NEW YORK – More than 5,000 people tuned into the Orthodox Union’s (OU) Yachad, the leading organization for individuals with disabilities in the Orthodox community, raised $150,000 during its virtual “Battle of the Singers” recently that featured entertainers Benny Friedman and Mordechai Shapiro. The event also featured Meir Kay as its master of ceremonies and Mendy Hershkowitz on the piano.
Friedman and Shapiro brought their “A-game” and battled it out over their signature songs in an effort to raise awareness of the critical support and programming that Yachad has been providing to families with children with special needs during COVID-19. Shapiro also premiered an updated version of his hit song B’Yachad, which was originally released in 2017. The new lyrics reflect how Yachad is still bringing people together and caring for others even in isolation during COVID-19. The new lyrics were written by Mordechai’s sister, Sorah Shaffren from Bergen County, NJ.
Proceeds from the program will benefit Yachad’s international efforts to help individuals with disabilities and their families combat social isolation during COVID-19. It will go toward virtual programming that the group will roll out over the coming months.
“As a result of COVID-19, three of our gala fundraisers were cancelled and so our team came up with a creative approach to fundraise for our programs while also producing an entertaining show that families could watch together. The feedback and results were tremendous and we are so appreciative of the time and effort of the performers and the attendees who participated and supported us,” said International Yachad Director Avromie Adler.
“Yachad is a cornerstone program of the OU and plays a critical role in Jewish communities across the country by providing programming, services and Torah education to participants and their families. We are grateful that so many people recognize this and chose to lend their financial support during the virtual fundraiser to help support this important work,” said OU President Moishe Bane.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the OU has worked tirelessly to serve all of our communities, especially those with special needs for whom social distancing has been especially difficult,” said OU Executive Vice President Allen Fagin. “We are grateful to all of those who joined us for this event and helped donate toward our continued virtual programming for Yachad participants.”
Founded in 1898, the Orthodox Union, (OU), serves as the voice of American Orthodox Jewry, with over 400 congregations in its synagogue network. As the umbrella organization for American Orthodox Jewry, the OU is at the forefront of advocacy work on both state and federal levels, outreach to Jewish teens and young professionals through NCSY, Israel Free Spirit Birthright, Yachad and OU Press, among many other divisions and programs.