In 1969, man took the iconic first steps on the moon. That same summer, a giant leap was taken by a visionary group of founders who established OHEL Children’s Home & Family Services. When OHEL’s doors opened to abused, neglected, and homeless children, the children took their first steps into loving care.

“Giant Leaps Taken, Bold Steps Forward” is the theme for OHEL’s 50th Gala, set for Sunday, November 24, at the New York Marriott Marquis.

Five decades of providing safety and support to over 120,000 vulnerable children, adults, and families, while strengthening our communities, is a milestone we can all celebrate. OHEL, true to its mission, is the most trusted haven of safety and support, providing services that help to rebuild lives and strengthen individuals, families, and communities facing social, developmental, and emotional challenges. This historic gala, to be enjoyed by over 1,000 community members, leaders of industry, and you, will debut an all-new program that illustrates the vast array of services provided to meet the increasing and diverse needs of the Jewish community and beyond.

This year’s guest of honor is Meridian Capital Group. Meridian Capital Group has partnered with OHEL on numerous projects, including its dedication of the Meridian Capital Group Volunteer Program. OHEL Co-Presidents Mel Zachter and Jay Kestenbaum welcome Meridian Capital Group as partners in OHEL’s 50th year celebration. “Ralph Herzka is one of our great philanthropic and business leaders. We are excited and honored to partner together on Sunday, November 24, and look forward to sharing the evening with Meridian leadership, team members, and business associates.”

This year’s OHEL Leadership Award will be given to Susan and David Mandel. David Mandel has been the chief executive officer of OHEL for the past 24 years. His unwavering dedication and vision have made a difference in the lives of countless individuals and families served by OHEL. “David is a trailblazer, a caring and sensitive leader who has implemented numerous programs at OHEL and transformed the lives of so many globally,” said Moishe Hellman, OHEL’s ombudsman and president emeritus.

The Nediv Lev (Generous Heart) Award is being given to Tsippy and Stuart Nussbaum of Cedarhurst, long-time champions of OHEL. Their commitment has enabled many meaningful programs to come to life, including the Annual OHEL Shabbaton at the Red Shul, a staple event in the community for many years in which they have taken a leadership role.

Judith Goldberg-Ness and Dr. Seth Ness of Teaneck are being honored as the Camp Kaylie Family of the Year. They are passionate advocates for people of all abilities. Their son, Ezra, has benefited greatly from the Camp Kaylie summer experience. This honor is truly deserved for their support and understanding of Camp Kaylie’s mission.

As Mel Zachter, co-president of OHEL, proudly said, “OHEL has always done the heavy lifting in our community, addressing the many communal and individual challenges many others have often shied away from.” Jay Kestenbaum added that “OHEL has built a reputation as the ‘gold standard’ in service provision driven by a results-oriented focus in every area of service.”

OHEL’s 50th Annual Gala is fortunate to have as co-chairs Aaron Jungreis, Annette Rubin, and David Brecher. Aaron Jungreis encourages all to participate. “With your help and continued support, we will continue to effectively respond to the increasing need in our community. As one of the gala chairs, I am very proud to be a part of OHEL, but I am most proud when I meet people who have been impacted by OHEL. I know that this agency is second to none and deserves our full support and participation.”

Help us step into the future while recognizing the past 50 years of impact. Together, we can take bold steps in making a profound difference in the lives of thousands. To make reservations or place journal ads, please visit or call 718-972-9338.

OHEL Children’s Home & Family Services offers a breadth of services that meet the everyday needs of individuals and families. To access more information or services, please call 1-800-603-OHEL, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit


Courtesy of OHEL