July 24, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Celebrate with Us & Yachad on Dec. 1! 

Last year, I published a piece expressing our family’s deep commitment and longstanding connections to, and abiding love and affection for, the work of Yachad in our community. I wrote about how I felt our community has an awareness of what Yachad does, what it has done for decades and what is continues to do, for our community’s children, teens, siblings and adults with disabilities and special needs. I also touched upon how strong and deep my family’s connection to Yachad is, going back over three decades.

I discussed the tremendous impact of Yachad’s shabbatonim upon all who participate in them, from the host shuls and communities, to the schools that send their students to them, to the Yachad advisors and staff, to, of course, Yachad’s members who love participating in them. I also wrote about the life-changing and community-changing impact that Yachad has had over the years.

But to bring our readership up to date, over the past two years my wife and I have developed a new favorite Yachad program from which we have benefited tremendously. That program is the Mendel Balk Yachad Adult Community Center, currently located at Heichal HaTorah / Jewish Center of Teaneck but soon to be moving—along with all of Yachad NJ’s programs—to a beautiful new space on Cedar Lane in Teaneck. (See next week’s paper for the full story). The Mendel Balk Center, as we call it, has been a tremendous lifesaver for my wife and I and we have truly come to rely on it for our
son, Zev.

Three days a week, Zev attends the Balk Center in the afternoons after school for a few hours. It is a place where he and his friends at Yachad are able to engage in all kinds of meaningful and structured activities and workshops, ranging from culinary training, ulpan, technology, the arts, learning Torah, trips and much more. Dinner is also a part of the program and Yachad’s staff tries very hard to foster a family-style dining experience. 

Our son loves going and having a program where he is around his peers, interacting with them and with Yachad’s caring staff. My wife and I love this program because with Zev currently attending our local public high school, he is home relatively early in the day and his afternoons would be very empty and downright boring without somewhere to go in the late afternoon and early evening. Even more challenging for us is the fact that we are not able to leave our 17-year-old son at home alone, so my wife is often not able to run out as easily as she can when Zev is not home. While we do like to take Zev with us on shopping trips or visits out of the house, it often doesn’t make sense for him to come with us for all short trips and errands. When Zev is at the Mendel Balk Center, this issue is completely resolved, and we are quite grateful for it.

The Mendel Balk Center has completely changed our weekday afternoons and evenings from  being a time fraught with challenges for my wife and I, with Zev often sitting and doing nothing at home, into a time all of us look forward to and enjoy. Zev loves going and it has become an integral part of his weekdays, and ours as well. 

We now owe Yachad, almost literally, a fair portion of our busy weeks and days, in addition to everything else we owe them.

With this in mind, I ask directly and personally for all of our Jewish Link readership and community to consider joining my wife and me on Motzei Shabbat, Dec. 1, at Cong. Keter Torah at 8 p.m., for a gala melava malka and to support New Jersey Yachad and honor Joey & Shira Shatzkes (Guests of Honor), Benny & Sara Berlin (Young Leadership Award), a special Yachad family, the Richmans of Teaneck, and pay tribute to Chani Rubin, z”l, a Yachad member from Passaic who passed away a few months ago. We hope you will be able to be there that night to celebrate and help raise money for Yachad together with us, and if you can’t, please go to the website http://www.yachad.org/njgala2018 to make a donation.

(Final Note: In this week’s edition on page 24, you will also find a beautiful letter written by Kyra Englander and Nicole Rothenberg inviting their friends and the community to the upcoming Yachad NJ Gala. They also write quite movingly about their relationship with Chani Rubin, z”l. I highly recommend you read it.)

By Moshe Kinderlehrer

Co-Publisher of the Jewish Link of NJ

 

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