Over 200 people came to an evening of awareness and inclusion for individuals with special needs at the Jewish Children’s Museum, this past Sunday. The event organized by the Friendship Circle of Brooklyn, featured speakers who implored the crowd to look at everyone in our community as equal, even if we perceive them as being “different”.
The event, title “Building Bridges,” was marked in time for the first Yahrtzeit of Zlatie Sharfstein, the daughter of Chana and Mottel Sharfstein.
Yankie Feder, a businessman in the Five Towns and who delivers a weekly class on the Parsha at Chabad of the Five Towns, spoke about his sister-in-law Zlatie and how she was always full of life. He shared a dvar torah on this week’s parsha.
At the center of the event Rabbi YY Jacobson, the dean of the TheYeshiva.net, a popular motivational speaker and the host of a new radio show on Motzei Shabbos, spoke. Rabbi Jacobson told the crowd that we need to look at the Rebbe’s last sicha in 1992 and learn about how to have Ahavas Yisroel. He recalled that the Rebbe said that the pasuk says to give a half a shekel, but also says the amount of a whole shekel is 20 gerah. The Rebbe explains that every person is only a half without another person and one becomes complete “20 gerah”, only when recognizing this fact.
Between all the stories and anecdotes, saying, when you meet a person, before you open your mouth, think to yourself, “What does G-d think of this individual?!”
Zlatie’s mother, Chana Sharfstein, spoke about her daughter and her yechidus with the Rebbe, and how it gave her hope and courage. She encouraged the community to be very kind to the siblings of children with special needs.
The event was organized by Berel and Chana Majesky, the dedicated directors of the Friendship Circle.
At the end of the event, the crowd was treated with a new volume Dignified Differences: A Special Soul. The 72 pages in color, reviews the Rebbe’s approach to people with special needs, the very first such compilation. The book includes the Rebbe’s never ending love for every individual and care that people with special needs should be included in Jewish life.
The book is being offered at a discount price for a short period of time on Amazon .