When mobility is a mitzvah

Wheelchair-accessible van donation to Orthodox Union’s New Jersey Yachad increases program options, accessibility for adults.

Yachad/JUF NJ participant Jacob Adler after exiting donated van following Yachad trip
Yachad/JUF NJ participant Jacob Adler after exiting donated van following Yachad trip

The Orthodox Union’s Yachad New Jersey, along with Yachad’s Jewish Union Foundation’s (JUF) day habilitation program, help meet the needs of adults with developmental disabilities. Through creative programming, trips, outings and volunteerism in the greater Jewish community, participants are engaged, inspired, and ultimately grow in their independence and confidence.

But many who would benefit from the program and also use wheelchairs have been unable to take advantage of the program due to transportation limitations. That is, until Lakewood-based M&M Chesed Mobility donated a wheelchair-accessible van. The organization’s mission is to provide the vehicles to benefit children with special needs, older adults, and those with illnesses who may not otherwise have readily available access to transportation.

“Yachad New Jersey is so grateful to have partnered with M&M Chesed Mobility,” said Raquel Selevan, director of Yachad New Jersey and executive director of JUF in New Jersey, a Yachad department. “The van allows us to successfully integrate all of our participants into the community while it also minimizes the stress on our families, who can count on the transportation we offer.”

Since the donation of the van to Yachad, several more participants have been able to reliably travel between their homes and the Mendel Balk Yachad Center in Teaneck, where they join daily and evening activities and programming. The van donation also has made it possible for them to travel on outings and trips to volunteer or take part in special programming at local day schools.

“We are so excited to partner with Yachad to help people with disabilities gain life skills and reach their individual dreams,” said Rabbi Daniel Goodman, president of M&M Chesed Mobility. “Accessible transportation enables these young people to participate in activities that we often take for granted.”

For more information about Yachad and its activities, visit: www.yachad.org


Raquel Selevan

Director, Yachad New Jersey and Executive Director, JUF NJ


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Founded in 1898, the Orthodox Union (OU), or Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, 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, Israel Free Spirit Birthright, Yachad and OU Press, among many other divisions and programs.
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. https://www.yachad.org/
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