June 15, 2024
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June 15, 2024
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Honoring With Pride and Silent Tears

Attending the Yachad gala, which took place this past Motzei Shabbat, was an uplifting experience. The fact that the Kinderlehrer family was honored as the Yachad Family of the Year had special meaning to us, of course. Each family member looked radiant, and they received their award with bright smiles. Certainly Zev, their son with special needs, was thrilled.

What was most inspirational to the hundreds in attendance was the speech given by Moshe, our beloved son-in-law, describing his family’s involvement with Yachad from the time his brother Baruch was born, and Dena’s involvement through our Yachad connections in Montreal.

As Moshe so brilliantly stated, both he and Dena were Yachad advisors, group-home Shabbat counselors and HASC counselors, but never did they anticipate that one day they would be the parents of a child who himself would be a Yachad member. Now Dena, Moshe and their family are the recipients of the kindness and resources that Yachad provides. They are the ones who are able to have a respite on Shabbat when Zev excitedly goes off to a shabbaton. If one were to ask Zev where the next shabbaton will be, he would definitely be able to answer that question, as he knows exactly where he is going each and every Shabbat. He also attends the Mendel Balk Center several times a week, enjoying activities as similar as possible to those that his siblings experience with their friends. It is all absolutely amazing. There are no words that any family with a child with special needs can use to adequately describe their gratitude to Yachad and any other organization that offers support and comfort to the family.

Through all of this pride we have no doubt that Dena and Moshe, from their pre-married life experience, would have taken the initiative to be actively involved in Yachad no matter what. It was the norm for them. What we silently and passionately wonder is why it was necessary for one of our children to have to face the same challenges that we as a family had to deal with for so many years and that we actually still deal with. Nina always said that she hoped that we had paid our dues for our entire family. Over and over again she pleaded with Hashem to not bestow upon any of our children the tremendous extra burden that is incurred when you have a child with special needs. We are sure that Toby and Aaron Kinderlehrer wished the same. Yet for whatever reasons, which we will never understand, Moshe and Dena’s fate was to be different.

One needs to truly understand the impact of such a child on an entire family. Although Zev is the big brother in his family, he is in fact a younger brother to Noam, and soon to Eyal. Explaining to children that although in chronological order they are the younger brothers, after just a few years of aging they automatically take on the role of the older sibling. This is not an easy concept for a child to understand. We remember so well when we told Dena how much we loved our baby (meaning her) and she automatically replied that she was not our baby and that Naama was our baby. In fact Naama is almost six years older than Dena. Obviously Naama required much more hands-on care than our other children.

Last week Dena mentioned that she was not able to attend a community event because she could not leave Zev. Her other children were all busy with their own functions. How well do we remember not even being able to go to the supermarket if our other children were not at home without trying to find a babysitter for Naama. Nothing is easy and nothing should be taken for granted.

Yes, we are all full of smiles. We have mastered the art of pretending that things are fine when there are times when they are not. We do the best that we can do. There are better days and not such great days. Dena and Moshe deserve this honor because they have taken this challenge and risen to meet it. We are saddened by the fact that they have to endure what we are still enduring, but we are proud on a daily basis of the way that they have chosen to deal with this intense pressure.

As your parents, we honor all of you for who you are, what you do and how you do it. There is really no other way to express our love and admiration for who you both have become.

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