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Disabled Enjoy a Seder Thanks to Volunteers

YORKTOWN, N.Y. — Laura Copel of Yorktown is part of a group of women in northern Westchester that has planned a special Seder for developmentally disabled individuals for the past 25 years.

Copel, a member of Temple Israel in Croton, said volunteers for the annual event, which takes about four months to plan, come from many synagogues.

"It's one of those things, once you set it in motion it has a life of its own," Copel said. "It's truly a labor of love. It's opened up a lot of minds and a lot of eyes. I've learned a lot."

This year's event was co-sponsored by Jewish Women International, Westchester Jewish Community Services' Havorah Program and Temple Shaaray Tefilia in White Plains and was attended by about 180 people.

"This was our best Seder ever," said Havorah coordinator Gail Oliver, who has teamed up with Copel and Lynne Perman of Chappaqua over the last 25 years. "The energy in the room between the volunteers and guests was electric."

Guests enjoyed a three-course traditional Passover meal thanks to the generosity of many Westchester restaurants, caterers and businesses. Honored for their continued support were Howard Gershman of Gersky's Catering in Yorktown and John Reber of Reber's Florists in Mount Kisco.

"We really try to involve the whole Jewish community to help out," Copel said. "It's a pretty cool thing."

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