Rabbi Steven Weil

Hinei Mah Tov U’mah NAIM

March 3, 2011

We just concluded NAIM, NJCD/Yachad’s annual North American Inclusion Month. The month-long initiative to raise awareness of inclusion issues for Jews with special needs culminated with Shabbatonim in six communities: Fair Lawn, West Orange, East Brunswick, West Hempstead, Toronto, and Washington, DC. On Sunday, NJ Yachad ran its second annual Special Needs Parent Conference and Resource Fair at the Yeshiva of North Jersey in River Edge; more than 200 were in attendance. Finally, Monday was the Yachad Mission to Washington to lobby on behalf of those with disabilities. Over 105 people, including OU staff, high school students, Yachad members and community leaders, traveled to Capitol Hill for over 40 meetings with congressmen and their staffs. (Thanks to the IPA for assisting in this endeavor.) It’s noteworthy that this year’s NAIM Mission to Washington boasted more than three times the attendance of 2010′s. People came from New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Silver Spring, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Columbus, Boston and South Florida in order to participate in this important effort.

Kudos to Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, National Director of NJCD/Yachad, Eli Hagler, Assistant Director, the entire Yachad staff and all those who contributed towards making NAIM the resounding success that it was.