“Yachad,” the flagship program of the Orthodox Union’s National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NCJD), provides unique social, educational and recreational programs for individuals with learning, developmental and physical disabilities with the goal of their Inclusion in the total life of the Jewish community. In addition to Camp Keshet, Yachad runs inclusive summer programs for individuals of all ages across the United States and in Israel.
“First and foremost we want the kids to have fun,” said Dr. Joe Goldfarb, Director of Yachad Summer Programs. “We want parents to be able to send ALL their children with and without disabilities to the same local day camp, and we feel the goal is for the children to learn social skills with the ultimate goal of Inclusion. This is the first year that we have started a Yachad program in the Middlesex region and we are very excited about it.”
“At Camp Keshet,” Dr. Goldfarb said, “children will enjoy a fantastic summer filled with great friends, encouraging and supportive staff, and exciting challenges, all within camp days filled with lessons on Jewish values, Hebrew words and love of Israel.”
The program, which runs from first through eighth grade, will have Yachad campers accompanied by trained staff shadows learning social skills and joining mainstream campers in daily activities. These include twice-daily swim, sports, electives, chinuch (learning), education about Israel, trips, and much more. Hot lunches will be provided. Busing options will be available in surrounding areas.
“We always individualize the program to allow for as much Inclusion as possible,” explained Dr. Goldfarb.
Says Melissa Rosen, Director of Camp Keshet, “We are excited by this new partnership with Yachad. Given the Young Israel of East Brunswick’s already strong partnership with Yachad, to include our summer camp was a natural fit. The opportunity to meet the needs of special campers, to provide them with a challenging and exciting Jewish summer experience, benefits our entire Camp Keshet community. We are proud to welcome Yachad into that community and look forward to a summer filled with smiles!”
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