Woodmere Family Runs for Yachad in Miami

14 Feb 2012

By Nicole Goldstein

The Goldstein family: Stanley, JJ, Nicole, and Brenda

Yachad | Jewish Disabilities Inclusion/The National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD) is an agency of the Orthodox Union that provides unique social, educational and recreational programs for individuals with learning, developmental and physical disabilities.

Nicole Goldstein, of Woodmere, is sister of Yachad member JJ Goldstein. Together, with their father Stanley, they ran with Team Yachad at the recent Miami ING Half-Marathon. She sent a personal reflection on the race to Yachad:

While you think we runners deserve a thank you, I know the whole Yachad staff deserves the greatest thank you possible for all that you have done for JJ, myself, my family, and the many others in similar situations. It is obvious that the dedication and warmth you all put into the programs and Shabbatons make Yachad what it is and make JJ who he is. I have witnessed many Shabbats that JJ has spent home bored, sad, and even next to the window with a telescope watching friends play outside aware that he, himself, has none. It always hurts to see him like this, let alone it is not any easier on my parents. What I want to say is this — Yachad’s Shabbatons, programs, and staff prevents this from being the case for JJ and instead gives him countless weekends of friends, warmth, memories and more. These weekends give JJ something to look forward to and are what make JJ’s week.

Throughout high school, it was hard to involve myself in Yachad and make the choice to put myself into situations similar to my everyday reality. I had felt guilty about it but I recently grew to want to be involved in Yachad and give back to the organization that has done so much for JJ and my family. After my first (and awesome) Yachad Shabbaton with Junior Yachad in December, I look forward to partaking in many more of these Shabbatons. Beforehand, I knew the confidence and feelings of self-worth that Yachad has given JJ but I was only able to vouch from the sidelines. Although JJ wasn’t at that Shabbaton with me, I had the opportunity to finally witness what happens at these Shabbatons, and fully understand what JJ is always counting down to.

The Miami weekend was great, the run was great and everything in between was great. It was great to support Yachad and what is even greater is everything the Yachad staff does to make this organization what it is. It is obvious that the staff is all involved with Yachad because they truly care.

I also want to add how amazing each one of the three coaches were – Jasmine Graham, Yoav Shans, and Melissa Dain. I thanked Melissa more than once because she really went above and beyond. JJ and I passed her earlier in the race, and again met up with her at mile eight — JJ was moving at a slow pace, had pains, and was ready to give up. After cheering him along for the first 10 miles, I think he had enough of hearing from his annoying sister and needed that confidence of a coach. Melissa’s patience and encouragement helped JJ along and got him to that finish line, where he was able to earn his medal for completing the ING Miami Half-Marathon.

Thank you again for a great weekend and for all that you do!

OU | Enhancing Jewish Life