Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS) Atlanta is excited to announce that a van has been donated to the agency by the Hebrew Order of David International (HOD). The van will help transport participants in the Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Services (IDDS) program to medical appointments, recreational activities, and volunteer opportunities. The van was donated in honor of the memory of community and HOD leader, Alan Rubenstein. The fundraising drive for the van was an international effort, spearheaded by local HOD North American Governing Lodge Executives, David Joss, Les Kraitzick, Mario Oves and Alan Smirin, and also assisted by HOD brother Sid Besmertnik. The ribbon-cutting was originally planned for the spring, but due to the Pandemic had to be postponed.
Charles Goldberg President, Hebrew Order of David, Lodge Carmel said, “Alan Rubenstein was a founding member and past president of HOD Lodge Carmel in Atlanta as well as a mentor to me and many of our members. He led our lodge in numerous meaningful community service projects over the years. He was a gifted leader, and everyone enjoyed his humor and guidance. Our lodge is proud to have been a substantial contributor in donating a van to JF&CS in honor of Alan and his family.”
The IDDS team had a wheelchair-accessible, custom van on its “wish list,” for more than a year, as the program needs have grown. In addition, one of the vans needed substantial repairs.
“Our HOD van will allow us to explore the community with our clients and ensure that they are attaining their own goals for community inclusion. Whether in volunteerism or an educational workshop, or some fun recreational activity; the HOD van will get us there safely and reliably,” said Melissa DaSilva, director of IDDS.
The Hebrew Order of David and JF&CS have a long history of mutual support. This is the fourth van the HOD has donated to JF&CS over the last 20 years; however, the previous vans were used for JETS transportation services for older adults. Additionally, HOD hosts an annual Rosh Hashanah appeal for JF&CS clients. The appeal raises money to provide holiday meals for Jewish clients who cannot afford to celebrate the holiday.
“We have had a longstanding relationship with the Hebrew Order of David, primarily because of the relationship that Alan Rubenstein forged with both of our organizations,” said Terri Bonoff, CEO of JF&CS. “We are humbled by HOD’s generosity to purchase a van in memory of their brother, former International Grand President, Alan Rubenstein.”