International Director of Yachad, The National Jewish Council for Disabilities,
Speaks at Screening of My Hero Brother in Scarsdale, NY
Film Portrays Individuals with Disabilities & the Power of Bonds with Their Siblings
Scarsdale, NY, DEC 21, 2017 — Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, International Director of Yachad, the National Jewish Council for Disabilities, spoke at the December 6th screening of My Hero Brother at the JCC of Mid-Westchester in Scarsdale, NY.
The award-winning film (myherobrother.org) follows individuals with Down Syndrome and their neurotypical siblings on a journey through the Indian Himalayas. The film shares Yachad’s vision of inclusion for people with disabilities in all aspects of life. It chronicles their experiences as they trek through a breathtaking, yet challenging, scenic hike surrounded by incredible mountains, beautiful scenery, and exquisite wildlife in one of the world’s most unusual destinations.
Dr. Lichtman, who lectures around the globe about serving individuals with disabilities, talked about the film and the power and long-lasting nature of sibling relationships. “Our bonds with our siblings are usually among the longest lasting in our personal lives,” said Lichtman, “and it is imperative that parents do not attempt to shield neurotypical children from their siblings with disabilities, be it Down Syndrome or any other disability. Their relationships should be encouraged and nurtured and addressed head on.”
Dr. Lichtman, who serves as the Clinical Director and International Executive Director of Yachad, oversees the family support offered by Yachad through its many and varied programs, and has extensive experience helping children with disabilities and their families live full and inclusive lives.
“The film’s emphasis on the special bond among siblings and their drive to finish their adventure through the Himalayas together, despite physical and emotional challenges, is an excellent example of what can be accomplished with the support of a caring family,” adds Lichtman.
The film’s Director, Yonatan Nir, described the siblings with Down Syndrome as “human beings blessed with qualities many of us yearn to have, struggling with their limitations in a highly courageous and inspirational way.”
Yachad promotes many of the values depicted in the film, supporting inclusive, everyday life for individuals with disabilities throughout the United States, Canada, and Israel.
One of the many ways Yachad supports families is through its highly popular Shabbaton programs, which provide a complete line up of Shabbat events and programs for every member of the family, including support services, resources and entertainment, as well as a natural opportunity to socialize with peers.
Dr. Lichtman has led sessions at Yachad’s family Shabbatons for over 30 years, in major cities throughout the United States.
Last year Yachad hosted Shabbatons in the Northeast (in Connecticut) and for families in the Midwest (in Illinois), among other cities. This coming year Yachad will return to Connecticut to serve the East as well as a brand-new location for West Coast families in California.
These Shabbatons serve as a unique opportunity for the entire family to gather in faith, learning, and friendship with families of similar backgrounds. Find out more about Yachad Shabbatons at: yachad.org/family.
Yachad offers a range of support groups: for mothers of children with disabilities; Sibshops, for siblings of children with special needs, family clinical services and more.
Dr. Lichtman concluded: “Yachad was especially honored to be invited to participate in the screening of My Hero Brother and help promote its message about the amazing things individuals with Down Syndrome and their supportive families can accomplish.”
Yachad, The National Jewish Council for Disabilities, is a thriving global organization dedicated to addressing the needs of all Jewish individuals with disabilities and ensuring their inclusion in every aspect of Jewish life. Its inclusive design aims to ensure persons with diverse abilities their rightful place within the Jewish community, while helping to educate and advocate for a greater understanding, acceptance, outreach, and a pro-disability attitude. Yachad is funded by the Orthodox Union, led by President Moishe Bane.
Photo: Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, International Director of Yachad, the National Jewish Council for Disabilities, spoke at the December 6th screening of My Hero Brother at the JCC of Mid-Westchester in Scarsdale, NY.