Press Releases

GOA Brings Innovative Family Inclusion Trip to Israel to the Community


WEST ORANGE, NJ - Golda Och Academy is pleased to partner with MetroWest ABLE and the Legow Family Israel Program Center to offer a Family Inclusion Trip to Israel that is open to the community. The 10-day trip, which is planned for December 22, 2014 – January 2, 2015, will make an Israel trip accessible to all family members.

Michelle Resnick, a learning specialist at Golda Och Academy’s Upper School, has been dreaming of this trip for years. Resnick has two children, Sarah and David. For her daughter Sarah, participating in community Israel programming was simple—she had her choice of Israel trips and she integrated easily. But for her son David who is on the autism spectrum, it was nearly impossible for Resnick to find a guided trip to Israel that would accommodate his needs.

“It was so painful for me to not be able to share my love of Israel with both of my children. Now my son can become a bar mitzvah at the Western Wall,” Resnick said.

Sign Up for E-News

For Resnick, the Family Inclusion Trip to Israel has been years in the making and is a dream come true, thanks to GOA’s partnership with two important community agencies.  In collaboration with the Legow Family Israel Program Center of MetroWest and MetroWest ABLE, GOA has used its nationally recognized expertise in Israel education to bring forward this 10-day trip. The aim is to strengthen the community’s ties to Israel, while bridging the gap between Israel and a segment of the community that was previously marginalized.

While including all the highlights one would expect on a mission to Israel—Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, archeological digs, dinner on a kibbutz, Masada, the Dead Sea, and more—the itinerary takes into consideration the elements of typical trips that place barriers to special populations. The agencies considered the logistics and worked together to create an itinerary that would hit the important places, while accommodating special-needs family members. There will be ample opportunities for downtime and rest, alternative activities offered, and longer stays in fewer hotels.

Highpoints of the trip will be a B’nai Mitzvah ceremony at the Davidson Center near the Western Wall and a festive New Year’s Eve celebration with the Cooking Women of Okafim, members of our sister community in Israel. According to Rebecca Wanatick, Community Coordinator at MetroWest ABLE, inclusion is about providing opportunities for everyone to meaningfully participate.

“Individuals with special needs in Greater MetroWest have the opportunity to participate in synagogue life, early childhood programs, religious schools, camps and now will have the opportunity to participate in an Israel experience that is geared toward the unique needs of their families.  In a time when there is so much conversation about how Jews connect to their Judaism and the Jewish community, it is wonderful to know that here in Greater MetroWest, we are placing an emphasis on all members of the community, providing avenues through which they can access their Jewish heritage,” Wanatick said.

Amir Shacham, the Federation’s Executive Shaliach and Associate Executive Vice President for Israel & Overseas, agrees—according to Shacham, the mission of the Israel Center of Greater MetroWest is to bring Israel to the community and the community to Israel.

To help families offset the cost of the trip; participants with special needs who are between the ages of 14-21 may apply for the Passport to Israel grant, offered by Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ. This grant provides $750 towards the cost of an eligible Israel experience trip, and up to $250 in matching funds if the participant’s synagogue agrees to contribute as well.

 “We strongly believe that a meaningful Israel experience should be available and accessible to every member of our community. We are very proud to partner with GOA on this important project.” Shacham said.

To obtain a grant application, or to sign up to attend one of our information sessions scheduled for Sunday, March 30th or Monday, April 7th, or to obtain a grant application, please contact Justine Reuben at (973) 929-3054 or email her at:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Livingston Lacrosse Senior Jason Scher Named Athlete of the Week

April 20, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston High School senior Jason Scher has been named as TAPinto Livingston’s Athlete of the Week after scoring 14 goals and contributing 15 assists in his last five games—bringing him to a total of 35 points so far this season.

With Scher leading the pack, the Lancers are 5-2 after winning their last five consecutive games. Scher scored three ...

One Free Class at Cycle Bar Livingston

April 23, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Get a free ride at Cycle Bar Livingston. Livingston’s premium indoor cycling facility invites the public to sign up for their first ride free.

Click HERE to see the full class schedule.

During this week only, Cycle Bar is also participating in the Livingston Fitness Crawl, offering five days of free classes through Friday.  

Cycle Bar ...

Livingston Fitness Crawl: Five Days of Free Classes at 12 Livingston Businesses

LIVINGSTON, NJ — The public is invited to enjoy one free class at as many of Livingston’s fitness businesses as they would like during this week’s Livingston Fitness Crawl, a Livingston Business Improvement District event, beginning on April 23 and continuing through April 27.

For five days, no purchase is necessary at the following locations:

BARRE3 ...

Full Pet Grooming Service 25% OFF

LITTLE FALLS, NJ - Cloud Canine Grooming Salon & Spa in Little Falls is open for business and owner and pet stylist Melissa DiRoma is offering 25% off a FULL GROOMING SERVICE for all new customers. Call (973) 837-8884 or visit to schedule your appointment. Mention promo code TAP DOG for discount. 

About Cloud ...

Free Wellness Event at The Joint Chiropractic

WEST CALDWELL, NJ — The public is invited to a "Wellness Event to Remember" at The Joint Chiropractic in West Caldwell on Thursday, April 19 from 7 p.m. to  9 p.m.

Guests will include:

Michael Piercy, owner of The Lab
Justyna Debski, owner of Revive Mind Body
Karen Caplan, owner of Nutrition Transitions

Join the ...

Luxury Facial Services 50% OFF

MILLBURN, NJ - DeAmour Salon & Spa is proud to announce its newest team member, Renee Rudikh, formerly of the famous Georgette Klinger Spa at the Short Hills Mall.

Rudikh has extensive experience and specializes in a plethora of facial styles including: deep pore cleansing/European, microdermabrasion with collagen, teenage, men's, back, LED and customized European ...

YMCA $0 Enrollment in April

LIVINGSTON, NJ - For the month of April, the West Essex YMCA is offer $0 enrollment. 

Take advantage of all that your local Y has to offer for the whole family!

Personal Training
Group Classes
Low monthly membership
And much much more!...

Check out all that the Y has to offer HERE

About the West Essex YMCA:
The West Essex YMCA has ...

Upcoming Events


Wed, April 25, 10:00 AM

Estelle Finkel Center for Learning, Livingston

Upcoming 2018 Spring SAT and ACT Courses


Wed, April 25, 7:00 PM

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, South Orange

Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity



Thu, April 26, 7:00 PM

Livingston High School Fitness & Wellness Center/Auxiliary Gym, Livingston

Livingston Public Schools Presents: Livingston ...


Essex County Executive Announces Improvements to County Parks System

April 22, 2018

ORANGE, NJ - Using the tennis courts in Essex County Irvington Park as the backdrop, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced last week that the tennis courts in Irvington Park and Weequahic Park, and the basketball courts in Ivy Hill Park and Monte Irvin Orange Park will receive facelifts with new asphalt playing surfaces, equipment and fencing. The project is part of ...

Abilities Expo 2018 Offers Resources for People With Special Needs

April 22, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston’s Abilities Expo 2018 will be held on Sunday, April 29, from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Livingston High School. This family-friendly event showcases a variety of resources, products, services and technologies for people with special needs – all under one roof. The Expo is co-sponsored by Livingston Public Schools and the Livingston Advisory ...

Letter to the Editor: Don't Complain. Vote!

April 12, 2018

Don’t Complain; Vote!

It’s no secret that people have strong feelings about what’s happening in our country. It’s also true that much of politics is local. In November, 11th District residents will have the opportunity to choose a new congressional representative who will not only serve as a critical check on the federal level, but also determine how our distract fares ...

Cluelessly Clueless

I teenaged my way through high school under the assumption that my parents had no idea what I was doing.  I like to think I was pretty good at withholding information and presenting situations in ways that were other than they really were.


Still, sometimes they found things out.  Like the time my friends plopped me on our front door step at one o'clock in the morning ...