Yachad’s 2017-2018 Daner Fellows Announced
Six young adults were recently selected as Daner Fellows for 2017-2018. The year-long fellowship, in the intersection of the Jewish community and the disability inclusion movement, supports the fellows’ development in working as part of a dynamic, multidisciplinary team aimed to meet the social and inclusion needs of Jewish individuals with diverse disabilities.
The fellows will work with people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, developmental challenges, deaf and hard of hearing, physical disabilities, and medical health and mental health needs and will also work to educate the broader community and increase disability awareness. Their work will focus on community leadership, education, and direct care in one of the following locations:
- Yachad’s main office in New York City
- The Individualized Vocational Development Unit school in Brooklyn
- Day habilitation in Brooklyn
- New Jersey Yachad in Teaneck
- New England Yachad in Brookline, MA
- Yachad Israel in Jerusalem
- Chicago Yachad in Skokie, IL
The fellows will join Yachad staff at these locations and work with mentors to acquire proficiency in disability culture and Jewish organizational leadership.
The Joel Daner Yachad Communal Fellowship (JDYCF) aims to shape emerging leaders who plan to go into careers in social work, psychology, medicine, education, not-for-profit management, development, public relations, policy planning or organizational leadership; or those who hope to serve the broad Jewish community in a lay leadership capacity.
My name is Rachelle (Racheli) Belne. I’m from Toronto, Canada. I graduated from Seneca College with an Honours Bachelor of Therapeutic Recreation. I spent several years working with children with special needs and became involved with Yachad, which has developed into a passion of mine. This past winter I went on Yachad Birthright, and this summer I am looking forward to working at Moshava Bair Toronto with the Yachad division. In my free time I love to cook and bake—especially donuts—eat ice cream, and make people smile. I am very excited to be a part of the Joel Daner Fellowship, as I look forward to my continuing involvement with Yachad and spreading the message of inclusion that I feel so passionately about!
My name is Judah Gavant, and I am thrilled to be joining this year’s group of Daner Fellows! Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, and later Baltimore, Maryland, I now reside in Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan. I am a recent graduate of Yeshiva University where I studied psychology and theatre. While at YU I spent considerable time in a variety of Yachad programming from regional shabbatons to staffing Yad B’Yad and Yachad Birthright. Many of my professional goals have been inspired through my involvement and work with Yachad, and I hope to pursue a degree pertaining to my work with Yachad in the coming years. I am passionate fan of theatre and acted in several of Yeshiva University’s biannual theatre productions. I am eagerly looking forward to the coming year serving as a Daner Fellow and the opportunity to work within an organization as incredible and meaningful to me as Yachad.
I am Rachel Gozland. Hailing from Riverdale, New York, I am a recent graduate of Stern College for Women, pre-health, with a degree in biology. Throughout college, I have had the privilege to be a counselor at Camp Kesher for one summer and at Camp HASC for two summers, a direct support provider at a respite home during the year, an advisor for numerous Yachad events, and the founder of Project IncludED at Yeshiva University. I am an avid reader, writer, Broadway fan, and devil’s advocate, and I dabble at piano, sketching, painting, Krav Maga, and puns. I cannot wait for the opportunity to contribute to a field for which I care deeply as a Joel Daner Yachad Communal Fellow.
My name is Brandon Lurie and I was born and raised on the sunny beaches of Los Angeles, California. Following my four years of high school I attended a yeshiva in the Old City called Yeshivat Hakotel for one year. I continued my academic studies at McGill University for two years where I in turn transferred to New York University to finish up my major’s degree in history and minor degree in Judaic studies. During my summers I spent many months working for and traveling with Yachad as well at interning at venture capital, finance, and marketing firms. I’m making aliyah this August and am excited to be the Joel Daner Israel Fellow for the upcoming year working to expand and impact Yachad’s Israel chapter. In my free time I enjoying learning, reading nonfiction, playing tons of basketball, and hanging out with friends.
I am Jonathan (Yoni) Mintz, from Fair Lawn, New Jersey. I recently received a BA from Yeshiva University, with a major in psychology and a minor in business. Over my time at YU, I was involved in a variety of extracurricular activities, including president of the psychology club, project sunshine (which brought “sunshine” to sick children by visiting and entertaining them), and the family discovery club. I have traveled to Haiti, New Orleans, LA, and Darlington, South Carolina, during school breaks, assisting the poor and those who have suffered from natural disasters. During summers, I have worked as a counselor at Moshava and at Camp HASC. This coming summer, I will be head counselor at a camp devoted to teaching English and empowering at-risk youth in southern Israel. I enjoy psychology, biking, swimming, and meditating. I am very excited to be joining the Yachad family as a Joel Daner Fellow.
I am Alessandra Rigamonti, originally from the great city of Baltimore, Maryland. I graduated from Cornell University in the spring of 2017 with a degree in archaeology. Growing up with an older brother with special needs, I have always been perceptive to the need for inclusive programming and creating a more receptive community. I am thrilled to be joining Yachad’s New England chapter this fall and giving back to an organization that has played such an important role in my family’s life. My long-term plans include medical school. Outside of school and work, I have been a competitive figure skater for the past decade. My other interests, which I plan on using to develop new programs for Yachad New England participants, include photography, cooking, and travel.