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Capacity Crowd of 1,100 Shows Support at OHEL’s 48th Annual Gala

On Sunday, November 19, over 1,100 friends and supporters of OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services filled the grand ballroom at New York’s Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square for OHEL’s 48th Annual Gala.

This year’s theme was “A New Chapter Begins: OHEL Is Home” and encapsulated OHEL’s expansion of services under one roof at The New OHEL Jaffa Family Campus in Flatbush.

The New OHEL Jaffa Family Campus will enable OHEL to effectively meet the ever-increasing and diverse needs of a growing community, and write new life stories for those who yearn for new beginnings.

The evening’s honorees were Irving and Miriam Langer, guests of honor in celebration of the opening of the Irving and Miriam Langer Center for Developmental Disabilities; Yossi and Deena Eisenberger, awarded the Community Leadership Award; Pinky and Miri Friedman, who received the Sign of Strength Award for their passionate support of OHEL’s new groundbreaking initiative, SignofStrength.org, to raise awareness of anxiety, and combat the stigma of mental health in the community; and Shalom and Zahava Hurwitz who were named Foster Family of the Year.

Toshiba, a long-standing vendor of OHEL, graciously displayed the names of the honorees on their giant Times Square billboard, thanking each honoree for their efforts on behalf of OHEL’s children and families.

The evening could not have been as successful without the leadership of David Brecher, this year’s OHEL gala chairman, who is also president of Camp Kaylie. His passion and tireless dedication to OHEL and Camp Kaylie set the standard for us all.

OHEL’s 48th Annual Gala also paid a moving tribute to Asher Fogel, a”h, the former chief operating officer of OHEL, whose leadership and influence on the entirety of OHEL, and transformative impact on thousands in the developmental disability community and beyond, cannot be overstated. Asher was a dedicated employee for over 28 years, building the residential, day and employment programs. His vision for integrated medical and mental health services will be another lasting legacy at The New OHEL Jaffa Family Campus. OHEL rose on the shoulders of a giant and his fatherly presence will never be forgotten.

OHEL premiered several videos at the gala, highlighting the impact the honorees have on OHEL, their families and our communities. In addition, the video “OHEL’s Impact Near and Far” highlighted OHEL’s comprehensive, award-winning services nationwide, and introduced many to the expansive new services at The New OHEL Jaffa Family Campus.

This year’s feature film, “A Sign of Strength: Confronting Anxiety in Our Community,” followed the stories of two courageous individuals—a child, Shani, and an adult, Yitty, who shared their transformative life experiences with their respective OHEL therapists in proactively confronting, and effectively managing, their anxiety. This powerful film can be seen at SignofStrength.org. The underlying message of this new OHEL campaign is that talking about emotions and mental health should no longer be seen as a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.

The evening’s program was concluded with a live musical performance by Lipa Schmeltzer, who introduced a new song developed with OHEL entitled, “Let it Go!”—a powerful new single that challenges the stigma of mental health.

OHEL thanks all who attended this year’s Gala and contributed to its success. All support enables OHEL to begin a new chapter at The New OHEL Jaffa Family Campus and write new chapters, new stories of strength, hope and inspiration to those in need.

All of the videos shown at the gala can be seen at http://www.ohelfamily.org/galavideos and the new Lipa song, “Let It Go!” can downloaded for free at http://www.signofstrength.org. To support OHEL’s important work, or access an OHEL service, please visit http://www.ohelfamily.org , or call OHEL Access at 800-603-OHEL or email [email protected].

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