Shabosos L’menucha, once again held a highly successful Shabaton at Wickham, in the Fareham beautiful countryside, two hours drive from London. 175 people, including 65 children with special needs, spent an exciting musical Shabbat with famous singer and badchan Michoel Shnitzler of New York.
Leading up to the weekend, a kumzitz was organised on Thursday night for special guests only, Hosted by Mr Kuki Wiesenfeld, Moishy Weiss, Sruly Margulies, Elimelech Feldman, Ephraim Shlomo Goldstein and Shmaya Herbst ,and Yanky Rothchild and– whose company Symphony Productions also arranged the entire affair – the kumzitz took place at Reich’s catering hall on Golders Green Road till late night and attracted 80 people. Michoel Shnitzler sang his most heart warming songs and he was accompanied by the popular Neginah choir.
The Shabbaton provides respite for the parents and fun for 65 boys of all ages with special needs. The children and their volunteers together with the organisers and other assistants left on Friday morning with coaches travelling from Stamford Hill Edgware and Golders Green. The coaches were are outfitted with many conveniences to make travelling with special needs children easier. Some children were transported by special ambulance.
Each child gets his own personal volunteer to care for him while some more difficult children get two or even three carers. Each carer receives training and is fully CRB checked. Before Shabbat each volunteer speaks to the parents to ensure that he is fully informed of his protégé’s needs and medications . Arriving on Friday afternoon, each carer settled his child in the room which they shared together and then went to join kabbalat Shabbat which was led by talented singer Chaim Shaye Weill, a member of Negina Choir. The Friday night seuda was led by Michoel Shnitzler with his beautiful zemiros where everyone joined in and every child received his personal attention when he was called up to the stage to either share a dvar torah or sing a song, each according to his ability.
Later on, the volunteers joined michoel Shnitzler in their own beautiful kumzitz which went on until the early hours of Shabbat morning. Volunteers say that they never had such a kumzits in their life. The davening was Carlebach style and this was followed by a big Kiddush and entertainment for the kids. After seuda and seuda shishlit which was once again very enjoyable with Michoel Schnitzler ,came the highlight of the weekend for the kids – havdalah and melave malka with kumzitz style singing, stunning music played by Shaye Austerlitz and spirited dancing untill late motzei shabbos .
After such a fun-packed Shabbat and inspiring singing and dancing, it was hard to get the children back onto the buses.
Hatzolo volunteer Motty Friesel was present throughout the Shabbat and other professionals who volunteered their services were Yitchok Freilich who captured the videos and Chili Green and Menachem Bokshin the photographers.
A special thank you to the chef of the weekend, Avromy Getter a who outdid himself with his soul cooking. Another special thank you goes to the three main organisers Reb Nachman Grunbaum, Mordechai Shlomo Schmerler and Yanky Erlanger reports Menachem Liberman who is the founder and Director of Shabosos Lmenucha, “and also to thank Elimelech Feldman and Efrayim Shlomo Goldstien who arranged Michoel Shnitzler to come to London”. He also mentions Yisroel Greenstien Yanky Frankel and Mordcha Grosskopf and thanked them for all their help.
Besides the twice or thrice yearly respite weekends, Shabosos L’menucha also organises exciting events on Purim, Chanukah and Chol HaMoed Pesach and Succos and also takes out some children every Shabbat afternoon.