Teaching at SINAI, a school well known for its “Uniquely Special Education,” is an incredible privilege. Those of us lucky enough to work here are blessed with the opportunity to witness the small miracles that take place at SINAI on a daily basis. Every teacher takes pride in the success of his or her students, but those of us who teach children with learning disabilities or special needs feel a deep admiration not only of our students’ accomplishments, but of the efforts they undertake in getting there.
Food for Thought
Graduating senior Menashe Shershow spoke at SINAI's annual Staff Appreciation Dinner on May 27. Here are his heartfelt words:
At the time that we were working diligently to establish Maison Shalom, the group home that our daughter Naama lives in, we received amazingly unsettling telephone calls. There were those in the community surrounding the prospective new home that called and complained that they were worried that the real estate value of their own homes would go down. Their concern, supposedly, was that the residents of the home would be disturbing the neighborhood.
Actually, our Pesach cleaning story starts right after Purim. It’s not just about getting rid of all the nosh from our kitchen; the issue is where the nosh goes. Of course, this is the case for everyone with children, but it seems that when you have several children with special needs the “where is the chometz hiding?” cleanup game is even more challenging.
At this time each year, while I anticipate the joy and celebration of Purim, I also commemorate the yahrtzeits of two of my students – Ari Seidenfeld, A”H (11 Adar 5765/2005) and Aharon Halley, A”H (12 Adar 5768/2008). The pain I feel over losing them will never go away, but over time I have achieved a sense of nechama – comfort. Our rabbis teach us that the shoresh, root, of the word “nechama” comes from the word nachem, which refers to a change in perspective. Through this etymological insight, the Torah teaches us that true consolation resu
Teaneck—Many who viewed the 2013 Sinai Schools video Heroes felt the powerful strength of emotion conveyed by the Minchenberg family. With Sinai’s help, a child with profound learning disabilities developed into a strong young man able to take his place in the community as a bar mitzvah. With over 10,000 hits on YouTube and other social media channels, the video was a viral success.
Contest for students highlights the unity designed into school’s diversity
The Kushner students “were always nice to him, but it was very difficult to engage him,” Rabbi Rubin said. There were no specific problems, more a kind of failure to thrive.
I got in the car after school and with a sense of dread, turned on the news station. It was just a few days after the Nevada Middle School shooting and I needed my daily dose of traffic reports to make it home.
I soon heard that there was another violent incident in a Middle School in Massachusetts and my heart sank. A Middle School student stabbed a 24 year old beloved teacher and dragged her body into the woods behind the school.
Over the last few decades, the world of Jewish education and social services has exploded. We are fortunate to live in an era when resources are available to individuals with disabilities, and expertise is being developed and refined to address a myriad of challenges facing those individuals – challenges that in the past often were ignored.
All of the recent speculation blaming Asperger’s for the shooter’s homicidal behavior in last week’s Newton, CT tragedy is outrageous. I understand that this horrific tragedy has ignited a host of social and political dialogues with the intention of assuring that the innocent have not given their lives in vain but have somehow allowed us as a nation to improve. At least one dialogue, however, has unfortunately brought some people to revert to misguided ignorance, leading to the legitimization of bias and stigma.