Yachad, the National Jewish Council for Disabilities, a division of the Orthodox Union, will host its annual New York regional gala dinner, held in tribute to disability inclusion pioneers Rabbi Abraham Wahrhaftig, z’l, and Caryn Pollak, a’h, as well as in honor of Adira Katlowitz, Young Leadership award recipient. The event will raise funds for crucial inclusion programs for the community and celebrate the dedication of its new Caryn Pollak, a’h, West Hempstead Yachad Chapter, named in memory of a beloved Yachad member and leader.
Please join Yachad on June 11, 6 p.m., at Beth Sholom in Lawrence, in recognition of those who have given of themselves to further the mission of inclusion of individuals with disabilities and support their efforts in continuing to meet the needs of the Jewish community.
The New York Yachad region continues to grow to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families. Recent developments include the opening of a new Yachad Center in the Five Towns, which houses an elementary school, adult day program, parent support groups, Sunday morning Torah learning, and space for social recreational programming.
An additional chapter was opened and a coordinator added in the Riverdale community. NY Yachad currently serves hundreds of families across Long Island, Rockland, Westchester, and the five boroughs of New York City.
“Yachad is proud to continue to expand the services, programs, and support to the disabilities community throughout New York and beyond,” said Rabbi Ahron Rosenthal, director of Yachad NY. “We listen to the families and communities talk about their needs, and then work to provide our unique offerings to promote the inclusion of all individuals, no matter their abilities.”
Adira Katlowitz has been involved with Yachad since 2001, attending numerous shabbatonim, Sunday trips, and chagigot throughout the New York area. She joined Yad B’Yad as both a camper and a counselor and was the coordinator for the Rayim Brooklyn chapter from 2008–2009, and the coordinator for National Yachad from 2009–2011.
Adira has been a member of Team Yachad since 2009, running with the inaugural team, and has gone on to run 11 races with Team Yachad both in the U.S. and Israel. Most recently, Adira has been involved in the Friends of Yachad young leadership initiative.
Rabbi Abraham Wahrhaftig, z’l
Rabbi Abraham Wahrhaftig, z’l, was a member of the Jewish studies faculty at Flatbush Yeshiva, a director of Camp Morasha, and the principal of Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School. A scholar and avid
reader, Rabbi Wahrhaftig was committed to creating informal Torah educational opportunities for all — from students to seniors — and as a camp director was the first to open his camp to youth with developmental disabilities, spearheading Yachad inclusion summer programs which now serve many children and young adults in over 25 programs in the United States and Israel.
West Hempstead native Caryn Pollak, a’h, was not only a vibrant member of the Yachad community, but a catalyst for its creation. Caryn participated in virtually every Yachad Shabbaton, trip, and summer camp, making lifelong friendships with Yachad participants as well as advisers. Over time, she became Yachad’s spokesperson, accompanying Yachad staff members as they traveled to promote the program in shuls and Jewish day schools throughout the country.
“Caryn made sure we never forgot, simply because she was one of us,” says Dr. Jeff Lichtman, international director of Yachad. “She was a constant reminder of what is important. She was genuinely happy to have a job she liked, and the family, friends, and community she loved. In the best ways possible, she represented all of this population’s potential talents and abilities. If there was a face to Yachad, Caryn was it.”
Yachad, The National Jewish Council for Disabilities, a division of the Orthodox Union, is a thriving global organization dedicated to addressing the needs of all Jewish individuals with disabilities and ensuring their inclusion in every aspect of Jewish life. Its inclusive design aims to ensure persons with diverse abilities their rightful place within the Jewish community, while helping to educate and advocate for a greater understanding, acceptance, outreach, and a pro-disability attitude.
To make reservations for the dinner, please visit Yachad.org/nygala2018 or e-mail email@example.com for more information.