100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

The University of Michigan Library provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes. These materials may be under copyright. If you decide to use any of these materials, you are responsible for making your own legal assessment and securing any necessary permission. If you have questions about the collection, please contact the Bentley Historical Library at bentley.ref@umich.edu

May 02, 2013 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-05-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

metro >> on the cover

Because

Everyone

Belongs

Yachad Detroit brings more Jewish inclusion for individuals with special needs.

Shelli Liebman Dorfman I Contributing Writer

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

on the truest lever said Jeff Lazar, Yachad
Detroit director. The group works with 20
individuals ages 8-39, with a wide range of
abilities.
"Detroit had an active Yachad chapter
about 20 years ago, but then it fizzled out"
Lazar said. "We decided to reopen it in
September 2012."
The chapter was recreated after
the director of Cleveland Yachad met
Aish youth group staff member Bayla
Hochheiser of Oak Park at an NCSY youth
group convention. Needing some assis-
tance, it was suggested she contact Lazar,
who had been involved in Detroit's original
Yachad group.
Lazar and Hochheiser, now Yachad
Detroit's assistant director, held a parent
gathering last July.
"The meeting was a place to talk about
our needs for our children, and I shared
my main concern," Friedman said. "When
my kids were in Jewish day schools, we
always heard that the school will teach
them about Judaism but that we have to
follow through at home. Now we're at
the opposite point. Danny has Judaism at
home, but we were looking for a place for
him to follow through in the community"
Danny became a bar mitzvah at
Congregation B'nai Moshe and graduated
from the Frankel Jewish Academy, both in
West Bloomfield.
"But, after high school, there was little
for him to be included in Jewishly," his
mother said.
"A lot of the families who attended that
meeting were already involved with other
Jewish agencies," said Ethan Gross of West
Bloomfield, whose son Jacob, 16, partici-
pates in Yachad programs. "But many of
them lived in Southfield and Oak Park and
said there were few activities on their side
of town.
"The missing piece for those who are
observant is a good inclusion program that
does religious study and has kosher events
but also is open to everybody, whether they
are observant or not"
Lazar said, "Yachad gives participants
a link to camaraderie they're not getting
anywhere else"

8 May 2 • 2013

New Friends
"Yachad volunteers are genuine Friedman
said. "They are part of Yachad because they
want to be there"
The first Yachad Detroit volunteer was
Zach Herschfus, 15, of Southfield, who has
been involved with Friendship Circle and
individuals with special needs for several
years. Zach's mom, Fern, was active in a
New York chapter of Yachad while in high
school and became involved in the original
Detroit chapter in the early 1990s.
A student at Akiva Hebrew Day School
in Southfield, Zach invited his school
friends, 15-year-old twins, Alyssa and
Noah Adler of Southfield, and Yardena
Schwarcz, 16, of Oak Park, to join Lazar
and him at a Yachad leadership seminar in
Connecticut last fall.
"After an inspiring weekend of leader-
ship training, networking and brainstorm-

Sara Unger, 17, of Oak Park shows off
the project she made to go along with
the Torah study.

ing, we returned to Detroit energized"
said Zach, president of Yachad Detroit's
high school board, with Alyssa, Noah and
Yardena serving as board members. Next
year, the board will include a Yachad mem-
ber as well.
"We are in discussion with Akiva to
build programming, volunteering and sen-
sitivity training as well as chesed (loving-
kindness) projects that involve the whole
school" Lazar said. "We hope this will also
inspire other schools to participate. In
addition, we are looking for partnerships
with other agencies and synagogues"
Yardena said, "I immediately fell in love
with the program and the people involved.

I enjoyed the concept of Yachad so much
that I applied to go on a Yachad summer
program in Israel" that brings high school
students together with Yachad members.
In January, several individuals involved
with Yachad Detroit trained and participat-
ed on Team Yachad in the ING Miami Half-
Marathon to raise funds and awareness for
individuals with special needs. They were
Hochheiser, Zach and Yachad volunteers
Elana Greenbaum, 17, of Southfield and
Isaac Wolfe, 15, of West Bloomfield.
Noah and Zach recently attended a
Yachad high school leadership Shabbaton
in New Jersey focusing on advocacy train-
ing and lobbying.
"From there we traveled to Washington,
D.C., along with Yachad members from
across the country, to lobby our congress-

Everyone on page 10

Back to Top

© 2021 Regents of the University of Michigan