Yachad — an international organization run through the Orthodox Union that’s dedicated to enriching the lives of Jewish individuals with disabilities and their families — is very pleased that Laura Butler has joined the team as the new regional director for New England.
Laura’s personal connection to Yachad spans over fifteen years, demonstrating her deep-rooted involvement and commitment to the organization. As she embarks on her new journey with Yachad New England, she brings a wealth of experience from her previous role as program director at Camp Morasha Yachad from 2008-2019. During her tenure, Laura had the opportunity to work closely with a diverse group of participants, families, community members and schools.
Laura married Menachem Butler earlier this year, and the couple, originally from New York, will be moving to Sharon, Massachusetts. Menachem is the program fellow for Jewish legal studies at the Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law at Harvard Law School. Laura is eager to apply her insights in the New England region, where she aims to strengthen existing relationships and forge new connections.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this amazing organization and cannot wait to get to know everyone. I know there is so much good coming out of Yachad New England and I’m excited to be part of the team,” she said.
Most recently, Laura served as the director of academics at Yeshiva University High School for Girls in New York. She is passionate about helping students identify their strengths and areas for growth, collaborating with them to develop tailored accommodations that enable success. In an effort to combine her passion for working with high school students and Yachad participants, Laura pioneered a service mission at her previous school in collaboration with New York Yachad. This initiative fostered a meaningful partnership between her students and local Yachad members, creating lasting bonds and enriching experiences for all involved. This is just one example of the creativity Laura is bringing to her new role. Laura is excited to meet with local families and community leaders, as well as those interested in supporting and volunteering with Yachad. A series of meet and greets will be announced in the fall.
Julie Galler said that her son, Laura’s former Camp Morasha Yachad camper Elan Galler, loved having Laura as a counselor. “Yachad New England is lucky to have Laura on the team,” Julie said. “Laura is amazing with parents and campers alike – always responsive to questions and concerns, deeply knowledgeable and experienced, and creative in her thinking. Laura understands the challenges that families have with raising children who are different, and how to make everyone feel taken care of and seen.”
Chuck Rosenblum, member of the Yachad New England Commission and dad of Liza Rosenblum – who attended Camp Morasha Yachad for several summers while Laura was camp director – said, “Every major change in the lives of our special family members brings uncertainty and concerns. When I found out Liz Offen was no longer going to be the Yachad New England director, it gave me a feeling of instability for my family and for Liza’s Jewish world. Liz Offen’s leadership has given my daughter many new opportunities, and incredible support to my family during some really hard times. When I heard that Laura Butler was coming to be the new Regional Director of Yachad New England, I was relieved and very excited. Liza’s camp experiences under Laura’s leadership have positively changed both our lives in so many ways. Laura is an amazing person, very warm and kind. She understands who our community is. Liza and I are both very happy she is coming to join our Yachad family and be with us.”
It was announced previously that Liz Offen was promoted last summer to National Director of Strategic Partnerships for Yachad globally. Liz continued this year as the Executive Director until Laura Butler was in place. Liz has served for the past 11 years as head of the New England region, building the chapter into a primary provider of programming and services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and autism. She brings more than 35 years of experience in nonprofit and government management to her new role.
Liz said, “Programs in our region have grown tremendously over the past few years, and we are supporting more individuals than ever before. This dynamic growth requires a bold response – expanding our leadership and bringing new talent to the region. I am thrilled that after a national search, Laura is joining me as a strong partner with extensive experience and a robust vision to enhance the work we’re doing for individuals with disabilities throughout greater Boston.”
As National Director of Strategic Partnerships for Yachad, Liz will focus on building new partnerships with foundations and federations, maximizing and expanding financial opportunities for Yachad across all its programs internationally while also seeking to develop new and creative projects that support children, teens and adults with disabilities. Liz will remain closely connected to the New England region as its director of development and fundraising, building on her decades-long success. Liz and Laura’s partnership will strengthen the organization, allowing Yachad to continue its high-quality programs, meeting the needs of families while also pursuing new opportunities.
International Director of Yachad Avromie Adler said, “We’re excited for Laura to begin her tenure as the new regional director and to continue to build upon the strong foundation that Liz has set over the past decade. We are confident that together, Laura and Liz will make a dream team that will bring Yachad New England and the entire organization to new heights.”
Associate Director, Yachad
About Orthodox Union
Founded in 1898, the Orthodox Union (OU) serves as the voice of American Orthodox Jewry, with over 400 congregations in its synagogue network. As the umbrella organization for American Orthodox Jewry, the OU is at the forefront of advocacy work on both state and federal levels, outreach to Jewish teens and young professionals through NCSY and Birthright Israel/Israel Free Spirit trip organizer, and Yachad, the National Jewish Council for Disabilities, among many other divisions and programs. For more information, visit www.ou.org.
Yachad is an international organization dedicated to enriching the lives of Jewish individuals with disabilities and their families, by enhancing their communal participation and their connection to Judaism through social and educational programs and support services. For more information, visit www.yachad.org.