On Sunday, March 7, Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services virtually hosted its 51st Annual Gala, marking over half a century of Ohel’s critical support services for our community’s most vulnerable children and adults.

Ohel was proud to honor four couples whose unmatched strength and compassion during the past year inspired all of us to tap into our own personal reserves of courage and resilience: Toby and Yoeli Steinberg and the Gourmet Glatt family, Guests of Honor; Shani and Dov Weinstock, Esq., the Nediv Lev (Heart of Gold) Awardees; Adina Lewis, Esq. and Lawrence Garbuz, Esq., the Harvey, a’h, and Gloria Kaylie Community Impact Awardees; and Libby and Shloime Dachs, the Shem Tov Awardees.

Ohel paid further tribute to its unparalleled team of direct support professionals for their selfless service in profoundly challenging and uncertain times. The gala’s theme, “Celebrate Strength,” was a meaningful culmination of Ohel’s fortitude during the past year, in which the pandemic challenged staff to maintain its breadth of vital services and programming for the 20,000 children, adults, and families that we serve.

“What does Ohel do? Ohel does everything,” said Osnat Bennaim, a senior manager at Ohel, during the course of the evening’s program. “I would say, what does Ohel NOT do?”

Founded in 1969 as a foster care agency to place Jewish children whose parents could not care for them in loving homes, Ohel grew quickly to encompass a range of services that meet the needs of so many vulnerable individuals and families in our community.

In response to the pandemic, Ohel expended every effort to successfully meet the new and amplified needs of clients. Ohel created virtual support groups for new populations of bereaved men and women who lost a loved one to Covid-19; virtual programming and entertainment for adults with developmental disabilities; and toolkits for schools to help children adjust to new safety protocols and a collective feeling of uncertainty. Ohel’s My Covid 19 Resilience Workbook was downloaded for use by thousands of children.

These invaluable resources helping people through the pandemic are representative of Ohel’s strength as a communal lifeline for vulnerable individuals and families. When people don’t have strength to meet the obstacles in their lives, they have Ohel. And Ohel has the partnership of our staff and lay leaders.

“At this extraordinary moment as we all take stock of the past year and anticipate better days ahead, I’m so proud of the way Ohel has pivoted to meet unforeseen challenges and serve the ever-changing needs of the people in our community who we serve,” said David Mandel, Ohel’s chief executive officer. “Our gala’s incredible honorees this year have also set standards of leadership and generosity of spirit and resources for which we are deeply grateful.”

Ohel also offered exciting prizes for two lucky members in attendance at the gala, picked at random. Congratulations to Lawrence Rosman of Queens, NY, who won an all-expense paid vacation to Dubai with an itinerary curated by Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, Chief Rabbi of the United Arab Emirates, and to Rabbi Marc and Adina Penner of Holliswood, who won free tuition for their son at Camp Kaylie this summer.

If you missed the inspiring program, you can still watch at OhelStrength.org. If you haven’t made a gift yet to support Ohel’s critical work, or want to increase your gift to support those who need extra assistance this Pesach season please visit OhelFamily.org/donate to make your gift. Every show of support at every level amplifies the impact we can have to help those who need us the most. Ohel thanks its thousands of donors and supporters joining in Celebrating Strength. 

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