Chapel Haven Schleifer Center and Accessibility Accelerator have just returned from a groundbreaking trip to Israel, entitled Universal Expedition – Israel 2023. A delegation of 29, including CHSC adults, parents, staff and leadership of Accessibility Accelerator, traveled to Israel April 26 – May 5, 2023 to further our shared commitment to universal accessibility!  The mission statements of Chapel Haven Schleifer Center and Accessibility Accelerator illustrate our shared vision.

  • Accessibility Accelerator strives to make the world accessible and inclusive especially for people with disabilities and the elderly via advocacy, education, and inclusion. This non-profit is devoted to empowering to live self-determined lives enabling them to work, travel, study, and consume with dignity, equality, and maximum independence.
  • Chapel Haven Schleifer Center’s mission is to empower adults with social and developmental disabilities to live independent and self-determined lives.

This amazing trip included 11 CHSC adults, 11 staff and parents, and chaperones. In the words of Jamie Lassner, Executive Director of Accessibility Accelerator: “We traveled about 12,000 miles, toured numerous places, ate many falafel balls…cried and laughed a lot together and shared a wonderful 9 days. Universal Expedition Israel 2023 was a big step forward in showing the world that Israel and travel are inclusive and accessible…We have our work ahead as Ambassadors of Accessible Travel, to advocate for continued changes in all aspects of travel.”

About our partnership

We are proud to be a part of organizations across the world that are demonstrating that disabilities should not hinder individuals and their families from traveling, navigating all terrains, and participating in cultural exchanges like any neurotypical individual would. This endeavor – the third time we have collaborated – furthers our shared missions and demonstrates to the world that universal accessibility is achievable! Attending the trip were the following:

CHSC Adults

  • Andy Gardner
  • Hillary Lipper
  • Eric Kay
  • Patrick Doyle
  • Andrew Auerbach
  • Seth Light
  • Sam Fischgrund
  • David Schleifer
  • Matthew Baker
  • Jonah Sabol
  • Michael Bennett

CHSC Parents

  • Howard and Sharon Lipper
  • Harriet Schleifer
  • Peggy Baker
  • John Workman

CHSC Staff

  • Michael Storz
  • Rosemary Williams
  • Pam Murray
  • Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo
  • Ethan Peters
  • Ryan McEachern
  • Rachel McEachern
  • Kenyatta Simms
  • Shaniya Jones

Chaperones and program partners

  • Wendy Stewart
  • Jamie and Mara Lassner
  • Howard Blas

The itinerary included the following historic destinations:

  • Tel Aviv
  • Tel Aviv Tayelet/Promenade
  • Carmel Market
  • Old Port Jaffa
  • Neve Tzedek
  • Nazareth
  • Tower of David and Light Show
  • Agamon Ahula Bird Sanctuary
  • Masada
  • Dead Sea
  • Jerusalem (new & old)
  • Western Wailing Wall/Kotel
  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre
  • Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
  • Boating on the Sea of Galilee
  • Kfar Tikvah (program similar to Chapel Haven Schleifer Center’s UARTS Program)

Quotes from participants, Universal Expedition Israel 2023 trip:

“The individuals from Chapel Haven Schleifer Center (CHSC) and the dedicated, talented, and professional staff who made it possible for our group to experience first-hand Israel as a country for all people, found a diverse and welcoming family there. Accessibility is a priority and flexibility regarding weather, accommodations, and travel added to the success of the trip. This is only the beginning for our individuals to experience the pleasure and independence of travel with the safe and loving support of the Chapel Haven Schleifer Center family.  The sky is the limit!”


Harriet P. Schleifer, proud parent

“It’s an absolutely gorgeous country, with trees and flowers planted along the sides of the highway. Everyone kept saying that our group felt like one big family, and I have to agree. I can’t wait for whatever trip comes next!”


Seth Light, ASAT Program

“The things that were great on the trip were that it was a very nice group the food was delicious, and the Dead Sea and the Western Wall were fun to swim and pray at as well.”


Eric Kay, CHSC Community Member

“An inspiring trip with numerous opportunities to learn how to provide greater accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities.   We heard from Israelis and Americans who’ve made these goals their life’s work.   And the staff and young adults from Chapel Haven were particularly impressive.   They inspired us to learn even more about how to make positive change a reality.”


John Workman, CHSC Parent

“Amazing, beautiful, incredible! I could go on, but truthfully life-changing is what I feel when I think of our time in Israel. It is rare to be immersed in a culture so deeply and to bring home a greater understanding of that country. I will be forever grateful for the time spent with our CHSC family and our new family in Israel, my mishpocha.”


Pam Murray, CHSC Staff

Read more about the partnership between Chapel Haven Schleifer Center and Accessibility Accelerator and see coverage by Sarah Cody of WTNH here Questions? Contact Catherine DeCarlo.

Read New Haven Register article:  New Haven group travels to Israel as ‘ambassadors’ for people with disabilities.

Read Jewish News article:  Israel trip aims to forge amgassadors for accessible travel.

View coverage on WTNH News Channel 8Chapel Haven Schleifer Center, Accessibility Accelerator take group of all abilities to Israel

‘Jews can’t afford divisiveness,’ says incoming chair of Conference of Presidents –


Check out these amazing photos from our Universal Expedition to Israel 2023!