For the families of Menucha, Shabbos Parshas Vayishlach began with warm smiles and anticipation. By the time Motzei Shabbos arrived, the connection, inspiration, and laughter broke all barriers, and as the entire Menucha family danced, hand in hand, they truly felt like one big Family. Menucha, a Baltimore-based organization that services children and adults with disabilities, not only provides consistent activities for their participants, but they also strive to encourage, support, and inspire their participants’ parents and families. The annual Menucha Shabbaton can perhaps best illustrate the organization’s mission and the incredible devotion of the Menucha families. Organized by Mrs. Rochel Neuberger and Miss Bella Herman, under the direction of Rabbi Yaakov Wealcatch and Mrs. Ellen Edinger, the Shabbaton featured inspirational speeches from guest speaker Rabbi Paysach Krohn, uplifting and delicious seudos, and activities to keep the Menucha participants happily occupied.
The packed Shabbos program was followed by a community-wide Melava Malka filled with dance and song. “The Menucha Shabbaton was like a dream. When we arrived, the event organizers welcomed us with smiles, directed us to our room, and pampered us with gifts that would make our stay more comfortable, including an adorable little teddy bear for our daughter, which she loved…. At each of the seudos, we enjoyed good company, tasty food, melodious zemiros, and encouraging divrei Torah. Rabbi Krohn, of course, was excellent and inspiring. I cannot imagine a better planned, more tasteful, and more enjoyable event than the Menucha Shabbaton,” a parent enthuses, touching upon all the details that made the Shabbaton a resounding success. Another parent puts into words the tangible feeling of warmth and connection that developed over the Shabbaton. “This Shabbos spent together with other parents of special needs children was energizing. We could feel each other’s pain and challenges. The caring devotion from all the numerous volunteers gave parents some respite and an opportunity to relax and enjoy Shabbos.”
A special thank you to Miss Sorah Taragin and the volunteers who devoted their Shabbos to Menucha’s children, and whose enthusiasm and dedication is unmatched. Menucha is grateful to the Charles Crane Family Foundation for its regular sponsorship of this program. The Shabbaton is a lot more than just one Shabbos. A Shabbos spent together sharing experiences and building connections spills over into the days, weeks, months and years ahead, giving the Menucha families support and inspiration as they go through daily life. A parent, uplifted by the Shabbaton, says, “The Shabbaton showed us what a large beautiful “special” Menucha family there is in Baltimore. We had no idea just how big that family was. What an amazing opportunity to meet and network with other parents who are part of your wonderful family! Wow! May Hashem continue to shower Menucha with success in every area.” This incredible Shabbos, described by a volunteer as “a unique and uplifting experience” brought a sense of closeness, unity, and warmth. After all, Menucha is truly one big family.