Weil

Executive Vice President

Rabbi Dr. Tzvi H. Weinreb Executive Vice President, Emeritus Paul S. Glasser

Senior Director of Institutional Advancement

Mayer Fertig

Chief Communications Officer

Clockwise from top left: Birthright Yachad Summer 2012 – Tzvriel Frankenthal, Chicago, IL; Jonathan Weitzman, Woodmere, NY Yad B’Yad 2012 – Shaya Weinstein, Teaneck, NJ; Zack Pollack, Passaic, NJ; P’nina Wasserman, Brooklyn, NY; Aliza Fromowitz, Woodmere, NY YU Purim Carnival – Rafael Gordon, Far Rockaway, NY; Netanel Goldstein, Washington Heights, NY.

Executive Editor Director, Design & Branding, OU Assistant Editor Art Director Copy Editor Photo Contributor

How To Reach Us: Yachad/National Jewish Council for Disabilities 11 Broadway, 13th Floor, New York, NY 10004 212-613-8229 • Fax: 212-613-0796 • yachad@ou.org www.yachad.org • @YachadNJCD www.facebook.com/yachadnjcd www.youtube.com/njcdyachad The typeface and leading of Belong are designed for legibility and readability by all audiences.


THEY SAY

you can’t trust anyone over 30. Perhaps. But you can certainly trust an organization that is celebrating its 30th anniversary of service to the greater Jewish community, and specifically, to those in the community with disabilities and their families. I am referring to Yachad, the National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD). This upcoming 30th anniversary milestone is a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the growth of Yachad and the positive changes that have occurred in the greater Jewish community, in many cases with Yachad/ NJCD leading the way. This rapid growth is almost unparalleled in terms of social change in our society. When we think of Yachad, we think of its keyword — Inclusion. With all of the gains that have been made — and whenever you see a ramp leading up to the bimah in a synagogue or one of our members spending Shabbat at the home of a typically developing friend, you are witnessing inclusion in its truest and best forms. There is still so much more we need to do to change the attitude of the community. Every February we run a program called NAIM – North American Inclusion Month; in effect, we want the Jewish community to observe North American Inclusion Year -- every year. Our communities, individually and as a whole, need to become more inclusive. Yachad is doing that by continuing to grow our national and international chapters and expanding into cities where we previously have not had a presence. This summer, Yachad will be the largest provider of inclusive summer programs, organized around camping. These programs are directed toward children who will be campers, and to young adults who will work at the camp. Nevertheless, at a conservative estimate, there are still 7,000 additional Jewish children who want an inclusive summer camp experience but are not yet in such programs. Our gains could not be accomplished without our amazing staff. These highly educated professionals are immensely dedicated to their responsibilities and have a great love for their work. This year, Yachad began a series of in-service seminars for both our own staff, and social work and graduate school interns as well as outside participants. This program has become known as the “Yachad University.” Through our very “able” Yachad members, children and adults alike, our staff and lay leaders, we have been able to accomplish so much over the past 30 years. We are now looking to future achievements in changing attitudes in support of Inclusion and hope to celebrate this change, and along with it, the continued success of Yachad, those we serve and the entire Jewish community.

Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, National Director

YACHAD CELEBRATES 30 YEARS This year Yachad is celebrating its 30th birthday. That’s 30 years of promoting inclusion for Jewish children and adults with disabilities within the broader Jewish community. That’s 30 years of Shabbatons, social/recreational programming, trips, summer programs, work possibilities and vocational training for our members. That is 30 years of changing lives. BELONG is a showcase of Yachad’s activities across the globe and a rallying cry for those who believe that Jewish individuals with disabilities belong and deserve to be active participants in our communities. Yachad operates hundreds of programs across the U.S. and Israel and the launch of three new chapters in Denver, Detroit, and Israel has expanded our reach even further. “Yachad Shabbatons” have become a common term in elementary schools, high schools and college campuses -- together with the greater Jewish community we have celebrated more than 5,000 in our 30 years. More than 750 runners proudly displayed “Team Yachad” across their chest as they ran to raise funds for Yachad. Through our Yad B’Yad summer program, 500+ teens with disabilities and their typically developing peers have journeyed throughout North America and Israel, learning with and from each other. Our summer programs in 10 mainstream summer camps have taught children and teenagers that while someone may seem or appear different from themselves, we share an even stronger connection. In our quest to reach as many potential members, peers and advisors as possible we will be launching a new fully-interactive website. Think of the website as a portal to understanding what Yachad does. Professionally-made videos posted on YouTube will showcase our activities and the website will be the catalyst for an extensive Facebook and Twitter social media campaign to reach an even great audience. We encourage you to follow us on Facebook at YachadNJCD and on twitter at @YachadNJCD. With 30 years of experience under our belt, we are proud of our past successes; however, there is still far more for us to do and there are many more places for us to go. With your help we hope to take those steps. Now, buckle up and enjoy this issue of Belong!

Eli Hagler, Assistant Director

page 1


A MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN By Aaron Kinderlehrer

Looking back over 30 years since the Orthodox Union created Yachad/the National Jewish Council for Disabilities, it is really hard to fully comprehend the great strides that have been taken on behalf of those in the Jewish community with special needs. Back then individuals with special needs were almost never brought to the synagogue; they were largely hidden away. Today, we push the message of inclusion out into all aspects of the Jewish world and the broader society. This change is testament to immense effort of our Yachad team and so many others across the OU. Our professional Yachad staff is amazing. It includes some of the most dedicated and talented people in the Jewish community, and we can’t really say enough about them or even appropriately thank them. But Yachad also has a secret weapon that is rarely recognized or discussed. It is a group of people who really make things happen at Yachad and do so seeking no honor or recognition. As the proud parent of a Yachad member, my dear son Baruch, for over 20 years, as a member of the board of directors of Yachad for 10 years and now entering my fourth year as chairman, I have been fortunate to observe our programs and people from many perspectives. It is my belief that the key to Yachad’s success, and the key to the dreams that Chana Zweiter, Rabbi Julius Berman and Rabbi Rafi Butler had for Yachad three decades ago, are our volunteers — our unpaid advisors and our high school and college assistants on shabbatons, trips and programs. To watch the interaction between these wondrous human beings and our Yachad members is to watch the epitome of chesed (good deeds). Observing the joy on the faces of both our Yachad members and their advisors as they share their time together can make one tear up. To see a high-school advisor with a Yachad member on a Yad b’Yad trip to Israel is to see the true joy of life. To watch our counselors at work in our summer camp programs is to see and feel true friendship and true accomplishment. Oftentimes these interactions are just the beginnings of a long-term relationship with Yachad and of a life dedicated to chesed and helping the Jewish community. Yachad’s volunteers are its secret, its crown jewels. I have described them in conversation as being the true angels of our time. From Yachad parents and siblings, and the boards and lay leaders of Yachad and the Orthodox Union, thank you to all of you, from the bottom of our hearts.

page 2


What’s Inside

Table of Contents 1 2 4 6 8 9 10 16 18

Director’s Message Yachad celebrates 30 years ensuring that everyone Belongs

20

How One Yachad Shabbaton Led to a Family Affair Yosef Rappaport and Rayla Guber met at a Yachad Shabbaton. The rest is history.

Chairman’s Message Discover the secret to Yachad’s success.

22

Team Yachad More than 180 runners from around the world ran as part of Team Yachad this year.

A Yachad Birthright Like No Other

25

Marathon Miracles At 74, Yehuda Berren is more than young at heart. He’s running marathons as a member of Team Yachad.

Interview with Yachad Youth Leadership Council President Racheli Weil

Five Yachad participants celebrated their bar and bat mitzvot in Israel as part of Taglit-Birthright Israel.

Learn what amazing things teen leaders in Yachad are up to.

Learning to Work

Helping the Jewish Deaf Community Make its Own Way

A Yachad member talks about his experience in Yachad’s new vocational program.

26

From the Heart How Yachad Boston changed the life of Jonathan Spiller.

Chapter Highlights

29

A siyum in Cleveland and a dance show in Omaha. Find out what Yachad’s nationwide chapters have been up to this year.

I’m a Yachad Partner for Life After one Shabbaton, Rachel Schwartzbard realized that Yachad was going to be an important part of her life.

Yachad Summer Programs With five new camps and scholarships, Yachad’s Summer Program is better than ever.

30 32

Our Way, part of Yachad/NJCD, makes sure that the Jewish deaf are a part of the Jewish community. Meet one of their incredibly successful participants.

Ask Rabbi Weinreb While spending Shabbat at a Yachad Shabbaton, advisors face many halachic challenges. Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, posek for Yachad, answers their questions.

Bringing Life to the Classroom Yachad’s IVDU School gives students a practical taste of the real world.

What Inclusion Means to Me For some people, inclusions means the ability to work in a store, for others it means that everyone has a chance to be a part of the conversation.

page 3


Continues to Amaze! Each year, our group of dedicated runners raises much-needed funds for Yachad through Team Yachad’s participation in the ING Miami Marathon and Half-Marathon. For the fourth consecutive year, Team Yachad has grown in size and stature, from 29 runners in 2010 to 185 this year, including a 14-year-old and four 61-year-olds.

J o i n u s i n 2 01 4 what the

page 4


a nd fi n d o u t e xcit e m e n t i s a l l a b o u t !

page 5


A Yachad Birthright Like No by Bayla Sheva Brenner

Rabbi Menachem Persoff at the Bar/Bat Mitzvot atop Mount Masada

Asaf Salomon, educator, and Grady Hughes display Grady’s Bar Mitzvah certificate

THE PARTICIPANTS

anxiously peered

out of their wheelchair-accessible cable cars as they neared

whether to live as Jews or die as Jews. Thank God, today we can choose to live as Jews.”

the top of Masada. As soon as they landed, and despite the

For the ceremony, sheets were held around Persoff so that

relentless January group eagerly gathered around the canopy

sand wouldn’t blow into his eyes as he read from the Torah

and makeshift bimah that looked out over the vast Judean

on a weekday. The Yachad participants listened attentively as

desert. They were about to celebrate two major milestones:

the bar mitzvah boys recited the blessings and then, keeping

traveling to their Jewish homeland for the first time and

with custom, enthusiastically pelted them with candy.

helping five of their newfound friends mark their bar and bat mitzvahs.

“I’m so happy that I got bat mitzvahed in Israel,” said

Since 2003, Yachad has offered young-adult Jews with disabilities

Israel for Cook, a vivacious 25-year-old with developmen-

the popular all-expense-paid 10-day Taglit-Birthright Israel trip.

tal disabilities who works at a local Publix supermarket.

Now, every summer and winter, a group of 24 enthusiastic

However, her bat mitzvah experience came with a close call.

participants, eight counselors, a medic and several IDF soldiers have made this trip of a lifetime together. Even by those standards, last year’s trip proved more significant than usual. After discovering that some of the participants had never had a bar or bat mitzvah, Yachad staff members decided to organize a ceremony at Masada.

Jennifer Cook of Pembroke Pines, FL. This was the first visit to

Just hours before the anticipated event, Nicole Bodner, director of New York Yachad, realized they didn’t have Jennifer’s Hebrew name on record, an important component to the ceremony. She quickly emailed Jennifer’s mother, Bonnie, who “ripped apart the house” looking for her birth-naming certificate. She not only found it in time for the big event,

“It was a most fitting place for the event,” explained

but she also came across a letter Jennifer’s grandfather had

Menachem Persoff, Israel director of the OU Israel Free

written during a long-ago trip to Israel, in which he wrote, “I

Spirit program. “Masada is where the Jewish rebels took

hope my children and grandchildren will come here some-

their last stand against the Romans. They had to decide

day.” That day had arrived for his granddaughter, Yaffa Chana.

page 6


Other

Jonathan Wertheim, 25, never had a bar mitzvah and always

legally blind, deaf in his left ear and partially paralyzed. His

felt different because of it. Despite his developmental

passionate spirit remained intact.

delays, Jonathan lives on his own in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and works at Aventura Hospital. However, according to his mother, Susan, with all of his successes, he’s always felt painfully isolated

“I now have a home in Israel because of Yachad,” said Grady. “I can’t wait to go back.”

and alone. “He’s a different person because of this trip,” she said.

Yachad members weren’t the only ones partaking in the bar and

“He’s now part of what every other Jewish child experiences, no

bat mitzvah opportunity. Jamie Hasson, 19, a Yachad Shabbaton

longer on the outside looking in. He finally feels he belongs.”

advisor attending as a participant, grew up without having a bat

The Yachad Taglit-Birthright Israel trip also served to ensure that

mitzvah. She had also never been to Israel.

participants understand that they are an integral part of the Jewish

“I thought what could be better than Yachad and Israel together!”

community. As Suzanne Kerner, of Plainview, NY, explained about

said Jamie. “Yachad members always make me appreciate life so

her son Lane who also celebrated his bar mitzvah on the trip, “The

much more; everything puts a smile on their faces.”

trip connected him to his Judaism in such a profound way,” she said. “When he returned, he told us he wants go to shul with his father on Friday night and go to as many Yachad events as possible. It’s one of the most pivotal experiences he has had in his 25 years.” Caught up in all the bar and bat mitzvah excitement, Grady Hughes, 19, of Minnesota, decided that although he already had his bar mitzvah at 13, he wanted to have his bar mitzvah all

Although admittedly nervous about the prospect of speaking before the group, she wanted to present a meaningful bat mitzvah address for the ceremony. “Everyone kept cheering me on,” she said. “I saw their faces and the words just poured out of me… I would like to handle life the way they do — to know that everything is from Hashem and be able to accept it happily.”

over again in Israel. A charismatic presence in the group, Grady

Before making their descent from Masada, everyone broke into

suffered a traumatic brain injury at age eight, which left him

joyous dancing and sang out Am Yisrael Chai.

Background: Masada Mosaic

page 7


Learning to Work IN OCTOBER, I and three other participants became the first members of the new Yachad vocational program in New Jersey. I am glad to be a part of the Yachad vocational program. It allows me to do daily work in different places with other people while building important skills.  I graduated from Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston, NJ, in 2010. For the past three years I have been doing volunteer work in Fair Lawn and other places in

by Michael Silverman Yachad Member, NJ Yachad

On Wednesdays, all four of us help out at the National Yachad Office by filling folders with papers for events, doing mailing and working on different office skills such as researching topics on the computer. I help out at the Teaneck General Store by doing organizational work in the storage area. I write and type up game instructions and advertisements, and help out my supervisor with other errands inside and outside the store.

New Jersey. The jobs I have volunteered for have been packing

Another project we do is assembling gift baskets in the

food at the Fair Lawn

Teaneck Yachad office for the families hosting Yachad and

Tomchei Shabbos, an

NCSY participants for Shabbatons. We also organized food

organization that gives

and household items in the pantry at the Teaneck Jewish

food to the needy, and

Center for victims of Superstorm Sandy.

It allows me to do daily work ... while building important skills

helping out at the King James Nursing Home

As for my future career expectations, I plan to become a

and

Family

graphic artist and home and office organizer. I am also

Services in Teaneck. I also worked as a personal assistant in

interested in business advertisement and a job in the creative

an office for an insurance agent in Fair Lawn.

writing field. I find the vocational program to be a great

Jewish

experience; we build upon our work skills and learn many When we first started at the Yachad vocational program,

social skills to help us

Chani Herrmann, the director of New Jersey Yachad,

interact with our employers

had us meet with job coaches and spend orientation

and coworkers.

days with our employers at our new workplaces. We work at Five Star Catering on Mondays; Kushner Hebrew Academy on Tuesdays; the New York Yachad office on Wednesdays, and another participant and I work at the Teaneck General Store on Thursdays. At Five Star Catering we help the staff by wrapping silverware in plastic wrap, counting different silverware, assembling sugar and tea packets into small

Michael doing data entry at Marketing Dynamics in Hackensack, NJ

cartons, and cleaning and shining serving pieces. I do office work at Kushner with another participant. So far the tasks were alphabetizing new student information, filing student school trip forms in folders, stuffing envelopes with concert cards and assisting with serving lunch. The two other volunteers have jobs in the pre-k and in the science lab. Michael filing at Teaneck General Store page 8


From the heart by Jonathan Spiller,

Yachad Member, Boston Yachad

YACHAD BOSTON has changed my life in so many ways. It has given me a place to belong. I have always dreamed of joining a Jewish organization where I can meet new people and make new friends, and where no one cares how old I am. I have had fun at the events so far.

By the end of bowling I knew I made lots of new friends and they were true friends who wanted to talk to me. I didn’t want the bowling event to end, but I knew that Yachad Boston would have more events that I could go to. I even had two new Facebook friends after

the

event. The first Yachad event I went to was bowling at

I was really excited to make new friends

King’s Bowling in November. When I arrived with

Ev e r y o n e

my parents and sister I didn’t know what to expect.

convinced

I was really excited to make new friends and talk

me to go

to lots of people. I started speaking to people right

to the Yachad Chanukah party at the Young Israel

away — we talked about

of Brookline in Massachusetts. I went and had so

bowling and my love of

much fun. A good friend of mine even asked me

skee ball and ice cream.

to read a Dvar Torah in front of everyone. At first I

I had never used big bowling balls before, but I love trying new things and I learned very quickly how to bowl. Everyone gave me high fives. I really appreciated that and I appreciated how

was nervous, but it was really an honor for me that a friend asked me to read his speech. I thought to myself: when a friend asks you to read a speech you do it because it is a good thing to do. I practiced a lot and someone held the microphone for me. I didn’t look at any of the people; I just stared at the paper. I hesitated, but then kept reading until I got to the

everyone was very nice

end. I had fun doing arts and crafts at the Chanukah

and welcoming. I did

party and playing dreidel and hacky sack in the

skee ball a few times too

hallways of the Young Israel. I look forward to going

and loved it a lot. There

on more Yachad Boston events. All the new friends

was also ice cream cake.

I met will always be a part of my life.

page 9


NATIONAL CHAPTER

Highlights

d My Yachea r

 

Omaha

b y S h a ri B in d

On March 3, Yachad members participated in the first annual dance concert of the Jewish Community Center in Omaha, NE. After many practice sessions, the show went off without a hitch. I sat in the audience to view the production and I was truly impressed by all the performers. One of the Yachad members, K.C. Ruback, declared how excited he was to have a shot in the spotlight at this stage performance. Grace Isler, another Yachad member, was very pleased with herself for having remembered all the dance moves.  The entire group must be commended for dancing so well and enjoying themselves. Yet another performer, Tyrie Cook, who assisted several Yachad participant, took part in the show. Tyrie stated she had to overcome stage fright for this performance, but she managed to do a wonderful job. I am very proud of my newfound friends. I have only been in Omaha for a few months, but I am happy to say how easy my transition was because of all the new friends I have in the Yachad group. They are an amazing bunch of people.

Play participan

ts rehearse be

page 10

fore the big ni

ght!


2 1 0 2 e v a l c n o C te in b y A v i E is e n s

Chicago

The more than 200 high school students who gathered for MidWest NCSY’s Winter Conclave in December had a very special guest for the weekend: Yachad. Yachad members and advisors made sure that their presence was felt. From always being in the middle of the circle during dancing, to consistently being the loudest during zemirot, Yachad members enjoyed giving from the never-ending reserve of ruach that is Yachad.

This ruach culminated at Yachad walk-in. Led by Michel Lis as Simba, Yachad members donned lion masks and marched into the hall with “The Lion King” anthem blasting, which then lead into Hinei Mah Tov. The crowd went wild as Yachad succeeded in blowing the roof off of the Yachad/NCSY banquet. The entire NCSY crowd joined in on the singing and cheering. Yachad members also enjoyed roller skating, snow tubing, bowling and shopping during the Shabbaton weekend. They also took part in the Q, the Saturday night game show activity. Yachad members embodied the happiness theme of the Shabbaton and spread it to all those with whom they interacted. New friendships and bonds were made with NCSYers. Winter conclave was a weekend to remember for both NCSYers and Yachad members. Both Yachad and NCSY are agencies of the OU.

New Board Members

It’s always exciting to welcome new faces to our Yachad family. The smiles, energy and spirit they bring contribute greatly to our Yachad family. This year, we had the amazing opportunity of welcoming a few new members to our charismatic and accomplished board of high school students. The board was launched a few years ago because of the increasing interest in the Chicago Yachad chapter. The board’s job is to help make Yachad in Chicago as fun, interesting and captivating as possible while also helping increase inclusive opportunities in our community. It is so inspiring to see the time given by these teenagers to help others. Each new member selected has the characteristics to help sharpen our own ideas and to improve the board as a whole. Their ideas, creativity and resourcefulness will all add up to fortify our already determined board. Every year the new board builds on last year’s successes. The new and enthusiastic members have broadened our ideas to further help Yachad and its participants.

page 11


Los Angeles Yachad L.A. Takes a Trip Around the World Each month, Yachad LA chose a different country and dedicated one event during the month to learning about and celebrating the culture of that place. Our kickoff event was a Mexican fiesta, and during “American November” we had a delicious Thanksgiving feast. In honor of Chanukah, we enjoyed a “Greek December,” where more than 50 participants joined Yachad L.A. for our Winter Olympics and Toga Party. We played games, enjoyed Greek foods and dressed up in fun and creative Greek garb.  Another country was selected for every month.

page 12

We began the day with a competitive race and then played egg-toss.The winning team managed to throw the egg over 40 feet! After that incredible game, we had a jump-rope competition where some very hidden talents were revealed. Last, but certainly not least, we finished the day with a watermelon eating contest and our contestants gobbled up the watermelon at record speed! January was “North Pole January” with a winter wonderland, and for Pesach, of course, we had an “Egyptian March.”


Iron Chef In honor of Tu B’Shvat, St. Louis Yachad members went bowling and enjoyed an “Iron Chef” competition. Two teams were provided with different fruits and fun foods such as Jelly Belly Flops, banana chips, oranges, apples, blueberries, dried cranberries and bananas. They were asked to come up with a creative type of fruit salad using the foods.

St. Louis

One team created a funny face while the other team went with a more traditional presentation — both presentations won raves from participants and advisors alike.

Baltimore page 13 Baltimore Ya ch ad celebrate the Ravens’ Su perbowl victor y


Cleveland My Siyum Ya c h a d b y C le v e la n d p a rt ic ip a n t s te in Jonah Ruben

When I am with NCSY, Yachad, or in shul, I am always amazed about how much there is to learn about Judaism. When I came back from Israel I was inspired to learn more. I wanted to apply what I learned for myself as well as help and inspire others. When I told the people at Yachad about how I wanted to learn, they began thinking of a chavrusah for me. Cleveland Yachad coordinator Sarah Cooperman found me a chavrusah and made my dream of learning become a reality. I now learn every Monday night. The first time I met my chavrusah I was nervous about what he would think of me, and how strict he might be when it comes to learning Torah. I was afraid about how little I know and that my chavrusah would think that it was a waste of time to learn with me. Yet when I first met Shaya Shtern, he welcomed me into the kollel where he learns. I saw all the men talking and learning. I could feel the energy in the room! Every time I go to the kollel, I feel relaxed and calm because hearing people learn Torah and being able to learn helps me feel less overwhelmed with school and makes me feel closer to Hashem. I thought we were going to be learning parsha, but when Shaya introduced me to Mishna I became really interested in it.

sah, his chavru stein with en b . u a R k u h n a Jon m on Cha rticipant unity siyu m Yachad pa m co r ei tern, at th Shaya Sh

This article is written in the memory of Jonah’s grandmother, Carol Brown, OBM, who always instilled in her family a love for Judaism. Jonah’s siyum was one of the last events she attended before her passing in January of this year and she expressed such pride and pleasure at being able to attend and see her grandson so involved in Torah pursuits.

page 14

The first chapter we learned talked about the rules and meanings of certain blessings. There were some things that I already knew, however, later on, I realized there were some blessings that I never heard of before! And I even learned new things about the blessings that I aready say like the morning blessings, blessings over food, Shema and blessings in the prayer services. Every Monday I go to the kollel to learn with Shaya. I never miss a session, no matter what else I have to do — even if I’m exhausted from a long day. I always manage to get there to learn Mishna, one chapter at a time. Eventually, my time with Shaya was rewarded with the completion of Mishna Brachot. I was so proud of myself and everyone at the kollel, even the head rabbi, was proud of me as well. Afterwards, I was given a siyum at the kollel, but Shaya and his wife Dassi wanted to celebrate my achievement with a community siyum at their house. Every new piece of knowledge that I acquire makes me want to learn and grow even more! I am so thankful for the opportunities that I have been given.


Boston

Greater Boston Yachad held an all-ages family-oriented Tu B’shvat seder at Congregation Shaarei Tefillah in Newton, MA.  More than 120 people attended the event which was co-sponsored by K’Sharim — a special needs group at Jewish Family & Children’s Services and Shaarei Tefillah. The seder was co-led by Rabbi Benjamin Samuels, rabbi of Shaarei Tefillah, and Yachad Coordinator Liz Offen.  Everyone was treated to a magic show by Yachad member Noah Bittner, a spring planting activity and a lovely dinner. Using a haggadah created specially for this event, participants sampled many types of fruits, nuts and even some less common foods like carob and papaya. Everyone sang along with Yachad teen peers, David Krane and Ben Simon, and had fun pretending to be trees sprouting in the sun. The Tu B’shvat seder provided opportunities for individuals with disabilities, their family and friends to celebrate a fun holiday together. This was especially meaningful as Shaarei Tefillah was recently recognized as an “Inclusive Synagogue” during North American Inclusion Month (NAIM) — one of only 30 synagogues across North America to be certified by Yachad as an inclusive synagogue.

der

e Tu B’shvat S

page 15


I’m a Yachad Partner for Life by Rachel Schwartzbard

ON DECEMBER 1, 2006, my life changed. That was when I discovered Yachad. The yearly eighth grade Yachad Shabbaton was an event that everyone looked forward to in my elementary school, Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva, in Edison, New Jersey. I was on the planning committee and we decorated the gym and welcomed the Yachad members. While most of my friends were nervous, I was excited. From the start, I knew it was going to be an incredibly special Shabbat. We sang, we danced and we laughed, but, most importantly, we learned from each other. I took my newly discovered passion for this organization to the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston, NJ. Kushner had an annual Yachad Shabbaton and I knew what to expect. I had a countdown until that Shabbaton came, and, like the first, it passed too quickly. I realized that one Shabbaton a year wasn’t enough; there had to be more ways for me to get involved. I learned about the Yad B’Yad summer program — where Yachad takes high school students and Yachad members across America (and now Israel) — and I knew there was nothing I wanted to do more. Yad B’Yad was the best experience of my life. From touring and learning to dancing and laughing, I grew more as a person in those five weeks than I could have imagined. I met page 16

the most amazing people: staff, high school students and Yachad members. There was one Yachad member in particular with whom I built an everlasting friendship. We sat on the bus, hiked and ate meals together. He taught me what it meant to be happy. To this day, I speak weekly to friends that I made on that trip. It was because of Yad B’Yad that Yachad became my family, and every summer since 2009 I’ve been fortunate enough to spend time with that very special family. After 11th grade, I worked at Yachad’s inclusive program at Camp Moshava in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, where each counselor is paired up with a Yachad member in a shadow program. After 12th grade, I worked on Yachad Getaway and Nesher’s Yachad program. Getaway is a truly unique program where older Yachad members together with recent high school graduates “get away” to a retreat home and live together as one big happy family for two weeks. Both were special in their own way and saying goodbye to all the new friends I made at the end of the summer was one of the hardest things I had to do. The

end

of

the

summer after 12th

I knew there was nothing I wanted to do more


grade was also difficult since I was going to Israel for seminary, which meant no Yachad for the entire year. That would have been the first time in five years that I wasn’t on at least a few Yachad Shabbatons. However, when I found out that I could run the Jerusalem marathon as part of Team Yachad, I signed up without hesitation. Through the training sessions and the post-race BBQ with the Yachad members and runners, I developed relationships with people who shared my passion. A few weeks after the marathon, Yachad Birthright came to Israel and we had a joint BBQ party in Gan Sacher, Rachel ran as a member of Team Yachad in the Jerusalem Marathon .

a park close to the race’s finish line. It was incredible to see so many of my friends from different experiences and programs coming together. Since then, Yachad has started a new

just being someone for the families to talk to, I am thankful for

chapter in Israel. The summer after Israel, I attended Yachad’s program at

the opportunity.

Camp Morasha, in Lakewood, PA. I shadowed a very special

Coordinating a Shabbaton requires me to be very detail

girl in the Yachad bunk. We are around the same age, but

oriented.

she was just so much wiser than I was. She had a sense of

smoothly, be it helping out advisors to adding that extra bit of

determination to do what she felt was right, no matter what

ruach (excitement) to the circle. Being a Junior Yachad coordi-

anyone else said. She taught me the meaning of never back-

nator is incredibly meaningful to me. My first Shabbaton was

ing down or giving in, regardless of what or who stands in

when I was in eighth grade, and, now, my fellow coordinators

your way.

and I are running the Shabbatons for today’s eighth graders.

When I returned from Israel, I became a coordinator for New York Yachad’s Junior division, which provides programming for Yachad members between the ages of 8 and 15. Being a coordinator allows me to develop relationships with Yachad members and their families. Shabbatons provide a respite for many Yachad parents, but my relationship with these incredible families doesn’t start and end with Shabbatons. I’ve been given the opportunity to really get to know parents and siblings of different members in my region. I know about family vacations and the

Whenever I see an eighth grader interacting with a Yachad member, I think to myself: “That was me, six years ago!” Every one of them on the Shabbaton has the potential to spend the next six years of their life involved with Yachad, the same way I have. Through each and every one of my experiences, I’ve learned more about who I am as a person, and just so much about life in general. Each person I’ve met taught me something different and I am forever grateful to each of them.

de-

Recently, when looking through some old pictures from my

their

eighth grade Shabbaton, I found one of a Yachad member

lives. In some

who was in my bunk this past summer at Camp Morasha.

ways, I feel like

We’ve changed in so many ways. I no longer wear my hair

a part of their

that way, and she grew out her bangs. Now I am in college,

family. Wheth-

and she is finishing high school. I listen to different music,

er that means

and I’m sure she watches different television shows. In short,

helping out on

we grew up. But the one thing that hasn’t changed for either

a Sunday, pick-

of us is our connection to Yachad. Yachad has provided me,

ing up a child

like it has for so many others, a sense of family. Yachad has

from school, or

given me a place where I belong.

day-to-day tails

Rachel with Yachad member Gila Mazel at Camp Morasha

It means ensuring that everything is running

of

page 17


YACHAD’S SUMMER DEPARTMENT is on a roll! With more

than 17 unique programs providing inclusive summer recreational experiences, Yachad is gearing up for the largest and greatest summer to date. This summer, we are proud to welcome five new camps into our partnership programs. Camp Shoshanim (Lake Como, PA), will have a Yachad bunk for girls between the ages of 9 and 15. The bunk will join mainstream campers for activities during the day. We are also working with Camp Mogen Avraham (Swan Lake, NY) and Camp Sternberg (Narrowsburg, NY) of the SHMA Family of Camps to offer the Chaverim and Kesher programs respectively. In addition, we are pleased to introduce two new programs in Canada. With the encouragement of our successful local Toronto chapter, and the strong interest from camp directors, we are partnering with Moshava Ba’ir, a day camp in Toronto, for a vocational program, and with Camp Moshava Ennismore for a two-week pilot camper program. Additionally, our campers are now eligible for the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s One Happy Camper scholarship. This scholarship enables first-time campers who attend public school during the year to receive a reduction in their camp tuition. We hope this will allow even more individuals with special needs to attend camp. With many experienced program directors and staff returning again, we are very excited to begin the 2013 summer season. Let the countdown to summer begin!

Dr. Joe Goldfarb Assistant Director, Director, Summer Programs

For more information contact: yachadsummer@ou.org 212.613.8369

a h c a YInclusive Summe

s m a r g o r P Camp CAMPER PROGRAMs

Children and young adults ages 8-21 Camp Activities with typically developing campers Morasha (ages 13-21) Moshava EnnisMorE (ages 9-16) nEshEr (ages 8-14) shoshaniM (ages 9-16) ChavEriM (males 8-30) KEshEr (girls 8-25)

TRAVEL PROGRAMs

Young adults ages 18-45 Participants vacation and tour the US and Israel

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aedr

ialization, c o S g n ri te s Fo e and Fun Independenc

SHADOW PROGRAMs Children ages 9-15 Campers are placed within a typical bunk Moshava MEsorah

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Young adults ages 18-35 Participants enjoy job satisfaction and develop social and work skills with job coaches lavi MEsorah Morasha Moshava Moshava Ba'ir nJ Moshava Ba'ir ToronTo

page 19


How One Yachad Shabbaton Led to a Family Affair by Simi Lichtman

cuy

kzn

Yosef and Rayla at their wedding. Their shirts read “I met my bashert at a Yachad shabbaton, IY”H by you.”

EVERY HAPPY COUPLE has a story. And for some couples, Yachad is a part of the story. When they first met, Yosef Rappaport and Rayla Guber were both students at Yeshiva University. Despite having mutual friends, the two never spoke with one another until Rayla’s first Junior Yachad Shabbaton in Jamaica Estates, NY, in 2003. Yosef was a coordinator at the Shabbaton and they began talking on Shabbat afternoon. Yosef immediately felt the chemistry. “I’m 95 percent sure I saw a sparkle in Yosef ’s eye when he saw Rayla,” recalled Hal Levy, a friend who was on the Shabbaton. Yosef asked a friend to set them up, but at first Rayla wasn’t interested. page 20

Rayla and Yosef with their two children, Dalya and Avigail.


Rayla and some Yachad participants

“From developing an appreciation for the benefits of diversity within the community, to inspiration when seeing

“I was very young,” Rayla explained. “But then I said, ‘Okay let’s try it.’” After three dates, though, they called it off. “I was a terrible dater,” said Rayla. “I was very shy and quiet.” Rayla said that when she was on Yachad Shabbatons she was able to relax and truly be herself, but on dates she felt too pressured. The two kept in touch and continued to see each other on Shabbatons. Rayla’s more confident side came out on those weekends, and Yosef mustered up the courage to ask her out again. They began dating a week before they both left to work on Yachad’s Birthright trip.

couple admitted. However, since they were both going to be on the same intensive program in Israel together, they decided to continue dating. During the next 10 days the tenor of their relationship changed dramatically.

“There was no option of not being myself. We saw each other at our best and at our worst. We really got to know each other. Without Yachad we

probably

would have just broken up again, but instead we got very comfortable with each other.”

atmosphere for people with disabilities, Yachad also has a profound effect on the lives of its staff members. unique

focus

on

inclusion

monumental

challenges, inclusion offers us all so much,” Dr. Lichtman continued. “Another very concrete benefit is the opportunity for young people

to

meet.

Young

adults who serve as advisors

for

Yachad

are among the very best of our youth. This opportunity

to

while

working

Yachad

has

meet for

spawned

Rayla, with Yachad member Dina Finegold at sheva brachot hosted by Junior Yachad

the past three decades.” Yosef also attributed the success of their relationship to his own personal journey becoming a Yachad coordinator.

to be the type of person who could get into the middle of a circle and just start shouting and leading the group. I didn’t think I was that type of person. But you just become that type of person; you put all your hesitations aside because everyone needs you.” Levy adds that Yosef was legendary in Yachad for being the type of person who gave everything he had to a Yachad member if they needed it.

is

he said. The couple got engaged six months after the Birthright trip, and were married five months after that. The couple’s relationship with Yachad didn’t end at the chuppah; the two still attend Shabbatons together.

obviously

beneficial to individuals who have disabilities,” said Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, National Director of Yachad. “What is less obvious is the impact this inclusion has on individuals without disabilities.”

seemingly

“It’s probably the reason Rayla fell in love with him,”

While Yachad is known for its work creating an inclusive

“Yachad’s

overcome

“I was nervous about being a coordinator,” he admitted. “I had

“Yachad Birthright is extremely intense,” explained Rayla.

Birthright

others

many marriages over

“It was very awkward and we weren’t clicking at all,” the

Yachad also has a profound effect on the life of its staff members

how

“All the Yachad coordinators danced at our wedding in their Yachad t-shirts,” Rayla added. “We are grateful for what Yachad does for the Jewish community, but Yosef and I were lucky enough to take it one step further… We found each other.”

page 21


RUNNING IN THE RAIN

It’s raining in Jerusalem. Thousands

was so happy for him. I really felt that he was where he

of people are running up hills and

should have always been.”

through the winding streets, determined to finish the race in spite of

the weather. They are cold. They are tired. Yet one of them is singing.

The first few months after Berren’s move to Israel were busy: he studied Hebrew in an Ulpan and began learning Gemarah. Eventually, he became so fluent that he was even able to attend classes in Hebrew. Then Berren decided he

“Am Yisrael Chai!” chants Yehuda Berren.

wanted a new challenge: running.

Over the course of the 10-kilometer race, other participants

You have to give back

jog over to sing with him and cheer him on. Despite the weather, Berren is all positivity and drive. He is also 74 years old. “When I came to the race they just stared at me,” explained Berren, the oldest member of Team Yachad. “They asked me

With a grandson who has autism, Berren has long been familiar with Yachad’s work. “I wanted to help Yachad because they help everyone,” he said.

if I was participating. I said: ‘I raised the money, why

Looking for a way to raise money for

shouldn’t I?’”

Yachad, Berren discovered Team Yachad. Launched

A new life

in

2009,

Yachad’s

most

When Berren’s wife Carol died, he began attending

successful

fund-

Congregation Beth Israel in Malden, MA, to say kaddish in

raiser. Participants

her memory. It was a difficult time for Berren, as his close

run in races rep-

friend, Daniel Bitran, attested.

resenting

“It was horrible for him,” Bitran recalled. “They had a very close relationship and they did everything together.”

Team

Yachad

is

Team

Yachad. Each runner is responsible to fundraise for

In time, Berren became a valued member of the Orthodox

Yachad

community. He drove the 35-minute commute in the early

exchange, Yachad

hours of the morning to be on time for Shachrit. He began

takes care of all

learning the laws of Shabbat and eagerly sought out more

arrangements

topics to learn. One thing led to another and Berren realized

from airfare and hotel to race registration and giveaways.

that he wanted to make Aliyah. Members of his congregation

This year, close to 500 runners participated in marathons

worked with Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organization dedicated to

internationally as part of the team.

helping people move to Israel, to make the transition as easy as possible.

and

in Yehuda with his grandson - his inspiration to run with Team Yachad

“Running a marathon is on everyone’s bucket list,” explained Eli Hagler, assistant director of Yachad. “When

For Berren it was the right decision. He took to Israel

runners join with Team Yachad, they’re not only running for

like a native and

themselves, they’re running for a great cause. Running with

even

the words ‘Team Yachad’ written out across your chest gives the

his

health

improved. “When there his

accomplishment that much more meaning.”

he I

got

Money raised through sponsorships goes directly to Yachad

cried,”

programming, continuing Yachad’s work of enhancing life

Joni

opportunities for people with disabilities and promoting

cousin

Meyer

said.

“I

their inclusion within the Jewish community.

page 22 Yehuda and his wife Carol, a”h


ouda! G eh

Y

Marathon Miracles:

Profile of Yehuda Berren by Alisa Roberts As a former postman, Berren was used to walking, but he

another member of Team Yachad. “He has such an energy

never was into running. In fact, before the marathon he broke

about him… He got everyone cheering. He’s the most inspi-

his ankle, but after three months of using a walker and over-

rational person to run with.”

coming a limp, the spry 74-year-old was back on his feet. He started small — walking to the local market and back. Then a

Tal Friedman, his other running partner, added, “Berren kept

little farther. Soon he was walking to Har Hertzel — and back.

jogging the whole way even when I was so exhausted. And

He used his rehab as a way to train and get in shape for the

he wasn’t just jogging, he was singing while he was jogging.

Jerusalem race.

It was crazy.”

“I say midah keneged midah. Hashem cured me, so I have

Asked about the sing-

to help other people,” Berren said. “That’s the only thing

ing, Berren chuckled.

you can do — when someone does good to you, you have to

“I didn’t want anyone

give back.”

to get bored,” he said.

The race

“I really liked being

The day of the race wasn’t a pretty one. Not only was it

with the young peo-

raining, but chunks of hail fell from the sky.

ple,”

That didn’t stop Berren. “Everything about him was wow,” said Adina Lichtman,

he

I say midah keneged midah Hashem cured me, so I have to help other people

continued.

“I’d like to do another year. I feel like Hashem has performed so many miracles for me, so I try to help others. Everything is a miracle.” page 23


Proud to be an exclusive sponsor of

page 24


h t i w w e rvi e t n I n A

l i e W i l e h c a R

t

en d i s e r P YLC

Y

by Molly Brodsky

Q:  What is Yachad Youth Leadership Council (YYLC)? A: Yachad Youth Leadership Council is a committee of 21 high school student leaders from across the New York metropolitan area who meet every few weeks to promote inclusion and bring Yachad programming into

Racheli, left, with Molly at a Yachad shabbaton

our local communities. Together we plan events, spread awareness and promote inclusion among high schools and communities within the New York and New Jersey region.

Q: Why did you want to be president of YYLC? A:  Ever since I became involved with Yachad after attending Yad B’Yad in 2011, I knew it was something I felt passionate about and wanted to stay a part of. YYLC was the perfect opportunity to do that because it is very hands-on. I am able to make an impact on more than just my school and my community; what we do affects communities across the Tri-state area.

Q: What has been your favorite event? A: My favorite event was a pizza-making event. It was a

group of 30

people making pizza, hanging out and just having fun. It was not anything extravagant, but everyone who was there had a nice time socializing and really enjoyed themselves.

, Q:  What is one of YYLC s biggest accomplishments this year? A: One new thing we took on this year is “Spread the Word to End the Word,” a campaign to stop people from using the word “retarded.” We felt that this was an important issue because so many people say this word without even realizing its negative social impact. We made flyers to hang around schools, showed videos and made announcements. We also designed bracelets that said, “I pledge to end the word.” By wearing these bracelets it is a constant reminder to avoid using the “R” word. The campaign was so successful that it spread across the United States and Canada. We are very proud of the work we have done so far and hope to continue and eradicate the word from people’s daily vocabulary. YYLC is supervised by Rebecca Schrag, Program Director for NY Yachad’s Senior Division

page 25


Helping the Jewish Deaf Community Make its Own Way by Alisa Roberts

ONE AFTERNOON Shaya and Dvora Oratz

in the midst of a cold and wintry December, 12-year-old Shaya Oratz got lost in New York City. Shaya had been on a trip with the Borough Park Y to Madison Square Garden during his school’s Chanukah vacation when he seemingly disappeared. His mother, Rebbetzin Chani Oratz, received a frantic phone call from her husband who was with a New York City police captain: they wanted to know what Shaya was wearing the last time she had seen him. Not only did Shaya not know his way around New York City, but he was deaf and suffered some cognitive impairments.

page 26


However,

when

Chani

answered

the

phone,

she

was nonchalant.

include the signing for candle lighting, Friday night prayers and blessings, as well as books on Jewish law for the deaf and

“What are you talking about?’ She asked her husband, Rabbi Pesach Oratz, a rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University. As he became more insistent, she became more and more bewildered.

hard of hearing. But their participants seem to connect most to the Shabbatons as it gives them a chance to socialize and meet others with similar disabilities.

Exasperated, she finally answered: “I don’t know if they lost

“Typically, Our Way gathers local Jewish deaf at their

him, but he’s standing right here. Actually, he’s asking if you

synagogue,” explained Rabbi Lederfeind. “We bring in deaf

could please come home so that we can go out.”

Torah scholars — deaf people who are Orthodox and learned

With the situation happily resolved, Chani asked Shaya how he managed to get from Madison Square Garden to their

— who give sessions to weekend participants on a wide array of topics.”

house in Brooklyn. In answer to her question, Shaya began

For Shaya, such inclusion provided much-needed stimulation.

listing all the stops on the F train from one end in Queens to

To this day, he still remembers fondly the many programs he

the other end in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. He had jumped

participated in. He made lifelong friends through Our Way.

over a turn-style in midtown and figured his own way home. While his family had noticed that he loved to look at the

Since the time when Shaya was a member of Our Way,

subway map, they had never realized that he had memorized

the organization has expanded nationally, having run

the entire subway system.

programs in San Diego, Houston, Baltimore and Los Angeles to name a few.

That was the Oratz’s first inkling that their son, deaf from a rubella virus that his mother contracted when she was

“We

pregnant with him, was unique.

grams

organize for

proJewish

deaf all over,” Rabbi

Inclusion provided much needed stimulation

As he entered high school, Shaya’s parents began looking for

Lederfeind said. “We

a social atmosphere where Shaya could socialize with other

connect

Jews suffering from deafness and hearing loss. The couple

with their shuls, their

turned to Our Way. Founded in 1969, and now a department

communities and their peers.”

the

deaf

of Yachad/The National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD), Our Way is an organization that provides support

Rabbi Lederfeind also feels that the program serves an

and resources for the Jewish deaf and hard of hearing.

important role in making people more aware of their deaf peers.

“The problem, especially with the signing deaf community, is that they have no place to go,” explained Rabbi Eliezer

“Very often it’s the meeting of the deaf and the hearing,” he

Lederfeind, director and founder of Our Way. “They don’t

said. “The deaf learn about Judaism and the hearing learn

fit or associate with people with disabilities or typically

about deafness. And everyone is appreciative.”

developing people. Very often they are not included in all the different functions of the Jewish community. Unfortunately, they are often forgotten.”

As for Shaya, since his days navigating the subways of New York City, he now works in the office of the mayor of New York City. He and his wife Dvora were recently honored by

Our Way sponsors Shabbatons —

Beth Torah of the Deaf for their involvement in the Jewish

weekend retreats — and provides

deaf community. Shaya maintains a regular chavrusah and

support and resources to the

keeps in touch with the friends and the community he met in

Jewish deaf community. They also

Our Way. These days, he even boasts of an accomplishment

produce

that many non-deaf Jews haven’t reached; he participates in

educational

materials,

such as Shabbat packets that

the Daf Yomi cycle. page 27


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June 2011

June 2013 A Supplement of the

A SPECIAL NEEDS MAGAZINE

JUNE 2013 IN THIS ISSUE:

EARLY INTERVENTION Where it All Begins…

Page 40

A Life of Autism Page 46

Services in Israel

 Homeschooling  Neonatal Intervention  Is it Sensory  Nutritional Supplements Dentistry for Needs  Mainstreaming Issues  Plus Family Forum  Ask the Expert  ResourceSpecial Listings  Product Reviews and Much More Page 20

Page 58

December 2012

“I realized how bleak my future really was”

A Supplement of the

Page 28

December 2011

June 2012

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December 2012

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Ask Rabbi Weinreb…

Yachad Posek Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb Responds to Halachic Questions Submitted by Advisors The answers below were made with close consultation with several rabbinic authorities.

Can Yachad members be counted a minyan? Can Yachad members daven for the amud and get aliyot?

If you have a question for Rabbi Weinreb, please email Yachad@ou.org.

towards

Yachad member is as intelligent as even the

Some Yachad members use an electronic talking board to communicate; are advisors allowed to turn it on for them on Shabbat? Additionally, are advisors allowed to plug in the talking board to recharge it?

lowest end of the normal range of 13-year-olds

Yachad

in the general population, he can be counted

choleh she’ain bo sakanah, a moderately ill person who is not in

toward a minyan. Some specific criteria that are

immediate mortal danger. Because of that status, various leniencies

indicative of adequate intelligence are: the ability

apply with regard to Shabbat observance. In this specific instance,

to carry on reasonable conversation, reading

facilitating the Yachad member’s ability to communicate would be

comprehension and the ability to read Hebrew

a sufficient reason to allow turning on the machine by the member

at a third-grade level or basic arithmetical skills.

or by any other Jew. An advisor would also be allowed to charge

Whether or not a Yachad member can be counted in a minyan depends upon the severity of his intellectual limitations. In general, if the

Regarding aliyot and davening for the amud, the minimum qualification would be the same

members

have

the

halachic

status

of

a

chronic

the machine on Friday night. A more acceptable solution, when possible, would be to ask a non-Jew (even directly) to charge or turn

as for being part of a minyan, plus the Yachad

on the machine.

member should have some understanding that he If, for example, when asked what a bracha is, the Yachad member responds,

Can an advisor carry a cell phone on Shabbat in case of an emergency?

“It is a way of thanking Hashem,” that is sufficient. If, for example, he says

An advisor may carry a cell phone at

“The Torah was given to us by Hashem,” or “The Torah teaches us what

Yachad events. The advisor should

Hashem wants us to do,” that is sufficient.

do so unobtrusively, but should not

is praying to G-d and some notion of what the Torah is.

hesitate to call for emergency help if there is concern that the Yachad

Based on some dietary restrictions, some members are unable to wait between eating milk and meat. How should advisors proceed?

member may require such help.

Because of the halachic status of Yachad members, as defined above, and certainly if there are specific health reasons why waiting is in some way harmful, it is not necessary for them to wait between eating meat and milk. If possible, they should be encouraged to wait one hour, but if that is not possible, they need not wait at all.

Does shomer negiah apply when working with this population? Yachad staff of one gender may assist Yachad members of the opposite gender even if such assistance involves physical contact.

page 29


m o o r s s la C e h t o t e if L Bringing and the

e f i L o t m o Classro STUDENTS

at Yachad’s IVDU (Individualized

Vocational Development Unit) School enjoy a diverse education that includes a practical academic curriculum in addition to broad social programming and life skills opportunities. At IVDU we believe that the world is our classroom and that every step is an opportunity to learn something new. Whether it’s crossing through the tremendous gym, crossing the streets, or crossing the finish line with Team Yachad in the Miami Marathon, IVDU brought life into the classrooms and the classrooms to life.  Social opportunities are a high priority at IVDU. We have worked hard to bridge and maintain relationships with peers

from other schools. Every week the IVDU Elementary School students participate with Shulamith School for Girls in an Erev Shabbat program; students in the Marilyn David IVDU Upper School participate in bi-weekly lunch-and-learn programs with students from Magen David Yeshiva High School and Yeshivat Shaarei Torah. The boys division also enjoys weekly swimming and ping-pong with students at the HaMesivta High School. Along with students from Yeshiva of Central Queens, Shulamith, Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls and Yeshiva University High School

for

Girls

(Central), students in the elementary school and girls enjoyed

upper

school

Chanukah

parties, Purim carnivals, model Passover seders and Lag B’Omer activities.  Our focus on social activities is not only

Team IVDU runners sing during Havdallah the night before the ING Miami Half Marathon


A+ about having fun; it includes learning about social responsibility and helping others. The elementary school students learned about the importance of doing chesed (acts of kindness), for others by visiting a local nursing home during the school year. The Marilyn David IVDU Upper School students visit a soup kitchen on a weekly basis to help those in need of a warm meal. Following superstorm Sandy, students visited some of the hardest hit areas in New York and assisted families in preserving what they could and removing rubble from badly damaged homes in Oceanside and the Rockaways. These programs furthered our students’ sense of communal responsibility and participation. The IVDU curriculum also has a strong focus on life skills. Elementary school students met with a dentist to learn about oral hygiene and with an animal specialist to learn about the habitats and behaviors of an assortment of animals, including common pets. Additionally, many classes learned about depositing and withdrawing funds through visits to local banks.  Students at the Marilyn David IVDU Upper School also enjoyed many real life experiences throughout the school year.  The weekly vocational training program has exposed students to a variety of professional environments, including museum programs, office work, childcare, plumbing, technology and entrepreneurship. Students also learned about financial literacy through fundraising, excursions and a model economic system within the school building. Friends, family members and caregivers of IVDU students clearly see the growth each student experiences over the course of the school year. Students use what they learned in their classrooms throughout the rest of their lives.  IVDU Elementary School, Marilyn David IVDU Upper School Boys’ and Girls’ Divisions are branches of Yachad/NJCD

page 31


Inclusion

What

out active sion is all ab lu c in e, m To r at wheneve It means th s. es en ar aw e t, I make th  environmen I’m in a new eech and actions, my sp y m ith w ­ — effort to engage language — dy bo y m even conversation d keep the everyone an y first if that’s not m t there, even ou f el ys m g puttin s left out.  balanced. It’s re no one feel su e ak m to der thought, in or

Inc

lusion is w hen one feels a sens e of belong ing and respect and is trea ted as a valued member of a community. Inclusion is when there is a suppor tive energy and co m mitment from others so that each individu al can thrive in his or her surroundings .

Jeremy Joszef

Aliza GnioorttYalicheadbCoordinator, Teaneck, NJ

Director, Cam p Morasha Woodmere, N Y

New York Se

Inclusion rking. I’m

getting experience at my job every day; I get to run the store and be the boss.

It’s not as easy as peop le think, but I like it when I get the job done.

Elliot Wittert

Yachad Member, Store

beyond

r Molly Snydeern , San Diego, CA

(placed through JU F/ Yachad Vocational Ser vices) Queens, NY

is

at

its

best

vidual ly every indi when not on ity to the opportun is afforded gains t each person participate, bu ce. One her’s presen from the ot times inspirational of the most wick, is of East Bruns el ra Is g un the Yo in our shul, our lives are ton. We feel ba ab Sh ad ch the annual Ya bers. e Yachad mem enriched by th

einsteink, NJ Rabbi JaIsrayel W wic of East Bruns Rabbi, Young

seeing

been a privilege.

Manager

Inclusion

means

a person for who disability and seeing I arrived at Yachad I they truly are. When with individuals with had never worked ter spending a year disabilities before. Af . duals with disabilities as if I work with indivi here, I still don’t feel ng o are interesti , up of individuals wh gro e iqu un a th wi I work onate with their own caring and compassi d, kin , tric en ecc , ny fun s ng with my clients ha everyone else. Worki set of challenges like

It feels good to be wo

page 32

Means to Me

Yachad Social Work Int School of Social Work Columbia University

Inclusion prevents the isolation that can be felt by the family of a child with a disabilit y.

It ensures the child and fam ily have a place in the commun ity, creating a feeling of security and acceptance. There is nothing as

important and precious as one ’s perception of self-worth. Yachad’s gift to its members and families is showing how much they are valued regardless of physical or developmental limitatio ns.

Raizel Grossman

Yachad Parent, Spring Valley, NY


ce Seif

IFS

Community

engagement

israel free spirit

EvEryonE knows our famous OU Kosher

That’s ou, Too!

symbol — it’s on half a million products — but the Orthodox Union is much more than kosher.

• Thousands of TEEns discover their Jewish

roots through NCSY.

• young JLIC CoupLEs on 16 secular college

campuses help students maintain their Torah observance.

• In sTaTE CapIToLs and Washington,

D.C., the OU’s Institute for Public Affairs advocates for tuition relief and other Jewish needs.

• ThE ou Job board helps thousands find

meaningful work.

• yaChad champions the inclusion of children

and adults with disabilities into the full spectrum of Jewish life.

• pLus Karasick Synagogue Services, OU

Press, Jewish Action, Community Services, our Israel Center and so much more.

The Orthodox Union. Enhancing Jewish life. See for yourself at www.ou.org


Did you know… Yachad is celebrating its 30th bIrThdaY this year! on average, 40,000+ commUnITY members and participating peers experience Yachad programming each year 52 individuals with disabilities Traveled To Israel with Taglit-birthright Israel in summer 2012 and Winter 2013 more than 750 maraThon rUnners around the world have proudly worn “Team Yachad” jerseys as they ran to raise funds for Yachad ThoUsands of sTUdenTs in more than 100+ schools across the Us have benefited from Yachad sensitivity training for school-aged children In march 2013 Yachad hosted a Job faIr with more than 500 participants resulting in at least 38 individuals finding employment Yachad has 18 chapTers across the Us, canada and Israel In summer 2012 Yachad enabled 210 campers, 52 typical high school students and 147 staff members to participate in 9 dIfferenT sUmmer programs. In summer 2013 Yachad will be partnering with 5 new summer camps our Way sponsors shabbatonim and provides support and resoUrces To 1,500 JeWIsh deaf across the nation Yachad travels to WashIngTon, d.c. to lobby congress for pro dIsabIlITY legIslaTIon

There are many ways that you can help and support these important programs and services, visit www.yachad.org for more information

30 Yachad Is an agencY of The orThodox UnIon


Belong 2013