Posts by SINAI Staff

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 Abigail Hepner Gross, Director of Communications on Jul 6, 2017
La Jolla, CA – SINAI Schools has won multiple prestigious Awards of Excellence from The Accolade Global Film Competition and The Best Shorts Competition for their short documentary, Jacob’s Footprints.  Jacob’s Footprints premiered at SINAI’s annual benefit dinner in February, 2017.  It tells the uplifting story of SINAI student Jacob Adler and his parents, Hillel and Debby.  Jacob, who has cerebral palsy, has inspired countless individuals with his courage, optimism, and refusal to give up in the face of challenges.  He has helped to change the way people view...
By Rochel Field, Teacher at SINAI at Ma'ayanot on Jun 21, 2017
The 2016-17 SINAI School year has come to an end. During this past year we have witnessed many great achievements by our students and recognized the undeniable dedication of our teachers. We are also extremely grateful to our partner schools who have gone above and beyond to include our students in every aspect of their communities.  One particular event stands out... Our SINAI students’ participation in the I.D.E.A. Schools MakerXPO at the New York Hilton in May. Our SINAI girls worked side by side with Ma’ayanot students on a joint project for the MakerXPO, which included schools...
By Rabbi Dr. Yisrael Rothwachs, Dean on Jun 5, 2017
With profound sorrow we mourn the sudden passing of Mr. Jacob Weinstein, beloved Associate Director of SINAI at Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy. His deep love for and dedication to each individual student was unparalleled and his warm, encouraging smile unmatched.   May the Weinstein family be comforted among the mourners of Tziyon and Yerushalayim. Rabbi Yisrael Rothwachs, Dean                     Ms. Judi Karp, Associate Dean    
By Rabbi Dr. Yisrael Rothwachs, Dean and Mrs. Judi Karp, Associate Dean on May 17, 2017
It gives us great pleasure to announce the appointment of our new Director of SINAI at SAR Academy, Ms. Aura Lurie.  We will open our doors at SAR Academy in the fall of 2018, giving Ms. Lurie a full year to plan, prepare, and build a team.  Ms. Lurie has worked at SAR Academy for over a decade as a head teacher and as an inclusion teacher in the elementary school, teaching children with a range of learning disabilities within SAR’s inclusion classrooms.  She has also served as a mentor to other teachers through the Jewish New Teacher Project/New Teacher Center for the past...
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 Rina Hirsch, Therapeutic Drama Teacher on May 2, 2017
As part of our Therapeutic Drama class at SINAI’s Shalem High School at Heichal HaTorah, the students created a short play about Babe Ruth.  Not only did they learn about the history of Babe Ruth, but they also focused on reading and speaking clearly, social skills, drama, and they were introduced to video editing.  A lot of work was involved in this project and we are very proud of their efforts.  We look forward to additional performances by our SINAI students!
By Rabbi Dr. Yisrael Rothwachs, Dean on May 1, 2017
Parenting is complicated. I remember how naive I was as a younger parent and less-experienced educator, thinking that it was simple—wondering how parents could do this or their children behave like that. Over time, though, I’ve grown to appreciate how nuanced parenting is and how many variables are at play. The typical complexity of parenting is only compounded further when there is disability at play. In general, it is acutely difficult to generalize good parenting advice, all the more so to share meaningful suggestions for parents of children with special needs. With very rare exceptions,...
By Dr. Karen N. Wasserman, School Psychologist on Apr 3, 2017
            The feelings leading up to Pesach---or any family and holiday meal---can bring either excitement or trepidation and fear, all depending on the lens you have and your particular cast of characters. Add an individual who has special needs into the mix, and everything is magnified.  In these circumstances, the key to a successful holiday is planning.  Whether you are hosting the entire family for all eight days of Pesach or spending the holiday away from home, the more you plan and the more you talk it through with your...
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...

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