Food for Thought

By Stephen Flatow on Dec 14, 2020
Growing up we are taught that if one is good, two is even better. A double portion of dessert, two-for-one ticket prices, two scoops of ice cream---you get the message. But what happens when that double portion is an extra chromosome? The answer is simple but very complicated at the same time: it’s called Down’s Syndrome.  I think back to when my grandson Netanel was born with that extra chromosome. I was furious. Less than ten years earlier our entire family had been thrown into turmoil when our daughter Alisa was murdered by terrorists at the age of twenty. After hearing Netanel’s...
By Avital Rubin on Dec 7, 2020
When I was a child my mother used to spin her favorite records for us at home all the time. As a child of the 70’s, she loved folk music and played all sorts of records for us. One of her favorites was Simon & Garfunkel. I vividly remember hearing “The Sound of Silence,” “Mrs. Robinson,” and “Scarborough Fair” over and over again. I didn’t understand the lyrics, but I loved the music. As I grew into my teens, I would listen earnestly to the lyrics, understanding and feeling them deeply. Simon & Garfunkel’s “I Am a Rock” was one of my favorite tracks.  I have my...
By Joanne Palmer, The Jewish Standard on Aug 24, 2020
It’s never been an issue before, certainly not in living memory. But none of us has lived through a pandemic. We’ve never had to worry about our children getting covid-19, an infectious disease that until recently seemed definitely not to attack children very often, but a disease for which there is no cure. We haven’t had to worry about teachers and other school staff members getting it, and we haven’t had to worry about kids bringing the disease back home and infecting their families. We’ve never had to worry about safety in this way before. With new worries, there are new questions...
By Abigail Hepner Gross for The Jewish Standard on Jul 16, 2020
In early March, as the realization set in that we at Sinai Schools would have to move to online learning at all of our schools, it became apparent that we were living through history. Sinai operates seven schools across New Jersey and the New York metropolitan area; all of them serve children who have a broad range of complex learning disabilities and special needs. At first, as our schools moved one by one to remote learning, it was impossible for us to envision how we would serve our children under the current circumstances, provide them with the therapies each of them need, and keep...
By Rabbi Dr. Yisrael Rothwachs on May 20, 2020
It’s been over 2 months since we initially began to socially distance.  As an educator, as a parent, and as a son, I can attest that this has been an extremely trying time. What so many of us took for granted a short while ago has now become so treasured: social interaction.  Zoom classes (as heroic as the teachers are!) cannot replace face-to-face interactions.  Celebrating smachot without close friends and family is something that we never would have considered before.  And of course, mourning those we’ve lost without the in-person consolation of others is a challenge...
By Miriam Nekritz on May 14, 2020
On Tuesday, April 28, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds performed a stunning show to honor the first responders on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Flying in formation over Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge, our country expressed our collective gratitude to and admiration for this exceptional group of people. Cheering for medical workers has become a new national institution. In coordinated efforts, neighborhood by neighborhood, people step out on their porches and doorsteps to give a round of enthusiastic applause for medical staff that can be heard...
By Dena Mayerfeld for The Jewish Link on May 30, 2019
The great musical maestro, Arturo Toscanini, was once listening to a very complex concert with a friend. Toscanini, known for his photographic memory, intense personality and superb ear for detail, asked his companion if he had noticed anything unusual about the rendition of the orchestral piece. The friend replied that he had not and wondered what Toscanini had found unusual and noteworthy. Toscanini replied with an outstanding observation: “There should be fourteen violins in that orchestra. I only heard thirteen!” Every note, every instrument and every musical arrangement struck a chord...
By Joanne Palmer of The Jewish Standard on May 21, 2019
This week, I joined a small group of adults in a visit to a presentation that the SINAI students at Ma'ayanot High School for Girls in Teaneck offered. Each one of the girls in the school — each with a significant, and significantly different, developmental challenge — read a description of something she’d done, working with others, to improve the school’s environment or to help other people. It is extraordinarily moving to watch these young women, and to watch their teachers watching them. If there were world enough, and time — and of course money — then every child would have...
By Joanne Palmer of The Jewish Standard on Apr 11, 2019
It feels really good to be able to give. That’s true for everyone, but it’s particularly true for people who often are given things. Giving back might be a cliché, but not everyone can do it. That’s one of the reasons why the students who make up the Sinai School’s program at Maayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls were so happy to be able to create and run a drive to give snack packs to kids using the food pantry run by the Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Northern New Jersey. JFCS is an agency of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, and it was the federation that ran...
By Aura Lurie, Director of SINAI at SAR Academy on Apr 9, 2019
This blog post was originally published on SAR's Divine Sparks blog.  It was the first recess on the first day of school, and Shlomo’s (not his real name) first day at SINAI at SAR Academy. Shlomo was very social, and had many friends, but his academic challenges were complex and he struggled in many parts of his day.  Although they knew that SINAI was the right academic setting for him, Shlomo’s parents were apprehensive that he would not be able cultivate and maintain friendships with the SAR students. Shlomo went out to recess with all the other children, including SINAI...

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