Robert Grad and Naomi Gofine to Participate in Yachad’s Inaugural Jewish Communal Leadership Fellowship
Two recent Yeshiva University graduates, Robert Grad ’14YC and Naomi Gofine ’14S, have been selected to serve as one of three fellows in Yachad’s inaugural Jewish Communal Leadership Fellowship program.
Yachad, the flagship program of the Orthodox Union’s National Jewish Council for Disabilities, provides social, educational and recreational programs for individuals with learning, developmental and physical disabilities with the goal of their inclusion in the Jewish community. The Fellows will function as full members of Yachad’s staff, working out of its national headquarters in Lower Manhattan with mentors who will provide integrated training and experiential opportunities to help the Fellows acquire proficiency in disability culture and Jewish organizational leadership.
Grad, an aspiring physician from Livingston, New Jersey, expressed his gratitude for being chosen for the fellowship.
“I believe that pioneering the Yachad Fellowship will provide a tremendous opportunity enabling me to develop the ability to advocate for those in need and to develop as a leader in the Jewish nation,” said Grad, who majored in biology at Yeshiva College. “Working at Yachad will prepare me for my future career in medicine and enable me to always look out for those in need. The fellowship will give me the opportunity to continue developing as a leader for social change and will allow me to continue living my dream of improving the lives of those with various challenges.”
Gofine, a native of Toronto, Ontario, recounted how her experience serving as captain of Stern College for Women’s basketball team gave her the necessary leadership skills for fostering Yachad’s mission.
“Inclusion extended beyond simply being on the basketball team; it meant cultivating a feeling of belonging, and ensuring that each member of the team felt like her contribution mattered,” said Gofine, who majored in political science and plans to attend law school. “As a Yachad Fellow, I will incorporate these lessons to work as part of a team to create an atmosphere of inclusion, in which individuals feel the importance and value of their presence and contribution.”
“Yachad has been at the forefront of educating and facilitating today’s youth to become tomorrow’s leaders, ensuring that all individuals are included in the Jewish community,” said Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, international director of Yachad. “We hope that the Yachad Fellows will quickly become an integral part of the Yachad team.”