The New Jersey Yachad Gala Melava Malka reception was held on November 18 at Congregation Keter Torah in Teaneck.

Nearly 500 people attended the reception, which honored three Yachad families from New Jersey and benefitted the New Jersey chapter of Yachad, the National Jewish Council for Disabilities. The global organization addresses the needs of all Jews with disabilities and ensures their inclusion in every aspect of Jewish life.

Local honorees included guests of honor Ari and Deena Katz of Bergenfield, Young Leadership awardees Scott and Shira Sheps of Fair Lawn, and Shlomo, Debbie, and Avi Tsadok of Englewood, who received the Yachad Family award.

Ari Katz is the owner and director of Camp Mesorah, and his wife, Deena, is the camp’s administrator. Camp Mesorah partners with Yachad to offer camper integration and vocational programs. The integration program mainstreams campers with disabilities, so campers from Yachad participate in the full sleepaway experience. The camp’s vocational program allows young adults to work in culinary, sports, the day camp, and the camp office. The entire Katz family is involved with the Yachad chapter.

Shira Sheps began her work at Yachad as an intern working for the NJ Yachad director, Chani Herrmann. Shira photographs various events for Yachad; she, her husband, and their children are immersed in Yachad activities.

Avi Tsadok has been involved with Yachad since he was 8, and his parents, Shlomo and Debbie Tsadok, have become role models for Yachad in the Englewood community.  From their son’s time at the Mendel Balk Center, to family shabbatons and Camp Mesorah, Avi is an active and lively member of Yachad. He attends Yachad’s vocational training program, and also works at the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey and Camp Mesorah.

“The gala was a tremendous opportunity to honor these three special families,” Ms. Herrmann said. Every year the gala keeps getting better and better and turnout increases, which speaks volumes about how the community has embraced Yachad.” Yachad is funded by the Orthodox Union, led by its president, Moishe Bane.

To support the gala and NJ Yachad, go to www.ou.org/giving/new-jersey-yachad-gala-melave-malka-reception-2017.