More than 700 Attend Yachad Annual Family Shabbaton
At the 26th Yachad Annual Family Shabbaton, held recently at the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa in Kerhonkson in New York’s Catskill Mountains, close to 800 participants gathered for a weekend that combined cutting edge information in a warm, supportive setting with programs for siblings; fun activities; and a Shabbat whose memories will last the entire year until the next Family Shabbaton.
Yachad | Jewish Disabilities Integration, the flagship program of the Orthodox Union’s National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD), provides unique social, educational and recreational programs for individuals with learning, developmental and physical disabilities, with the goal of their Inclusion in the total life of the Jewish community.
The weekend, held recently, featured presentations by leading national professionals in the field of special needs, and the Orthodox Union’s leading professionals.
According to Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, NJCD National Director, “The Family Shabbaton is a one-of-a-kind program whose ingredients of information, presented by leading professionals in a supportive, embracing environment -- filled with ruach (spirit), love, and kindness -- make for a greater ‘whole.’ This Shabbaton is truly a life-changing program for families -- something they could not experience elsewhere.”
Noted speakers included Dr. Alberto Costa MD, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado/ Denver Medical School, and the parent of a daughter with Down Syndrome.
A Yachad mother said, “It was a real privilege to be able to attend the Yachad Shabbaton. For me, it was a very emotional weekend but an enjoyable one. It was nice to see all Jews regardless of their level of observance all under one roof, and speaking to one another, with one goal to be there to better the life of their family member with a disability.”
She continued, “It was beneficial to be able to speak with other mothers, fathers and staff who are experiencing what I am going through -- and truly do understand. I spent more than an hour speaking with Batya Jacob (Program Director for National Educational Services) from one mother to another, one professional to another; and it helped me begin to come to terms with some issues I had been having difficulty with. When I watched the advisors with the Yachad members, it truly brought tears to my eyes to see their level of dedication and true enjoyment being with these children.”
Chani Herrman, Director of New Jersey Yachad and Family Shabbaton Coordinator, stated, “As always, our goal was to strengthen families, and to facilitate on-going communication between all members. Yachad does all that and much more.”
OU | Enhancing Jewish Life