Food for Thought

By Menashe Shershow on May 28, 2015
Graduating senior Menashe Shershow spoke at SINAI's annual Staff Appreciation Dinner on May 27.  Here are his heartfelt words:When I first began my journey at SINAI’s Maor High School I wasn’t really sure how it would go. I had been to five different elementary and middle schools by the time I turned 14. By the end of 8th grade I wasn’t sure where I would end up next. I nearly failed 8th grade pre algebra, and my mom knew I needed to make a change. When she first told me about Maor High School, I was reluctant to go for an interview. I’m still not entirely sure how I did end up there,...
By Abigail Klein Leichman on Oct 5, 2014
For at least 25 years now, Joseph Freedland of Fair Lawn has been hiring people with special needs to help in the production and packaging of shower curtains and hospital curtains at Hospi-Tel in East Orange.The family business, founded by his father and uncle and now owned by his brother David, has eight to 10 such people working in the factory at any given time. Two of them have been with the company 20-plus years.“This has become very important to me,” said Mr. Freedland, the company’s vice president for production. “We started by hiring a few people with challenges to do unskilled labor...
By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick on Jun 19, 2014
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. There was a well-known Rav in the area who knew that we were involved with the in­ception of Maison Shalom, but did not know that we...
By Rabbi Yehuda Minchenberg on Apr 11, 2014
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.Forget about the fact that Pesach is charging towards us on the calendar. Chometz continues to travel throughout our house. One child takes pretzels upstairs where they are eaten in one of our beds. Another child takes a good piece of cake...
By Rabbi Dr. Yisrael Rothwachs on Mar 13, 2014
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 results from a change of perspective...
By Jenny Gans on Mar 6, 2014
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. Sam Fishman, managing director of Sinai Schools, who also serves as its filmmaker with film editor David Jasse of DMJ Digital Media, said he felt the connection viewers made to the 15-minute video contributed...
By Joanne Palmer on Jan 31, 2014
Contest for students highlights the unity designed into school’s diversityThe 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.The student enrolled in the drama club, the rabbi continued. And then, yes, it happened, just like in the movies. “When he was comfortable performing and reading a scripted part, his performance was just exceptional. It was a moment of complete communal crying. The students at the school stood up and gave him a standing ovation.”It is important to...
By Judith Karp, Associate Dean on Nov 3, 2013
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.Lately the tragic stories of senseless acts of violence seem to occur on a daily basis.What is going on? Is it the ubiquitous exposure to violence that has caused...
By Rabbi Dr. Yisrael Rothwachs on Oct 17, 2013
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. Although the stigma associated with having a disability continues to cast a thick cloud over many in our community, today both children and adults are able to access services which were unavailable in previous generations, services that promote not only...
By Rabbi Dr. Yisrael Rothwachs on Dec 19, 2012
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. Priscilla Gillman, in her NYT article, “Don’t Blame Autism for Newtown”,...

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