Highlighting: Dr. Alan and Phyllis Steinberg, Yachad Parent and Partner
As parents we want the best for our children; the best education, the best friends and the best surroundings. If lucky we come across a program that incorporates all these elements with caring and understanding staff and volunteers.
“Yachad has enriched our son Noah’s life with Judaism and friendships,” says Phyllis Steinberg who heard about the Yachad program in Los Angeles. In 2017 the Steinbergs were looking for a social program that Noah (then 28) could participate in; Yachad brought not only social connection for him but for the entire family as well.
In 2018, Rabbi Dovid Goldenberg, Clinical Program Coordinator joined the Yachad office running educational programs and classes on topics related to Life Skills, Dating and Relationships, Communication, and Cyber Safety with co-staff and volunteers. Noah never missed a class, inevitably the bond between him and Rabbi Dovid grew and flourished. “Noah has come a long way during the few years that he has been a part of the Yachad Family”, Rabbi Dovid mentioned. “It is humbling to be a small piece of the puzzle in what has been Noah’s tremendous growth. Additionally, it is a breath of fresh air to see how involved and caring Noah’s parents are with his daily life”.
Yachad recognizes and understands the importance not only of enhancing the life opportunities of Jewish individuals with developmental disabilities or other learning challenges but of the valuable connection to their families. In 2018, Alan and Phyllis were invited to attend the “West Coast Family Shabbaton” in Orange County. Professionally lead sessions were held for parents; there they created a network of parents in similar situations. The advisors made Noah feel connected and excited to participate in the offered program. Through inclusion education, Yachad breaks down real and perceived barriers within communities while simultaneously providing social recreational, educational, and clinical programming that is designed through an inclusive lens.
Noah felt comfortable and excited to attend all that Yachad has to offer and in the Winter of 2019 went on “The Yachad Birthright” trip to Israel. This was a once in a lifetime trip, where Noah toured Israel, met new people & created lasting relationships all while experiencing Israel with Yachad staff and advisors.
For Noah’s thirtieth birthday, Phyllis reached out to Monica Rukhman, Director of Los Angeles Yachad, and to Rabbi Dovid when setting up his birthday, knowing the importance of having Yachad friends at their home to celebrate together. Creating a family with other participants as well as the staff and volunteers has brought a much needed positive Jewish connection for Noah.
“Yachad met us on our own terms and has everything we want for our son.” says Dr. Alan Steinberg. Recently, Yachad created a weekly program called “Backyard Buddies”. Due to covid restrictions in place this program was created to combat the feeling of isolation and loneliness that their members faced. Rabbi Dovid meets Noah on a weekly basis at his home, continuing even in these times a bond that is cherished by his family.
“Yachad was created to create an inclusive environment in our local community as well as support families in need, it brings us immense joy to know that we have created exactly that for Noah and his family, and to know that they are part of our Yachad family as well,” Monica says.
For more information about programs offered by Yachad LA or to get more involved, please visit their website www.yachad.org/LosAngeles.
Article by Denise Badreau Tamam, Communications Director