Respite and Recharge for Shluchim Parents of Children with Special Needs

Shluchim to the Southeastern region of the US raising children with special needs gathered for three days of relaxation and education in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

The retreat, a project of Yaldei Shluchei HaRebbe, was the ninth of its kind and the fourth for the Southeastern region. These retreats offer Shluchim participants the opportunity to meet and network with other Shluchim with similar experiences, which are often unique to those raising children with different abilities far from family and community structure.

Hosted by Rabbi Moshe Meir Lipszyc, Shliach to Ft Lauderdale, the retreat welcomed seven first time families who joined many veteran participants to benefit from the constantly expanding support Yaldei offers Shluchim raising children with special needs.

Parents at the retreat were treated to a full resort weekend featuring high end catered meals by Shaike’s Kosher Catering, recreational activities, and two inspiring and informative sessions given by renowned speaker and author Dr. Barbara Lauer-Listhaus PsyD of New Jersey. A neuropsychologist who is also the mother of a son with differing abilities, Dr Lauer-Listhaus has a unique window into the complex problems that arise when raising children with different abilities and offered much practical advice and support. Following the sessions, Yaldei gifted participants with signed copies of Dr. Lauer-Listhaus’s book, Flavors for Everyone: A Guide to Raising Siblings in a Special Needs Family.

Shluchim expressed appreciation for the immediate practical results they saw from the advice and support of Dr. Lauer-Listhaus. “This retreat has done miracles for me! It gave me a chance to think and to envision what I want as my next step in life… I came home on a high and it’s been amazing to watch the small changes already affecting myself and my family.”

Shluchos were treated to a complimentary spa evening while Shluchim enjoyed a trip to a recreational shooting range to relieve stress. Participants took a break on a five star yacht, and the retreat ended with a serene dinner in the garden. As she left, a Shlucha thanked the organizers and hosts— “From the Spa to the cruise to the lectures and delicious meals, the ambiance, the atmosphere….you didn’t forget a thing!” A fellow Shliach also shared his thanks— “You really created a Mechaya Maisim retreat. Yaldei, you really get it!”

Always working to expand the support they offer to the Shluchim they serve, Yaldei is currently piloting a Jewish group residential housing project for adults with special needs. While in Florida Yaldei’s Director, Rabbi Sholly Weiser, and Rabbi Gershon Sabol, Board of Directors, used the opportunity to meet with a Florida based lawyer to discuss potential for state funding as well as other aspects of legal planning necessary to move the project forward there.

Yaldei thanks Rabbi Gershon Sabol for sharing his years of experience in this field in the form of his guidance and advice, Rabbi Efraim Merovitch for putting his heart and soul into planning and executing another perfect event, and Rabbi Dovid Leib Shur for arranging the necessary funds to make the planning a reality.

Many thanks to the generous sponsors of the retreat, and a special thanks to Rabbi Yitzchok and Nina Naparstek and Mrs.Gitty Levin who helped with the logistics in the Chabad house and went out of their way to accommodate our needs.

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