December 2020

?What's in the newsletter

Director - Avraham Kopp

Dear Friends,

I want to share a story that took place recently at our After School Center for Teenage Special Needs boys. As most of you probably know, our Special Needs centers are open every afternoon, including Fridays until just before Shabbos and even on Shabbos and Chagim.

Around two weeks ago, the volunteers were planning a birthday party for one of the boys, Shloimy, who was about to celebrate his 19th birthday at the center.  Our amazing staff and volunteers put a lot of thought into what gift they could give Shloimy.  They wanted to give him something that would really make him happy.  They finally decided that since Shloimy likes to take responsibility and 'manage' things, the best gift they could give him would be the key to the main entrance at Ezrat Achim.

When I heard about their plan, I went straight to the nearest hardware store and asked for the biggest and most beautiful key in the store.  I went to Shloimy's birthday party, where I announced that I was personally entrusting him with the key to the organization, making him my partner in managing each 'Ezrat Achim' organization.

Anyone who did not see his smile that day, (which lasted the whole day!), really missed out!

 I would like to make each of you my partner in running Ezrat Achim as well- but I’m not going to give you a key like I gave Shloimy- because in fact the key is already in your possession- your contribution will allow us to help the Special Needs children of Bet Shemesh and open up new horizons for them and their families!

Please join with us and give us the ability to continue the amazing chessed that takes place each day at our centers, and with Hashem’s help to expand and develop it even more.

May we all have a Chanukah which is filled with light, happiness and good health!

Your friend,

Avraham Kopp

Who Are The Real Malachim of Ezrat Achim? - Gitty's mother

Who Are The Real Malachim of Ezrat Achim?


Dear Friends of Ezrat Achim,


My daughter Gitty has a charm that no other girl in the world has. She has infinite goodness, and I feel that Hashem has given our family a unique zechus by sending Gitty to us.  I feel privileged that she is my child.


Gitty is ten years old and she has a lot of difficulties and limitations. She can’t speak, and needs help with almost everything, starting with dressing her in the morning.  Even after the day is over, I have to check on her even several times throughout the night, to make sure that everything is okay.


It's not always easy. But Ezrat Achim makes it possible.


By nature, I’m very organized and always try to have everything ready in advance, without pressure and last minute surprises.  The years of being Gitty’s mother have taught me to be flexible and accepting of the fact that the house will not always be run the way it used to, before Gitty was born.


Fridays and erev Chag are particularly challenging. There is so much that needs to be cleaned, cooked, organized and tidied up and when Gitty is at home, all that becomes more complex, more difficult.  


Every afternoon, after school, Gitty goes to the Ezrat Achim Center and enjoys activities, nutritious food and loving attention. She returns home with a huge smile.


On Fridays she stays there until very close to Shabbos, when the whole house is already organized.  Even on Shabbos itself she is in the Moadonit almost the whole afternoon and only comes home about an hour after Shabbos!  This amazing service is unique to Beit Shemesh and life changing for my family.


Shabbos is supposed to be a time to relax and gather strength for the upcoming week, but for parents of a Special Needs child that is not a given.   We don’t take for granted the fact that with Ezrat Achim’s help, we are able to do “normal things” like spend time with our other children, review what they learned in school during the week, sit with them on the couch and even rest a bit sometimes!  


When Gitty comes back from Ezrat Achim after shabbos, I can greet her with a calm heart, knowing I'm giving her everything she needs and also that it's not at the expense of my other kids. 


I’d like to thank Ezrat Achim and the amazing volunteers – and most importantly: a huge thank you to the donors who make it possible!


I daven every day for the malachim- the donors of the organization- HKBH should bless you and always enable you to be one of the givers!


May you have only nachas from your children!

Gitty's mother

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Ezrat Achim is the best place in the world!! - Eli

Ezrat Achim is the best place in the world!!

How are you everyone?

My name is Eli and I have Down Syndrome.

Yesterday I got home from the Ezrat Achim Moadonit, and my mommy, who I love the most in the world, (‘cuz she’s better than all the other mommies), asked me if I had a good time.

I told her, "Yes, Mommy!  You know I always, always, always have fun there! Why do you keep asking me that?"

Mommy told me that it makes her happy to hear me tell her over and over again that I’m happy there, so she asks me every day.

Now do you see why I love my mommy so much???

I want everyone to know that me and my friends love to go to the moadonit, so I asked Mommy to bring me a paper and a pencil ‘cuz I wanted to write a letter.

But it got a little messy so Mommy came to help me and we wrote this letter together.

Ezrat Achim’s moadonit, is the most fun in the world!  The girls there love me almost as much as my sister Devori who loves me so much, and I love them too!  Every day there is something different, dancing with music, gymboree, arts and crafts and games. We also eat there every day and the food is yummy!

We love when Rav Kopp comes, he is in charge of Ezrat Achim, and he makes it so fun for us.  Every time he comes, all the kids smile and laugh and he knows everyone’s name and what he likes and where he lives and when it’s his birthday.

Mommy told me that everything costs a lot of money and I am a little scared ‘cuz what if one day Ezrat Achim will say that all the money is gone and we won’t have a moadonit anymore!  So people need to please give money to Ezrat Achim and I want you to know that Ezrat Achim uses that money for the best things in the world!

Like me!

Like me!



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After the first few times I got used to it, now I love it! - A Proud Ezrat Achim Volunteer

After the first few times I got used to it, now I love it!

The first time I heard about the Ezrat Achim organization was when I was a little girl.  A few of the older girls in my neighborhood used to volunteer at Ezrat Achim’s Special Needs Centers, and I always loved to listen to their stories.  Around a year ago, I decided that I wanted to become a volunteer myself.

I was a little nervous- volunteering sounded like a great thing to do, but I wasn’t 100% sure that working with Special Needs Children was the right choice for me.  I still remember my first day- I’m embarrassed to admit that I was really a little scared.

After the first few times I got used to it. After a while, I started to love going to the center, I got addicted to the kids!!! I’ve learned to love not only the children who love me back unconditionally and return all my hugs and compliments, but also those who can’t communicate at all.

What encourages me is the appreciation of the parents, and especially the feeling I get when I see a little girl who hardly ever seems to connect with her surroundings, suddenly light up with a smile and I know that it’s because of me! 

So why am I telling you all this?  Because even though my friends and I are volunteers, which means that we don't get paid (except for the mitzvah which is worth a lot!!), we often get the feeling that some people seem to think that with all these volunteers, there must be very little cost involved in running the Special Needs department at Ezrat Achim.  

The reality is exactly the opposite:  //// the expense is huge and includes rent for each center, fresh meals cooked on site and served daily, professional staff at each center, prizes, special activities and programs, the vans that bring the children home each day. The playground facilities and toys in the yard are a huge expense, and there is a tremendous amount of cleaning that has to be paid for each day.  Especially because of Corona, we have to be so careful. The centers are always well-kept, clean and neat.

My friends and I who volunteer at Ezrat Achim sometimes hear comments like:  

“Wow, what a zechut you have!  I’m jealous of your s’char!” 

So for anyone who has ever wished they could be part of the amazing chessed factory that is known as Ezrat Achim, now is your chance!  Please partner with me and dozens of other local teenagers who volunteer and give their heart and soul to these sweet kids! 

Is there a gift that could be more appropriate to give to the special children of Bet Shemesh this Chanukah, than a ray of light, in the form of a donation to the Ezrat Achim Special Needs Centers that light up their lives every day of the year? 

I can’t think of anything better!

Happy Chanukah!


A Proud Ezrat Achim Volunteer


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Meet ... Daniel Kugler

Daniel Kugler, 26 years old, married to Miri and father of two adorable little girls

Residence: Old Beit Shemesh

Position at Ezrat Achim: Director of the teenage boys' department in the Special Education department, and club coordinator for the past three years.

-Before you took on this role, there was no teenage boys' department?

-Correct! All the programs at Ezrat Achim were run by women and female volunteers.  Boys were only able to participate up to the age of 13. There was a lot of demand and great need in the community to have a center for the boys who were over bar mitzvah age.

They were looking for someone to create the program, and here I am!

We started with three boys and today there are fifteen.  Significant steps are now being taken to expand into a new and larger facility so that more boys can come, in line with the increasing demand.

– What does the boys' department include?

-A daily after school center, a Friday afternoon program, a Shabbos program, camp during summer vacations and on Chagim, programs on other days when school is closed (like Yom Ha’atzmaut, fast days etc.), and most importantly, a volunteer department!

-Wow! Volunteers are so important! What do you think a young man who volunteers with special children can gain from the experience?

-First of all, a lot of satisfaction. It’s amazing for a young person who has just started life to realize that he also has the opportunity to contribute to others and give of himself.  We work hard to create a very positive atmosphere not only for the Special Needs boys, but for the volunteers as well- so much so that recently a lot of boys have been coming to us and asking to volunteer without us even having to ask!  The volunteers really like to come, we make sure to show our appreciation, sometimes we  take them on trips or hold special events and make sure to always give them positive feedback.

-What do you enjoy the most about working with special children?

– Going home, every day without exception, knowing that I have helped dozens of people, the boys themselves and also their parents and siblings who get attention at home while their special needs brother is in good hands for a few extra hours each day. For me, that is the best feeling in the world!

-Do you have a special story that happened with one of the boys that you can share?

-Yes, sure, there are so many!

Last year, one of the boys told me that he would bring mishloach manos on Purim but since I’m used to hearing the boys say things that are not always accurate, I didn't take it seriously.  On Purim at eight o'clock in the morning, there was a knock on my door and the boy and his father were there with a beautiful mishloach manos.

It turns out that he had overheard me speaking to my wife on the phone one day.  I had told her that the siddur that I keep in my tefillin bag got torn and I needed to buy a new one.

The tzaddik remembered and surprised me with a leather siddur with my name engraved on it.   I was really shocked!

-How has the Corona crisis affected the center?

-In the first wave, all the centers were closed. In conjunction with the Beit Shemesh Municipality, we were able to organize volunteers who were given transit permits that they could use during the lockdown. They assisted parents individually in homes, in gardens and parks.

Now we are working almost as usual, we just are much more careful about keeping all the rules regarding disinfection, division into small groups and a change in the daily schedule so that there will be no mixing between the groups. It’s not easy, but we know how to meet the challenges and overcome them B”H.

-What is the most important message you want the residents of Beit Shemesh to know about 'Ezrat Achim'?

-The Special Education Division of Ezrat Achim is not just another program in Beit Shemesh … it is the heart of Beit Shemesh! These are all of our children!!  They’re not just called special-  they really are unique neshamos, and it is the responsibility of all of us to help them.

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Please join us and donate to Ezrat Achim

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