Ruderman Family Foundation

A Partner with Yachad


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Since receiving a grant from the Ruderman Family Foundation beginning in November 2013, New England Yachad has solidified its presence as a thriving Jewish community organization for individuals of all abilities and denominations. We regularly host community based programming in 5 regions:  The North Shore, MetroWest/MetroNorth, The South Area, Greater Boston and our newest chapter in Providence, RI.  Across these geographic communities we have identified and reached out to many individuals with disabilities and their families, new to Yachad.  Each area is unique and we are working with community partners, stakeholders and parents to ensure quality programming to fill some of the voids in these communities.  In 2013-2014 Yachad hosted and partnered in nearly 50 community programs and activities, plus facilitated ongoing activities such as:  Yachad Buddies at the JCC North Shore (Marblehead); Yachad clubs and activities monthly at the Binah School, The Maimonides School, and Gann Academy; large and small community events; partnering with synagogues of all denominations and assisting the Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Program in supporting synagogues.

Community partners include: Brandeis University, Young Israel of Brookline and Young Israel of Sharon, Camp Ramah of New England, Gateways: Access to Jewish Education, Temple Shalom of Newton, Shaarei Tefilah, Temple Reyim, Chabad of Natick and Chabad of Sharon, Kehillath Israel, JCC of North Shore, North Shore Teens Initiative (NSTI), Temple Israel of Natick, Rofeh, NCSY, Maimonides Kehillah, Jewish Big Brother Big Sister, Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Greater Boston, among others.  We also partner with the Special Needs Professional Committee made up of agency representatives on Yom Sport, a model Passover Seder, Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month (JDAM) and North American Inclusion Month (NAIM) activities and Reelabilities.

Our programs include social and recreational activities such as bowling, mini golf, trampoline parks, painting pottery, baking hamentashen, apple picking, BBQs, movie nights and house parties with game nights.  This past Summer we supported the North Shore’s inclusion camp at the JCC, held an end of Summer celebration with Knucklebones, and took a cruise in Salem harbor.  Our holiday celebrations include celebrating in the sukkah, Chanukah parties, Purim celebrations, Tu B’shevat Seders, model seders and chocolate seders for Passover, visits to the model matzah factory, Yom Yerushalayim and Shavuot festivities.  Each region has different activities but there is something happening nearly every week in New England!

For 2014-2015, New England is continuing its vibrant programming and expanding to offer community services as well launching community programs in Providence, RI and MetroNorth of Boston.  We opened a centrally located office at Kehillath Israel in Brookline, which is now housing our social worker intern program, a drop-in Club House on Mondays and a mid-week teen, a skills group for enhancing interpersonal skills and a young adult inclusive Yachad Connections social group on Wednesday evenings.  With Café Eilat as our neighbor, there will also be monthly “Parsha & Pizza” nights, as well as “Licks & Learning” at J.P. Licks.  In the area of family support services we have begun a parent support group in MetroWest, a Mommy & Me group in the North Shore and case management & family support in Greater Boston.


Sharon head shot credit Steve Lipofsky

Photo by Steve Lipofsky

“I have been impressed with Yachad’s national model. Yachad’s work embodies the core belief of our foundation that ‘Including each is strengthening all.’ Liz Offen is an inclusion specialist. Many people in the community feel comfortable with her because she understands the needs of individuals of all ages with disabilities. Yachad works with children, teens and adults with and without disabilities, understanding the importance of inclusion to help create a fair and flourishing Jewish community.”
Sharon Shapiro