Record Number of Friends and Supporters Attend OHEL Childrenâ€™s Home and Family Services 44th Annual Gala
The attendance of over 1,200 guests and high ranking elected officials stood as bold testimony to community-wide support for OHEL as a preeminent provider of critical social services that meet the ever increasing needs of individuals and families.
Co-Presidents of OHEL Childrenâ€™s Home and Family Services, Moishe Hellman & Mel Zachter, warmly welcomed over 1,225 guests to OHELâ€™s 44th Annual Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis on Sunday, November 24th.
Guests included the Gala honorees, prominent members of the business community, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, New York City Mayor Elect Bill de Blasio, New York State Senator Charles E. Schumer, among other elected officials, as well as OHEL Board members, friends, clients, families and volunteers.
The enthusiastic crowd, moving speeches and video presentations demonstrated tremendous commitment to the Galaâ€™s theme: OHEL Sees the Star in Everyone. For more than 44 years, OHEL has provided critical programs and services inspired by the principle that every individual counts and deserves to be a cherished member of the community. OHELâ€™s Foster Care Program, Domestic Abuse Shelters, residential facilities, Camp Kaylie, programs for the siblings of children with developmental disabilities, and employment services are just a few of the ways in which OHEL has ensured that individuals of all abilities count and have the opportunity to shine like stars.
Throughout the evening, inspiring videos showcased OHEL as well as the eveningâ€™s honorees. â€śSiblings: Unspoken Challenges, Unrelenting Loveâ€ť is a ground breaking video where typical individuals with atypical siblings candidly shared their trials and triumphs of complex sibling relationships and the bond that OHEL works to create in its Sibshops siblings program.
NY State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver introduced Governor Cuomo. In his keynote address, Governor Cuomo spoke of New York Stateâ€™s commitment to people with disabilities, and the important role of the new Justice Center. Messages of support of OHELâ€™s work were also conveyed by New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and Senator Charles Schumer.
The Guests of Honor, Chani and Jay Kestenbaum, friends of OHEL for over 20 years, have provided unrelenting support which has enabled OHEL to help countless individuals shine. Their latest contribution to OHEL will help continue to enable seven men with disabilities to live happy, successful lives, in the newly named Kestenbaum Family Residence, on Cumberland Road, in Lawrence. Last yearâ€™s gala honoree, Hinda Mizrahi, gave a very moving address of her three brothers who live in this home.
Domenick A. Cama, Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of Investors Bank, the corporate honoree, spoke about how inspired he had been after visiting OHEL residences and how the principal pillars of the bank - Character, Commitment, Community, and Cooperation are values mutually embraced by OHEL.
Also honored at the gala were the OHEL Golf Committee Chairs, for ten outstanding years of hard work and sold out golf events. The golf committee chairs are Ben Englander, Izzy Kaufman, Michelle Sulzberger, Jonathan Marks, and Jeffrey Schwartz, all from the Five Towns, in Nassau County.
Also celebrated at this yearâ€™s gala were two All Stars of Camp Kaylie, OHELâ€™s premiere summer camp- Nina Bernheim, daughter of Malkie and Josh Bernheim of Bergenfield, and Malkie Rubin, daughter of Tzivia and Yossie Rubin of Teaneck. Malkie Berheim, Ninaâ€™s mother, gave a stirring thank you to OHEL, specifically for the amazing efforts they have put into Camp Kaylie, which has given her daughter Nina a place to call home for the summer.
Individual by individual, the numbers truly add up for OHEL. We have placed 2,500 children whose parents could not care for them in loving foster homes; provided services to 1,150 Holocaust Survivors to enable them to age safely with dignity, comfort, and support; counsel 1,000 children, teens, and adults every month to help them manage lifeâ€™s challenges; provide expert care 24/7 to 450 individuals with developmental and psychiatric disabilities in OHEL Bais Ezra residences; and have provided programs, services, and resources to countless individuals and families to help them succeed.
OHEL extends profound thanks to everyone who attended the Gala, made a gift in support of OHELâ€™s important work, and contributed to the eveningâ€™s success. The Gala at the Marriott Marquis in New York City took place on one of the chilliest November days on record, but thanks to you, the evening could not have been warmer for the starsâ€”every person in the roomâ€”or more luminous. On behalf of every OHEL client who can proudly say â€śI feel like a star,â€ť we express our profound thanks and gratitude.
Video presentations shown at the Gala, as well as videos of the event can be viewed at www.ohelfamily.org/gala. To support OHELâ€™s important work transforming the lives of children and families, please visit www.ohelfamily.org or call 718-972 9338. Every giftâ€”of any sizeâ€”counts and makes a difference.