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Text reads "Elevate 2018 Sulam Gala The Hotel | College Park, MD | Sunday, June 3 | 6:00 PM

Sulam to Honor RespectAbility for Inclusion Work at Annual Gala

Rockville, Maryland, May 29 – Sulam will recognize two community leaders for outstanding work as advocates for inclusion at its annual gala on June 3, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. ET at The Hotel at the University of Maryland in College Park. Both of these leaders share the vision of Sulam, which is to ensure that a high quality education is available to children in the Greater Washington area irrespective of their learning differences.

Headshot of Jennifer Mizrahi, smiling and facing the camera wearing a red blazer color photoJennifer Laszlo Mizrahi will accept the Sulam Advocacy Leadership Award on behalf of RespectAbility, a nonprofit fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities. RespectAbility is at the forefront of providing tools and resources to Jewish organizations and others to enable them to welcome, respect, include and serve people with disabilities.

Amy Blum headshot

Amy Blum, Executive Director and COO of the National Gaucher Foundation, will be honored with the Sulam Founders Award. Blum, whose name has been synonymous with Sulam since its inception, is one of the organization’s original founders. Today she helps educate families touched by the rare metabolic disorder Gaucher, offering them empathy, advocacy and hope for a full life.

“This event is a tremendous opportunity to honor these two women, whose important work in inclusion spans decades,” shared Lianne Heller, Sulam’s Executive Director. “Their years of service supporting the right of every student to a rigorous education alongside his or her peers epitomize the core values central to Sulam.”

The annual gala is Sulam’s signature fundraising event. This year it also is a special celebration of Sulam’s twenty-year history of empowering educators to provide high-quality, inclusive educational experiences to children in Greater Washington that maximize their learning potential.

Megan and Kris Bomgaars hugging and smiling for the camera against a red backdrop

Megan and Kris Bomgaars

Megan Bomgaars will be among the evening’s speakers. Bomgaars stars in A&E’s Emmy-winning reality docu-series Born This Way, which features seven young adults with Down syndrome who work hard to achieve goals and overcome obstacles. She also manages an ice dye clothing company called “Megology.” Like her 2013 viral YouTube video titled, “Don’t Limit Me,” Bomgaars is expected to share an uplifting message about the importance of inclusion.

To support Sulam’s increasing financial needs, the evening will include a Silent Auction and the opportunity for a “Fund in Need,” providing charitable care to help support the nonprofit’s life-changing programs and scholarship fund. This year’s event also features several new opportunities for corporations in the Greater Washington region to highlight their support of Sulam’s important work to help children succeed irrespective of their learning differences.

“Twenty years ago, a group of committed mothers dreamed of an environment where their children were welcome and able to contribute,” enthused Heller. “Sitting around a kitchen table one evening, Sulam was born.”

Sulam logoIn Hebrew, “Sulam” means ladder. For the nonprofit, this symbol represents the idea of helping students overcome obstacles to reach new heights of personal possibility.

“Today,” Heller explained, “Sulam is the only Jewish program of its kind in the Greater Washington area, serving more than fifty K-12 students with a range of learning differences.”

Sulam’s families share that the impact of its programs has been immeasurable. The demand for the program is ever-increasing. Each year more families opt for Sulam when searching for an inclusive space for their son or daughter to learn, grow, and thrive.

“Sulam is not just a school. It is a place where every child is valued for their unique strengths and what they can bring to the community,” added Heller.

“We are incredibly grateful to all those who choose to support our efforts in this regard. Without the community’s generous donations to our annual gala, Sulam would not be able to reach as many children as we do now or ensure the longevity of our programming in the community.”

To donate to Sulam or to purchase event tickets, visit Companies inquiring about sponsorship opportunities should contact Ahuva Orlofsky, or call (301) 962-9400 x5523.

About Sulam

Founded in 1998 based on the belief that every child has the right to a rigorous Jewish education alongside his or her peers. With a uniquely talented team of special educators, Sulam students are engaged in a unique combination of general inclusion experiences and targeted, individualized instruction that helps maximize learning potential and open possibilities for their future.

Gala Contact:

Ahuva Orlofsky, Director of Marketing

Meet the Author

Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is the Vice President, Communications, of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities, and managing editor of The RespectAbility Report, a publication at the intersection of disability and politics. Previously she was a digital researcher with the NBC News political unit. As an individual with an acquired invisible disability - Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy - she writes about the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. From entertainment professionals to presidential campaigns, journalists to philanthropists, she conducts trainings on the why and how to be more inclusive and accessible. Behind the scenes in the entertainment industry, Appelbaum engages decision makers and creatives to improve the quality and number of authentic, diverse and inclusive presentations of people with disabilities on TV and film so audiences can see people with disabilities as vital contributors in America and around the world. She and her team have consulted on projects with Amazon, Disney/ABC Television, NBCUniversal, Netflix, and The Walt Disney Studios, among others. Appelbaum also enriches the pool of disabled talent in Hollywood by nurturing and connecting them to those who can assist with their careers, both on the creative and business sides of the industry. She is the author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit, which was created to help entertainment professionals to be as inclusive of people with disabilities as possible, and the creator of an innovative Lab Program for entertainment professionals with disabilities working behind the camera. To reach her, email

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