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By Jordan Silvestri, Director, Karasick Shalem High School at Heichal Hatorah on Mar 19, 2018
As part of SINAI's year-long Core Leadership program partnership with Yeshivat HaKotel, I was recently privileged to present a webinar for the HaKotel students in Israel on leadership. We discussed four key elements of leadership for the students to incorporate into their educational lexicon: Being Personal, Having Self-Awareness, and being Selfless and Compassionate. These elements are some of the key ideas that make up effective leaders, and the leadership core of SINAI Schools.  Leadership is oftentimes incorrectly correlated to management. Management refers to the idea...
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 Elizabeth Kratz for JNS on Feb. 27, 2018 on Feb 28, 2018
Students with special needs often feel overwhelmed and helpless; many roadblocks can appear to block their way to success and cause them to think that the world is against them. But Yaakov Guttman, an Israeli firefighter who served with distinction in the Israel Defense Forces, seeks to bring attention to the way his teachers built him up, enabling him to overcome the stigma about his own learning disabilities, and be able to thrive and serve in Israel, his chosen country. “In every child, in every person, there is value,” stresses Guttman. “My teachers decided that I was worth something....
By Elizabeth Kratz of The Jewish Link BWC on Feb 9, 2018
SINAI Schools, a special-education yeshiva day school that runs its programs inside existing day and yeshiva high schools, shatters stereotypes about children with disabilities. Students weighed down by profound learning challenges have become glowing, inspired, college-bound students. Students facing immense physical challenges have had the support they need to blossom, enjoy school and look to their bright future. Students facing intense cognitive challenges have benefited from the steady, constant presence and love of teachers and therapists to help them reach the next level, at their own...
By Joanne Palmer for the Jewish Standard on Feb 2, 2018
Yaakov Guttman’s life has been about putting out fires, both metaphorically and literally. We understand that the word literal often doesn’t mean literal any more, but here we are using it in its classic sense. Yaakov Guttman runs into burning buildings, rescues people, and even their pets, and fights the fire until it is out. Most of us run away from fires. He runs toward them. You look at him now and you see a prototypical firefighter, not only strong but also handsome, a firefighter straight out of central casting. But the truth of his life is more complicated than that. Long before...
By Elizabeth Kratz for the Jewish Link on Feb 1, 2018
Bergenfield’s Yaakov Guttman, 34, after a year at Yeshivat Lev HaTorah for his gap year, opted to stay in Israel and entered the IDF as a lone soldier, with limited Hebrew skills. He did well, working his way up to serving as a sniper commander in Jenin, Shechem and Ramallah. He was injured during a terror attack while saving the life of another soldier and endured a difficult recovery. Today, he is a firefighter in Tel Aviv. Firefighters are first responders to terror attacks, and of course they run into burning buildings, saving lives practically every shift. He is still active in the IDF...
By We Are Moving Stories on Feb 1, 2018
Erie International Film Festival - Jacob’s Footprints   A boy with cerebral palsy proves to his friends and family that if you refuse to give up, anything is possible. Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Abigail Hepner Gross   Congratulations! Why did you make your film? We are not actually professional filmmakers, though we work with a production company that does the technical work.  We operate inclusive schools for children with disabilities, and the films we make are intended to inspire.  We made Jacob’s Footprints in an effort to shatter people’s...
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 Joanne Palmer for the Jewish Link on December 7, 2017 on Dec 8, 2017
It's all about the honesty of faces.  At its beginning, the children in the SINAI School’s new music video, “Prayers From My Heart,” stare out at us, reproachfully, angrily, with frustration. They are open, honest, vulnerable, and shinily wide-eyed. Always wide-eyed. Over the course of the not-quite-three-and-a-half-minute video, we see those children look at us again with dawning glimmers of hope, and then again, at the end, with glistening, eye-moistening joy. Some of their teachers and parents and mentors are with them, the adults mirroring the children’s nearly palpable...
By Jewish Link NJ Staff on Nov 17, 2017
(Courtesy of SINAI Schools) On November 2, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools formally recommended SINAI Schools for reaccreditation. SINAI is the only Jewish special education school to be accredited by Middle States, and has held this distinction since 2004. The Middle States Visiting Team reviewed SINAI with an in-depth evaluation, reviewing all aspects of SINAI’s educational standards and practice over the course of a week. Pictured from left to right is the Middle States Visiting Team that evaluated SINAI Schools: Rabbi Avi Levitt, principal, Magen David Yeshivah...

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