YU Students Host Meaningful Shabbat Program for YACHAD Members

Mar 31, 2006 — More then 300 students from both Yeshiva University undergraduate campuses spent Shabbat on the Beren campus with adults from the Rayim division of YACHAD, a group for developmentally disabled Jews.

The Shabbaton, from March 31 to April 1, was the second this academic year that will host members of YACHAD’s Rayim division. The first, held in the fall, often encourages our students to volunteer as advisors for YACHAD, which serves people from the age of 9 through 39.

“There is something about the YU atmosphere that is very energizing and welcoming to the YACHAD members,” explained Aliza Abrams, a graduate of Stern College and the assistant program director for Rayim YACHAD.

Ms. Abrams, who is now the Robert M. Beren Presidential Fellow at the Center for the Jewish Future, began volunteering with YACHAD in high school, and said many Yeshiva University students already know the YACHAD members from Shabbatonim when they were in high school, so the experience is familiar.

“The level of ruach at the Shabbaton is unbelievable,” Ms. Abrams said.

Rabbi Baruch Simon, Col. Jehiel R. Elyachar Visiting Professor of Talmud, is the special speaker at the Shabbaton. He is a favorite with the students and a regular at the YACHAD event.

For all of the Shabbat Enhancement programs, male students stay in a nearby hotel and female students stay in their dorms. The facilities accommodates 300 people, and Beth Hait, assistant dean of students, said attendance is expected to push the envelope.

As with all of the other Shabbat Enhancement programs, student organizers play a big part. SCW student Nicole Bodner, TAC president Hillary Lewin and YC student Aron Pollack, helped organize the event.

The YACHAD Shabbaton is one of four special Shabbatonim that receives funding from the Yeshiva University Women’s Organization (YUWO). The program is also sponsored by TAC, SOY, the Office of Student Affairs and The Shabbat Enhancement Committee.

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