A Sparkling Wedding Miracle

Many have the good fortune of being invited to weddings all the time, with some being more memorable than others. Nina Glick writes about an especially memorable one between two very special individuals which recently took place.

by Nina Glick – Jewish Week of NJ

In this community, many have the good fortune of being invited to weddings all the time. Some are more memorable than others. However, I can rest assured that no one in attendance will ever forget the sparkling event that took place at the Atrium in Monsey on Tuesday, August 22.

Tamar Schlanger of Teaneck, daughter of Esther and Jackie Schlanger, was married to Chaim Goldman, son of Tzirl and Shmuely Goldman of Crown Heights. Rabbi Baruch D. Lesches, rabbi of Chabad of Greater Monsey, was the officiating rav. Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, the international director of Yachad, addressed the couple under the chuppah. Later in the evening, Jackie Schlanger, father of the kallah, very succinctly and emotionally spoke of the challenge of parenting children with special needs. He mentioned that it is often said that it takes a village to raise a child, but in this particular case, as only parents of children with special needs know, it takes an army.

The path Tamar and Chaim followed that eventually led to this magnificent wedding began years ago. As young children they both attended SINAI Schools programs. At the time they were both totally unaware of each other. As years passed, Tamar with a diagnosis of down syndrome and Chaim, who is developmentally delayed, went their separate ways. As they grew older they would meet at Yachad events. As it often happens at Yachad functions, young people get to know each other through participating in various programs. They developed a friendship. Tamar, as she became older, moved into a HASC group home for women in Brooklyn and Chaim joined a HASC home for men.

It was when Chaim began attending the Yachad Day Habilitation program at which Tamar was already a participant that a social worker took note of the fact that a real friendship was developing between them. She noted that a true sense of caring among them was being established. This was not a shidduch but a couple who had truly found each other. Her observation led her to call both sets of parents and ask them if they would consider the possibility of these two special people entering into what could be a serious caring and loving relationship. Both sets of parents were called to meet with each other, along with the social worker. As the possibility of their children with special needs ever having anything similar to a real boyfriend/girlfriend relationship was far from their minds, they each skeptically attended this first meeting.

However, as the conversation ensued, they realized that maybe, just maybe, this could work. Between Tamar and Chaim they saw a sparkle that they had never seen in either one before. They decided to wait it out with a good deal of encouragement. They began to date, keeping in mind that neither Tamar nor Chaim is able to drive, so most things in life must be prearranged for them. Every time that they went out, their group home managers would have to arrange for someone to drive them and accompany them wherever and whenever they went out. The young couple decided that they loved to go to various eateries, but it was then decided that it might make more sense for them to go on more experiential dates. This also worked—they loved it. The dating process was over a period of two to three years. During this time, HASC provided relationship counseling for each of them separately. Eventually, the counseling was done with them together as a couple.

It was SINAI Schools that gave both of these young people the fortitude and confidence to believe in themselves and their future. In Tamar’s case, the Jewish Education for Special Children (JESC) experience imbued in her a continued love of Yiddishkeit; and through their involvement in Yachad and HASC, both the chatan and kallah grew into the amazing people that they are today.

As I have often said, every young person involved in these organizations, as well as the amazing people at the helm of each, are total tzadikim. There is no way that any family faced with a child or children with special needs can ever repay HASC, Friendship Circle, Yachad and all of the organizations dedicated to the participants and families who have members with special needs.

In particular, parents of young adults with special needs realize that most dreams that they would have thought possible for their children prior to their birth will never come to fruition. In the case of both Tamar and Chaim’s families, there was never an inkling that such an event could ever take place. That Hashem’s hands were working for this miracle to take place is evident every day.

Both Tamar and Chaim are employed. They still attend the Day Habilitation program run by HASC, and Tamar is employed as well by Yachad and travels three times a week to the OU offices. Chaim is working for Yachad Gifts. They will be living in a HASC-supervised apartment designed for a married couple. How great is that?

The smile and sparkle that lit up Tamar’s face when Chaim was brought to her for her badeken will not be forgotten by anyone who experienced it. His concern and love for her is evident to all. They love the idea of being called Mr. and Mrs.

Both the chatan and kallah left the Atrium to begin their new life together in what was a whimsical request of theirs—a shiny white stretch limousine awaited them. Mr. and Mrs. Chaim Goldman were off to share a beautiful life.

Mazel tov. May each day of their lives be as sparkling as their wedding.

25 Comments

  • 1. Brocha Hurwitz wrote:

    Mazal Tov Mazal Tov
    It’s so incredibly beautiful, may HASHEM give them lots of Hatzlocho Bakol
    Love it
    Brocha Hurwitz.

    Reply
  • 3. Andrea Schonberger wrote:

    I know I’ll be condemned but I’m throwing cold water over the project. This sounds too good to be true. Even under the best of circumstances marriage isn’t easy or for the fainthearted and this is coming from an old married lady–it’ll be 35 years this coming February. It isn’t all fun and games. You have to deal with adjustments, differences of opinion will crop up, concessions/compromises will have to be made. You have to be a mature adult in every sense of the word in order to deal with this and not bring in parents/friends/others to solve everyday problems that will invariably occur. This couple should have stuck with the dating as dating is fun and you don’t have to worry about the heavy issues.

    Reply
    • 4. Simintov wrote:

      Their issues hopefully will be much less complicated than the average couple as they’re likely to have different expectations of each other than most people. And hopefully, just as before they got married, they will have the necessary support system they require to manage their day to day issues throughout their lives.

    • 6. Why?? wrote:

      Why do you have to be the voice of doom and gloom? I just woke up in Israel & read this article…it gave me such pleasure, as did the picture of the young couple beaming from ear to ear.

      Then I read the comments & yours stuck out. Not everything has to be posted on social media. It’s OK for you to have your opinions, but this is such a beautiful & special simcha… & then the naysers step in.

      Tsirl & Shmuel are indefatigable pioneers in helping the disabled. And they are the parents. Like all of us, they want to see their children happily married and I have no doubt every last bit of support is in place. What’s more, I bet they have a happier and more fulfilling marriage than many mainstream couples.

      Mazel tov, asach nachas!

    • 7. Dating is fun and you don't have to worry wrote:

      These kids are from from families and DATING FOR FUN is halachicly prohibited!
      How could you even suggest such a thing?
      I don’t know how a marriage would work under these circumstances (taharas mishpacha etc) and am assuming the parents/counselors will have to be very hands on, but don’t encourage a forbidden dating for fun relationship.

    • 8. In Answer to Andrea wrote:

      I understand where you are coming from but only if you don’t know any special needs married couples. I like you am married for over twenty years and have the privilege of knowing a few special needs married couples, one very closely.
      I think that “we” can learn alot from “them”. There pureness and willingness to learn is something we can take from “them”
      Yes most will likely need help from parents, family and counselor but why, if they are able to understand and want marriage on whatever level they are able to, should they not be allowed this.
      I just think that we don’t have to see there marriage in exactly the same way as a conventional one but one no less special just different.

    • 9. Shana wrote:

      Just wondering if you would call your marriage or other typical people’s marriages a project or have you reserved this special name for people with disabilities? I don’t suppose you are prejudiced and therefore anything you say would be slanted against this wonderful couple.

    • 10. forgetaboutit wrote:

      Dear “old married lady–it’ll be 35 years ..” May you be happy and well together to …120+!

      We have nothing to say about this whole thing except a huge heart felt and meant Mazel Tov!!!

      This young couple will have supports and advice we could only dream of. And and waiting until we are “mature adults” to marry? I don’t think there would be many chuppahs if that were the case.
      This young couple are much luckier than we are and we really should be so very happy for them…. Be happy! Happy New Year

  • 14. Levana Kirschenbaum wrote:

    Beautiful Tamari! That you got married is a measure of how much all of us have grown.
    I can’t believe it’s been so long! This makes our summers in Tannersville look like it was ages ago.
    Looking at your wedding picture, you are as lovely as ever.
    I know you will make each other and your families very happy and proud.
    Mazal Tov and much Nachas ❤️❤️❤️ Levana

    Reply
  • 15. Chabad/Ashkenaz wrote:

    Not mentioned in the story were the totally different backgrounds of the couple and their parents (Lubavitch & Ashkenaz).

    It was truly uplifting to see the two families behind the couple so warmly embrace one another and their differences and work together on such a momentous journey..

    Yes Andrea, there will be challenges, but rest assured that they have strong, committed and caring families behind them who will not spare any effort to give them what every boy and girl justly deserves!

    Reply
  • 18. Don't know wrote:

    I wish them HATZLOCHO.
    Having seen marriages and children coming from such unions, so far my experience had not been positive. They will need a LOT of support.

    Reply
  • 20. Anonymous wrote:

    This is not the first couple with special needs to get married. I don’t know why there are any comments at all.

    Reply
    • 21. errr wrote:

      Some of us have known Chaim all his life, and we are very happy for him and his parents. We want to express our support, unlike some commentators. Why is it so wrong to respond positively to such a happy event?

  • 25. Zak wrote:

    I am a not-special-needs person, married for 20 years, and I would love to have the training and support THEY will get…

    Reply

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