Rabbi Donath in Bergen County
Rabbi Donath in Bergen County
Rabbi Donath in Bergen County

Successful Opening of New Supported Living Apartments. To accommodate the growing needs of the community, Ohel recently opened new apartments in Brooklyn for individuals with a mental illness. All of these residents came from more supervised government housing programs, which were based on a transitional housing model. The expected stay in these programs is 18—24 months, after which they graduate to permanent housing, which is what Ohel provides, along with comprehensive therapeutic services as part of the personal recovery process.

Supported housing is a type of permanent housing model, which helps residents further integrate into the community and engage in both wellness and recovery. This process all starts with Ohel’s stable and affordable housing program, as people do not want to move each time they make progress in their rehabilitation. In recognition of these needs, Ohel’s new supported housing program increased permanent housing opportunities for people with mental illness.

The men and women who made the move to these beautiful new apartments were very pleased with the transition, and after just a few weeks, they already love their new neighborhood and lifestyle.

Marc Katz, the director of Ohel Access, said, “Overall, these moments motivate us to further enhance and expedite the everyday growth of our new housing program.”

Rabbi Jeremy Donath Joins Bergen County Team. Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services is proud to welcome Rabbi Jeremy Donath to their family, as Ohel’s first Bergen County Community Coordinator. Rabbi Donath lives in Fair Lawn with his wife, Shira, and is the rav of Congregation Darchei Noam. He is a member of the RCBC and he is a teacher and rabbi at TABC in Teaneck.

A native of Minneapolis and a graduate of YU, he will connect Ohel with all the local schools and shuls of the “Eight Towns” of Bergen County–Teaneck, Bergenfield, Englewood, Fair Lawn, Paramus, Tenafly, New Milford, and Fort Lee. He will seek to introduce Ohel’s services to the community and will identify needs that the community may have that Ohel can address. In addition, Rabbi Donath is an accomplished speaker and teacher and has drawn rave reviews in the short 18 months he has been living in Bergen County.

Simcha Feuerman, Ohel’s Lifetime Care Foundation Director, said, “Rabbi Donath has a keen interest and insight into the social concerns that affect the families and children in this community, and he is a superb partner in expanding on Ohel’s important work.”

Individuals Managing Mental Illness Enjoy Retreat to Bear Mountain State Park. On June 12, a large group of adult men and women from Ohel’s residential and psychiatric programs traveled to Bear Mountain State Park for what has become an annual picnic and barbecue. Three coach buses full of over 150 residents and staff went up to the park, including residents and participants of Ohel’s Kadimah Clubhouse, Fort Hamilton residence, 41st St. residence, and Ohel’s supported housing programs.

Once all the buses arrived at Bear Mountain, the residents all enjoyed a fun and relaxing day in the sun and fresh air. A delicious picnic lunch was served and participants played sports including games of basketball and softball. Ohel’s Yitz Elman commented that “the day provides a unique and informal atmosphere where individuals both socialize with one another and with the staff.” In addition to the sports and activities, there was also hiking in the beautiful, scenic trails of Bear Mountain.

It was a fun and exciting day and rejuvenating to be in the fresh country air.

Rabbi Soloveitchik Brightens Up OHEL. This past rosh chodesh, as on every rosh chodesh, Ohel Bais Ezra’s East 26th St. residence was filled with pride and joy as they opened their doors to Rabbi Simcha Soloveitchik, who came for his monthly visit.

Ohel Bais Ezra’s East 26th Street residence was opened on March 31, 1996. It is home to 11 men, and there is 24-hour supervision. Each of the men is diagnosed with various developmental disabilities, as well as other medical and psychiatric disabilities.

Four years ago, Rabbi Soloveitchik came to the residence to visit a family friend, however all the individuals deeply enjoyed his discussions on the parashah and the singing of zemiros. His visits turned into regular, monthly events, which are set up and coordinated with the staff of the residence. These visits are timed to occur on rosh chodesh as a truly special treat for the men and staff who reside at the home.

Moshe Gaffney, who lives at the residence, said of the monthly visits, “One thing we know about Rabbi Soloveitchik is when he comes and discusses Jewish ideas, and his discussions of Torah go around our residence, how deeply we enjoy from the bottom of our hearts when he comes and enhances our Yiddishkeit.”

For more information about Ohel and their many services from which you can benefit, please contact 800-603-OHEL, askohel@ohelfamily.org, or visit www.ohelfamily.org. v


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