The Remarkable Maya Eldar of Skokie

11 Feb 2006

Maya Eldar, 26, of Skokie took part recently in a “birthright Israel” trip, sponsored by Yachad, an agency of the Orthodox Union. Yachad, the flagship program of the Orthodox Union’s National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD), provides unique social, educational and recreational programs for individuals with developmental, learning and physical disabilities.

Because of its expertise and great success, Yachad is the only organization authorized to run a “birthright” trip for individuals with disabilities.

Maya is deaf/blind and has cerebral palsy but is not intellectually disabled. She recently sent a letter in Braille to Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, Director of Yachad/NJCD and members of the Yachad staff, expressing her appreciation for the trip. “Thank you for letting me go to Israel. I love Israel and had a wonderful time learning about Israel,” Maya wrote.

According to Dr. Lichtman, “Maya is an example of what Yachad/NJCD is all about. Maya is an extraordinarily capable young woman, despite many challenges. They pose unique challenges when planning an intensive ten day ‘Israel Experience’ for a group. To meet Maya’s special needs, we required two staff assigned just to her, and numerous other expensive accommodations, none of which were provided by ‘birthright.’ However, with the right attitude and totally phenomenal staff, even the impossible becomes possible. That’s Maya, and that’s Yachad!”