MONTREAL, QC, Feb. 28 2012-
On February 26, the Orthodox community of Montreal joined together at the Crown Plaza Hotel for the 5th Annual YALDEI Dinner. Over 1,300 people attended the event to help raise funds for The Donald Berman YALDEI Developmental Center which provides essential therapies and support services for children with special needs and their families.
The fundraiser, which was organized by 90 volunteers from the community, brought together members from all of the different Orthodox sectors. It is widely considered the biggest social event of the year for the city’s Orthodox Jewish community and it is also attracts politicians from different levels of government.
Menachem Leifer, Founder and Executive Director of Yaldei, greeted the attendees and thanked all of Yaldei’s many supporters; its therapists, educators and staff; and the attendees. He then introduced one of the highlights of the evening- Maor Neim, a young autistic boy who attended Yaldei from the age of three to seven. His parents are so grateful to Yaldei that they requested permission for him to give a speech at the Dinner. The remarkable eight year old spoke beautifully about his transformation from a boy who spent most of his time throwing tantrums to one who is currently attending regular school unassisted and is top of his class. “I received speech therapy, OT and I learned to communicate through pictures,” he said. “All these therapies gave me the tools and the knowledge to become who I am today.” He is a wonderful example of a child reaching his true potential, which is the cornerstone upon which Yaldei was built.
David Sebag, father of one of the children who attends Yaldei, gave a tearful personal testimony about the life-changing impact that Yaldei has had on his daughter Rikki, who has Down syndrome, and on his family.
Also in attendance was guest speaker Rabbi Benzion Twerski, the well-respected leader of Congregation Beth Yehudah in Milwaukee, Wisconsin who gave an inspirational speech.
The evening was moved along seamlessly by Sruli Stern who came all the way from London, England to serve as the Master of Ceremonies. Musical entertainment was provided by Morty Silber, Shloime Daskal, the Shearim Orchestra, and the Zimra Choir. Music was arranged special for the evening by famed Avremi G and production assisted by Aaron Teitelbaum.
Pictures provided by Levi Netzer
Shloime Daskal singing Abie Rotenberg’s Little Neshomole @ the Yaldei Dinner Montreal