SINAI in the News

By Rabbi Yehoshua Gold on May 27, 2021
The years of high school are formative and transformational for adolescents. All students, and especially students with learning challenges, should be able to thrive when they spend their high school years in a warm, supportive environment that offers individualized academic, emotional, and social support to facilitate their growth and development in all areas. It is important that students find their individual niche in a welcoming school environment. As they face the emotional ups and downs of their teenage years, students engage in the process of individuation as they discover so much...
By Joanne Palmer for The Jewish Standard on Feb 18, 2021
It’s fair to say that the Sinai Schools both benefited from and contributed to the societal changes that started to nibble away at some of the stigma surrounding special education. Children who could not keep up academically or behaviorally with their peers used to be seen as embarrassments to their parents, burdens to their families, bars to the marriageability of their siblings. Over the last 40 years — that is, over the years that Sinai has existed — that worldview has changed substantively. Educators began studying special education, developing techniques that could help students...
By Elizabeth Kratz on Feb 18, 2021
In last week’s paper, my family enjoyed the final article in “A Season of SINAI Stories,” an uplifting piece by Esther and Jacob Schlanger, who accompanied their daughter Tamar to the marriage canopy in 2017. Tamar, who married Chaim—both SINAI alumni—famously gave new meaning to the term “Saw you at SINAI.” As I read the article aloud to my 10-year-old daughters last Friday night, they were thrilled at the descriptions of Tamar’s dream wedding, including the white stretch limo that whisked Tamar and Chaim to and from the ceremony. In my daughters’ world, Tamar’s wedding was just like any...
By Joanne Palmer for The Jewish Standard on Feb 5, 2021
As all sorts of nonprofit institutions — local, national, and international, Jewish and non-Jewish — try to figure out how to raise the money that they need to keep going, many of them have done a great deal of thinking about how best to explain who they are, what their mission is, and in general what drives them. The Sinai Schools — the organization that provides special-needs education specifically tailored to each of its students, housed in Jewish day schools and both separate and part of those larger schools — is among those institutions. Sinai — whose unique and successful approach to...
By Jill Friedbauer on Feb 1, 2021
Our weekly parenting group meeting was rolling along as it usually did---chit-chat, joking, complaining, noshing---when my phone rang, and I immediately excused myself to speak in private.  It was our daughter Racheli’s genetic counselor, and she had news that changed everything for us in an instant. I struggled to take in the information that she was telling me: that our 9-month old daughter had extra information on one chromosome and was missing information on another; that as far as the experts knew, Racheli was the only one in the world with this exact genetic make-up, a fluke...
By Joanne Palmer for The Jewish Standard on Jan 22, 2021
When people talk about something as having a lot of moving parts, unless they’re actually talking about a piece of machinery, usually they’re being metaphoric. When you’re talking about a school, though it’s entirely literal. Students rarely sit still, and their teachers rush to keep up with them. When you’re establishing a new school, when you’ve gotten beyond the very beginning but you’re still building — when, say, you’re the Sinai Schools, you’ve started as a program of the Hebrew Youth Academy in South Orange in 1981, and you’re moving forward, inventing as you go — you have so...
By Gaby Gotesman on Jan 18, 2021
If I told you that my friend FaceTimes me when she’s bored and fills me in on her day, you might think she’s like any other phone-loving teenager. If I said she has super trendy glasses and bangs I wish I could pull off, you might wonder if she’s interested in fashion. If I explained that we see each other every week, and love hanging out, you might ask if we go to school together. But from what I told you, I don’t think you would guess that my friend has Down Syndrome. I met Tova when I was a ninth grader at Ma’ayanot High School; she was at SINAI at Ma’ayanot.  One of the amazing...
By Leah Commer on Jan 11, 2021
For as long as I can remember, I knew my brother wasn’t like other kids his age. There was something very special but different about him. Avi is only 20 months younger than me, but as I grew and matured, he lagged behind.  Even so, we were always very close: goofy, sweet Avi and his protective older sister.  It was always hard to understand what Avi was trying to say, and he was diagnosed as learning disabled with a speech impediment very early on. I was pretty good at school, but Avi struggled to sit still, and to do even basic work.  35 years ago, the concept of “special...
By Judah Lazar Gross on Jan 4, 2021
I have a lot of advice for Past Me, but if we’re playing the time-travel game, I’m going to be practical: invest in Zoom.  Go to Notre Dame before the gargoyles are all gone.  Don’t go so fast on your bike down that hill on Booth Avenue.  Plan more zoo trips before March 2020.   So really these words of wisdom are not for Past Me, but for any kid who has learning disabilities, special needs, or anything that makes him or her feel different.  I have my teachers at SINAI to thank for teaching me these lessons.  I didn’t even realize they were teaching me...
By Rabbi Yehuda and Laurie Minchenberg on Dec 21, 2020
We are blessed to have a beautiful family, with six wonderful children.  Four of them have special needs. A story we heard long ago about the Netziv, Rav Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin, has framed our perspective and given us the ability to feel truly blessed.  At a siyum upon completing his famous sefer, The Ha’amek Sheila, the Netziv told his talmidim that as a young boy he had been less focused, until one day he overheard his father telling someone that he was upset about his son’s inattentiveness.  Realizing the pain he was causing his father was the push he needed to turn...

Pages