What is a Yachad Shabbaton?
A Yachad Shabbaton is an inclusive event where Yachad members (individuals with developmental disabilities), Yachad staff and a mainstream peer group spend Shabbat together in a host community. It is a ruach-filled, fun, and meaningful event. These events take place from Friday afternoon until Saturday night when the transportation is dismissed.
What is the goal of these Yachad Shabbatons?
Aside from an awesome Shabbat environment and respite for families, the goal is INCLUSION. Without these Shabbatons, the social dynamic of the Yachad members, the mainstream peer groups, and the community at large would not be able to benefit from the notion that there is a place for everyone within the Jewish community. Because Everyone Belongs J
Who is the Shabbaton with?
Every Yachad Shabbaton consists of Yachad members, a mainstream peer group, staff, and a host community. The age groups vary between division. Junior Yachad members are aged 8 – 16 years old with typical middle school students, Senior Yachad members are aged 17 – 26 years old with typical high school students, & Rayim Yachad members are 26+ years old with typical college students or community members.
What is the role of a Shabbaton advisor?
An advisor is a volunteer Yachad staff member who can sign up to come on a Shabbaton. The advisor is paired with 1-2 Yachad members and is there to form friendships and be responsible for their well-being (socially, emotionally, physically), administration of medication, engagement in programming, and facilitation of inclusion between the mainstream peer group and the Yachad member(s) whom they are paired with.
Will I be prepped regarding the Shabbaton?
Yes, a Yachad staff member will contact you prior to the Shabbaton to explain your role in more detail, provide helpful information that is pertinent to the Yachad member(s) that you will be spending the Shabbaton with and answer any questions that you may have.
What happens when I arrive at the Shabbaton?
Upon arrival on Friday, you will be greeted by Yachad staff members who will give you a folder filled with information, including the Shabbaton schedule, your host’s address and a gift to give to your host from Yachad. Once you have all necessary information you will be introduced to the Yachad member(s) that you will be spending the Shabbaton with and then will be driven to your host’s home.
Where do I stay on the Shabbaton?
Everyone from Yachad is housed by the host community. Yachad, working with the community, provides the housing arrangements. Advisors stay in the house with the Yachad member(s) whom they are paired with, if not more people from the Shabbaton (peer group, or other advisors and Yachad members). The hosts provide the sleeping arrangements while all Shabbat meals are eaten communally at the shul in addition to the programs. On Rayim Shabbatons, sometimes one meal per Shabbaton is eaten in host homes for ultimate inclusion with adult peers. The rest of the programming is in the shul.
How do I get to the Shabbaton?
Yachad generally provides transportation from the following places- Brooklyn, Manhattan, Monsey, Long Island, Queens and Teaneck. Rides are only guaranteed if you sign up for them via the application form. *Please note not every Shabbaton will have transportation from each location.
Is there any staff there to help me?
There are Yachad support staff members known as coordinators who lead programming and activities on the Shabbaton, but are also there to assist you in your role and help in any way. There is also always a supervisor on site, either the program’s director or assistant director.
What do I do if there is an emergency?
In the event of an emergency, please stay calm and alert either the supervisor of the Shabbaton, or if they cannot be found, one of the coordinators. If an emergency occurs when you are at your host’s home, you will find the phone number of the Shabbaton’s supervisor on the folder given out to you and on the schedule of the Shabbaton. It is important to hold onto these papers. The Shabbaton supervisor can be contacted via phone throughout the entire Shabbaton.
How do I sign up? Is my spot guaranteed?
An email will be sent out and posted online 2 weeks prior to the Shabbaton with a link to sign up. While we would love to accommodate everyone, there are limited slots for advisors and we will be in touch with you regarding your acceptance in a timely fashion. Please understand that sometimes there is more than one Shabbaton per weekend so you may be accepted to a different Shabbaton than you initially apply for.
Want to hear more?
Email our Director of Advisor Engagement, Avi Feder (FederA@ou.org). Please refer your friends and classmates to be advisors as well!