Seventh and eighth graders from yeshivot/day schools in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will gather for the annual Yachad Leadership Shabbaton at the Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst, May 9-10, to spend Shabbat with junior high school students with disabilities, and to understand the importance of including those with disabilities in the Jewish community.
Yachad/National Jewish Council for Disabilities is dedicated to addressing the needs of all individuals with disabilities and including them in the Jewish community. Yachad members participate in several inclusive activities per month. There are Yachad chapters located throughout the United States and Canada. An important part of the Yachad mission is to emphasize full inclusion in Jewish life for those with disabilities.
More than 75 junior high school students will spend Shabbat with approximately 40 Yachad members from Long Island, Queens, New Jersey, Monsey, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Westchester. Mainstream students who will be attending the Shabbaton come from the following area schools:
• Brooklyn: Yeshivah of Flatbush;
• Connecticut: Bi-Cultural Day School;
• Long Island: HAFTR, HALB, HANC, and North Shore Hebrew Academy;
• Manhattan: Manhattan Day School and Ramaz;
• Monsey: ASHAR;
• New Jersey: Hillel Yeshiva, Kushner, Moriah, Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva, Yavneh, and Yeshiva of North Jersey;
• Queens: Yeshiva of Central Queens and Har Torah;
• Riverdale: SAR Academy;
• Staten Island: Jewish Foundation School; and
• Westchester: Westchester Day School.
College-aged advisors will be present to guide Yachad members and to help facilitate their inclusion. National Yachad Director Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, Assistant Yachad Director Rabbi Mayer Waxman, and New York Yachad Director Yehuda Charm will also attend.
Junior Yachad Program Director Sarah Casden, who is coordinating the Shabbaton, declared, "A Yachad Leadership Shabbaton is a unique opportunity to bring together Yachad members, junior high students, staff, and community members. The purpose of the Leadership Shabbaton is to educate seventh and eighth grade yeshiva students about people with disabilities. The Shabbaton will provide everyone with direct experience with midos (good character traits) and with chesed-oriented leaders who are dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with disabilities, as well as to improve Ahavat Yisrael (love of fellow Jews).”
The Shabbaton includes an icebreaker game between Yachad members and the students, a Friday night oneg, and leadership training. In addition to the Shabbat synagogue services, there will be a Saturday night melava malka. Home hospitality will be provided for students and Yachad members traveling from all over the Tri-State area.
The cost of the weekend is $65. For more information or to help sponsor the event, contact Sarah Casden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-613-8229.