Winter Retreat

January 2019

The theme this year was “The darker the night, the brighter the stars”, and Rabbi Baruch Rabinowitz, guest speaker from New York explained this concept beautifully. He related how despite the facts that there are trillions of galaxies of stars, only 8,000 are visible to the human eye. The rest are too high to see. So too, he explained, is with souls. There are millions of souls out there, but some are too high for their beauty to be seen and fully appreciated. The holy souls of children born with a disability, be it Autism, Down Syndrome, or any other disability, cannot be understood or valued with the naked eye.

Parents had a chance to ask Rabbi Rabinowitz questions, and with the perspective of a parent of Shloime’le, who has Down syndrome, his answers were filled with wisdom, wit, insight and depth.

This was our largest ever retreat with 67 couples in attendance! Held in the Hellidon Lakes Hotel, the venue was an excellent choice for a weekend of respite and rejuvenation. The programme combined quality catering, luxury accommodations, respite and learning. For many parents, this retreat is the only time in the year that they are not home caring for their special children which makes the respite all the more valuable.

In Touch was extremely fortunate to have Rabbi Gershon Miller from Gateshead join the retreat, and his sincere and heartfelt speeches truly left their mark.

When he addressed the parents for closing remarks, he humbly acknowledged the fact that he feels inadequate to talk to parents who face these challenges. However, he proceeded to thank all the attendees for teaching him and many others the true meaning of selfless giving, love, dedication and kindness. “With most children, parents invest efforts but hope to reap nachas in return. When a child has a disability, parents often give and give, expecting very little in return…”

As a parent who does not share the struggles In Touch parents face, he was able to offer a fascinating view of how our children contribute so much to society in their own unique way.

The atmosphere throughout the weekend was intense and powerful. Parents from all factions joined together, sharing ideas, information, and inspiration.