It’s Showtime for Yachad/NJCD:’Academy Awards’ To Highlight Nov 13, Second Annual ‘Oscar’ Ceremony

31 Oct 2006


Following last year’s highly successful National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD) “Academy Awards” for leading performances in support of people with disabilities, presented by the Orthodox Union’s Yachad/ NJCD, the program returns once again this year with “Yachad Oscars: A Benefit and Awards Ceremony.” The “Oscars” celebrate the “Jewish community’s dedicated individuals who have consistently delivered outstanding performances on behalf of Yachad/NJCD.”

The presentations will be held Monday, November 13, beginning at 5:30 p.m., at the American Airlines Theatre, 227 West 42 Street in Times Square.
“Yachad,” the flagship program of NJCD, provides unique inclusive social, educational and recreational programs for individuals with developmental, learning and physical disabilities.

“This creative event will once again provide an excellent opportunity for our community to support the extraordinary work of Yachad,” declared Stephen J. Savitsky, OU President. “Much like last year, I anticipate a large and enthusiastic audience.”

There will be a pre-theater buffet reception from 5:30-7:00 p.m. and a “curtain call” at 7:30 p.m. Following the program there will be dessert and dancing. Every guest will receive a “Playbill” listing the distinguished “Who’s Who” in the cast, along with personalized “advertisements” in honor of the evening’s Oscar winners.

“This program was extremely successful last year and there was no doubt we would bring it back again,” declared Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, Director of Yachad/NJCD. “Helping to create the mood for this awards and benefits ceremony, honorees will be receiving ‘Oscars’ for the programs that they help to support.”

“Rarely has a program produced such raves for its fun and ingenuity in support of a most worthy cause,” agreed Steven Spira, NJCD Chair.
Jake Ehrenreich, a performer who stars in the off-Broadway show, A Jew Grows in Brooklyn, and Elliot Zimet, a magician who appeared in the television show, America’s Got Talent, will provide the entertainment.

To host another enjoyable Yachad Oscar’s evening, Jeff Braverman, returns in his role as Master of Ceremonies from last year’s debut performance. He is the Director of Camp Nesher in Pennsylvania, which plays host to Yachad members as an integral part of its program.
The Yachad Oscar winners are:

•Yachad Celebrity Oscar: Lee Bienstock, who achieved second place in Donald Trump’s television show the Apprentice, and was hired by Trump after the show, was involved with Yachad in high school. Upon his recent participation in a Yachad Junior Shabbaton, where he had the opportunity to meet and greet the organization members, he returns once more to support the Yachad family.

•Community Service Oscars: The Braunstein Family, of Riverdale, has been actively involved with Yachad. Several family members have worked for Yachad in the past and the whole family has contributed tremendously to Yachad’s development. “They don’t look at it as chesed (kindness); this is what is normal to them, simply what should be, what everyone should do,” declared Mr. Spira.

•Yachad Family Oscar: Selma and Leo Hankoff and Family, of West Hempstead, Long Island, have been involved with Yachad since its inception. Their daughter, Sarah, was one of the first members and married Michael Cobrin, also a Yachad member.

•Young Leadership Oscar: Shulamis and Avi Pollak, of Bergenfield, NJ, both have siblings who are Yachad members. Shulamis volunteered for Yachad as a high school student and then worked as a coordinator for an extended period. She developed many extraordinary friendships that she maintains to this day. Avi, whose sister Caryn is a member of Yachad, has been a devoted advocate and supporter of Yachad.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, contact Elaine Grossman, at 212.613.8350 or