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By Lori Silberman Brauner on Jan 20, 2022
Mrs. Ilana Picker has been named the incoming Director of the Rabbi Mark and Linda Karasick Shalem High School at Ma’ayanot High School for Girls in Teaneck. SINAI at Ma’ayanot, a special education high school for girls, provides highly individualized programming and specialized therapeutic services to meet students’ specific needs, utilizing a multi-sensory approach. Ilana Picker Mrs. Picker, a head teacher at SINAI who has been working at the school for the past four years, has over 20 years of experience with students, with a focus on differentiated learning. She began her early...
By Jerusalem Post Staff on Jan 18, 2022
Gaby Gotesman, Maurice Korish, Ayelet Fischer, Max Leibenstern and Uriel Ostrin are five graduating seniors who volunteered with SINAI’s Inclusion by Design program and are now being nominated for the Dov Levy Prize. SINAI was born 40 years ago out of the yearning of parents to end the isolation of their children with developmental, learning and intellectual disabilities and to provide them with a special education that would instill pride in their Jewish heritage and a sense of belonging within the community.  Today, SINAI serves 200 students throughout four elementary schools...
By Elizabeth Kratz on Dec 23, 2021
Twenty-two months ago, Teaneck’s Micah Kaufman lay in the hospital as the assembled participants at the SINAI Schools dinner said Tehillim on behalf of their board member. Kaufman has been involved with SINAI as a 20-year volunteer for the members of the SINAI Schools’ Nathan Miller SHELI Residence for Men (known colloquially as the SHELI House). He has served on SINAI’s board for the past 15 years. Kaufman had been hit by a car in December 2019 and initially no one knew if he would even survive, then they wondered if he would ever walk or talk again. His friend and colleague on the...
By Joanne Palmer on Dec 17, 2021
Sinai Schools leaders talk about guiding their students toward social skills — and happiness Students at the vocational program at Sinai at TABC work at Grand and Essex in Bergenfield. (All photos courtesy Sinai Schools) Parents want all sorts of things for their children — love, happiness, wisdom, prosperity, stability, joy. All good things. That’s what parents hope that their children’s education — formal and experiential, religious and secular — will help them strive for and ultimately reach. At the very center of those wishes, at the base of all those good things, is...
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 Esther and Jacob Schlanger on Feb 8, 2021
Tamar wanted a fairy tale wedding.  The beautiful flowing white dress, the big wedding cake, the simcha dancing.  A shiny part of that dream was a stretch limo to take them home at the end of the night.  So we hired the fanciest stretch limo we could find to drive Tamar and Chaim at the end of the wedding to their new, supervised residence apartment.  This was a night we never dreamed would happen for our daughter with Down Syndrome. When Tamar was born, we had to make peace with the knowledge that her life would be filled with limitations, but we were determined to...
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...

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