Food for Thought

By Chana Shestack on Mar 16, 2018
On February 13, RKYHS students heard from Yaakov Guttman, a former IDF soldier now serving as a firefighter in Tel Aviv, when he presented a “TED”-style talk as part of RKYHS’ special SEED speakers program. As a child with significant learning disabilities, Yaakov shut down academically when his father passed away unexpectedly, prompting his mother to send him to SINAI. His teachers at SINAI poured their time and energy into him, and Yaakov rose to overcome personal adversity and his learning disabilities to graduate SINAI with the JKHA class of 1999. Born and raised in Bergenfield,...
By Sam Fishman on Dec 19, 2017
When I was a younger man, and the father of a small child with special needs, I found that there were certain prayers that I said with more “kavanah” – deeper intention and feeling.    One of those prayers was “Birkat Hachodesh,” the prayer said on the Sabbath before the beginning of each new month, in which we ask God that the upcoming month should bring blessings -- and all good things.     I remember standing in the synagogue with my young son beside me.  My SINAI child.  I would put my arm around his shoulder, draping my tallit – my prayer shawl...
By a long-time parent on Jun 14, 2017
What a bittersweet time! It feels like we just started at SINAI, and now M is graduating. Where did the time go? It is truly exciting to see M grow from a 9th grader, afraid to go to a baseball game, to a more confident and engaging young man who is self assured and cannot speak enough good about his high school experience. His growth in this period of time is in no small part to each of you. Thank you seems too insignificant to really express our gratitude. Through our time at SINAI, it is obvious to me over an over how special and caring the staff has been for and to each student. It is...
By Erika Svolos, Music Therapist on May 12, 2017
Music therapy is a highly effective evidenced-based tool in the treatment of children and adolescents with special needs.  SINAI’s own board certified music therapist, Erika Svolos, shares five ways she sees Music Therapy support and help our SINAI students each day. Music Therapy enhances and supports students’ ability to effectively communicate with others.  Music has been a form of communication from the beginning of time.  In music therapy, we use experiences like music making, music creation, and singing to provide our students with new ways to express their thoughts...
By Debby Mann Adler on Apr 25, 2017
Although by nature I am a private person, I share highlights of Jacob's life on social media for various reasons. I want people to realize how easy certain obstacles are for him to overcome, or how difficult seemingly simple tasks can be for him to accomplish. I want him to be able to look back at how fearless and amazing he is, and most importantly, I want people to see how easy it is for them to deeply impact others. We all know Facebook posts are not reflective of reality. While it may look like Jacob’s life is one big party, the truth is that the majority of his time he is bored and...
By Frada Stone, LCSW, Assistant Director, SINAI Maor High School at RKYHS on Mar 15, 2017
At SINAI’s Maor High School at the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School, an important part of our students’ growth is in the social/emotional domain. While our Maor students focus most of their day on academics covering a college preparatory high school curriculum, they benefit significantly from our social skills program that addresses their challenges in navigating social interactions appropriately and effectively. Both Mrs. Pesha New and I use our training as social workers to implement Maor’s social skills curriculum in group and individual settings. In addition, we work with our staff as a...
By Ilana Chill on Mar 7, 2017
I have a silver linings kind of life. We, as a family, grapple with some enormous challenges, sometimes on a daily basis. We constantly have to make allowances and adjustments and modifications that other families don't ever have to consider. But, because of all that, I think we're probably closer than most families. I have a son who struggles in so many ways, but who approaches life with joy and wit and humor, and is capable of so much more than he lets on. I have three other children who often get a combined twenty five percent of my attention--but who are rarely resentful of that,...
By Abigail Hepner Gross, Director of Communications on Feb 3, 2017
I was honored to be invited to the Bat Mitzvah of one of our students a few weeks ago, a girl who has the most beautiful face and angelic smile. She has tremendous difficulty making eye contact—I wonder how the photos will come out, because she usually can’t even look at a camera to take a picture. And she has a lot of difficulty putting her words together. She speaks very softly—at just over a whisper, and often struggles to find the words she is looking for. There were at least two tables of her teachers at the Bat Mitzvah. The family had invited not only friends, but all of...
By Anonymous on Sep 23, 2016
Another beautiful note from a happy mother, as her son settles into high school at SINAI:Just want to let you all know that L is doing absolutely amazing, he exceeded all my expectations! We are already talking about the possibility of mainstreaming him to his first academic class, way ahead of schedule. I have NEVER seen him so ecstatically happy! He told me yesterday "I think things are finally looking up for me."Thank you all for taking a chance, believing in him, and giving him this wonderful opportunity and a bright future. I now only have happy tears of Joy! We will be forever grateful...
By Jordan Silvestri, Director of SINAI Shalem High School at Heichal HaTorah on Jun 23, 2016
As the recent school year drew to a close, for my future students joining us in the inaugural year of the SINAI Shalem High School for Boys at Heichal HaTorah, the excitement of summer was mixed with emotions as they began to actualize the meaning of their past four high school years at SINAI Shalem at TABC.With the opening of our new high school for boys ages 18-21, we are providing our students the opportunity to graduate with their TABC friends, and, like those friends, to move on to the next stage in their lives.  In the years ahead, our students will be preparing for adulthood,...

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