OHEL Breaks New Ground in Confronting Stigma
A capacity crowd of 1,100 OHEL friends, supporters and family members packed the grand ballroom of New Yorkâ€™s Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square on Sunday, November 20thÂ to mark OHELâ€™s 47thÂ Annual Gala themed â€śIf OHELâ€™S Walls Could Talk.â€ť
OHELâ€™s new feature film, A Life Worth Living, addressed a vital issue that until recently has been cloaked in stigma - suicide in the community. This moving film of the Roth familyâ€™s personal struggle to help their son Jonathan and their courage in speaking publicly in order to help others drew a standing ovation. Mayor Bill deBlasio who attended and viewed the film along with the guests, commended Dr. and Mrs. Roth and OHEL for confronting this important community issue.Â
OHEL also celebrated the steady progress on its new 100,000 sq. ft. Jaffa Family Campus opening in 2017. This new building in the heart of Flatbush Brooklyn will enable OHEL to meet the ever increasing diversity of needs in the community.Â
OHELâ€™s Co-Presidents Moishe Hellman and Mel Zachter thanked the Jaffa Family Campus Builders, one of the eveningâ€™s honorees, including: the Jaffa Family, Rubin Development and Construction Inc., Charles Schwartzapfel, Registered Architect and Chani and Mendy Schreiber of AirMark. Â Representing the Jaffa Family Foundation, Jack Jaffa spoke movingly about his passion in â€śinvesting not just in a building but in the community.â€ť
Harvey Kaylie, an esteemed friend and OHEL benefactor, felt investing in community is so important that he established the Harvey Kaylie $1Million Match! Â Mr. Kaylie will match all contributions up to $1Million toward the Jaffa Family Campus.Â
The Gala provided a wonderful opportunity to remember with great love OHEL Vice President and long-time Board Member, Rabbi Harry and Dr. Elizabeth Rieder. In their memory, their daughters Annette Rubin and Julie Pinczower dedicated the Rieder Mental Health Services Center. The Rieders were visionary advocates for members of our community with psychiatric and mental health challenges who believed that every voice deserves to be heard. The Rieder Mental Health Center will have a prominent place in OHELâ€™s new Jaffa Family Campus.
Mr. and Mrs. Bert and Renee Gross and Mrs. Rose Pollak received the Parents Lifetime Advocacy Award for their four decades of tireless efforts on behalf of individuals with psychiatric disabilities. Together with OHEL, they helped develop OHELâ€™s first residential facility for adults with psychiatric disabilities creating a unique home of warmth and care for people with disabilities. Â They broke barriers of stigma, forging a more inclusive community where people of all abilities can thrive.
OHEL extends profound thanks to all who attended the Gala and contributed to the eveningâ€™s success, and to those individuals who continue to provide support as OHEL moves forward to the New Jaffa Family Campus. While OHEL serves the community, it is the community that supports OHEL, and in working together, the community is strengthened.
Video presentations shown at the Gala, as well as videos of the event can be viewed at http://www.ohelfamily.org/galavideos. To support OHELâ€™s important work transforming the lives of children and families, please visit www.ohelfamily.org/donate or callÂ 718-972-9338.