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By Ilana Chill on Mar 7, 2017
I have a silver linings kind of life. We, as a family, grapple with some enormous challenges, sometimes on a daily basis. We constantly have to make allowances and adjustments and modifications that other families don't ever have to consider. But, because of all that, I think we're probably closer than most families. I have a son who struggles in so many ways, but who approaches life with joy and wit and humor, and is capable of so much more than he lets on. I have three other children who often get a combined twenty five percent of my attention--but who are rarely resentful of that,...
By Joanne Palmer on Feb 14, 2017
You have a baby who’s born prematurely. You worry and you worry and then you worry some more; you know that outcomes vary widely, and you don’t know what to expect. By six months, you know that whatever the percentages are, you haven’t beaten them. Your child — say your son, let’s say his name is Jacob — has cerebral palsy. You already know that you love this child as deeply, as thoroughly, as fiercely, as you love your older son, who does not face Jacob’s challenges, and as much as you later love your two younger sons. You know that you have to do everything possible to protect him,...
By Elizabeth Kratz on Feb 14, 2017
The word is out, all over the tri-state area. There is an inestimable impact on families when their child with special needs gets the right help. Often, parents can’t resist telling others about their experience, while others merely want to shout it from the rooftops. Families who seek a Jewish day-school education for their child with special needs are hearing more and more often from other parents about SINAI Schools. Starting 35 years ago as a single elementary-school program in the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy in Livingston, SINAI Schools now operates in partnership with six schools:...
By Abigail Hepner Gross, Director of Communications on Feb 3, 2017
I was honored to be invited to the Bat Mitzvah of one of our students a few weeks ago, a girl who has the most beautiful face and angelic smile. She has tremendous difficulty making eye contact—I wonder how the photos will come out, because she usually can’t even look at a camera to take a picture. And she has a lot of difficulty putting her words together. She speaks very softly—at just over a whisper, and often struggles to find the words she is looking for. There were at least two tables of her teachers at the Bat Mitzvah. The family had invited not only friends, but all of...
By Rabbi Haim Jachter on Jan 26, 2017
It is the terrifying news no parent ever wants to hear—“It is likely your child will be born with Down’s Syndrome.” After telling these life-altering words to us, the physician proceeded to seek to persuade us to consider an abortion. He outlined the many difficulties and poor quality of life faced by those afflicted with Down’s Syndrome, all the while pointing us in the direction of an abortion. My wife and I responded immediately and resolutely that we would not abort the child. After hearing the infant’s heartbeat in utero, we would not consider even for a second the option of an abortion...
By Alisa Salamon, Speech Therapist on Dec 13, 2016
This year we started the "Givers’ Club" at our school at RYNJ, as a way to work with our students on their social skills, pragmatic learning, and speech and language skills.  The students discuss what it means to do Chesed, and the different ways to be a Giver---donating money, working for a cause, visiting an old age home, cleaning up a park, etc.  Ultimately, as a group they will pick a few projects to follow up with over the course of the year.  This month, at the younger childrens' "Giver's Club" meeting, the students decided to make a Chanukah toy drive their first...
By Jewish Standard on Dec 6, 2016
On November 16, Sinai Schools held a ceremony celebrating Lawrence B. Benenson’s donation of a new wheelchair accessible van. In September, Sinai opened its sixth school, the Karasick Shalem High School at Heichal HaTorah in Teaneck. The new school is for young men, 18 to 21 years old, who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. Because vocational training is a major component of the new school’s curriculum, and because some of its students are mobility-challenged, transportation was needed to get them to their work training sites. Real estate developer and philanthropist Lawrence...
By JLNJ Staff on Dec 1, 2016
On November 16, SINAI Schools held a dedication ceremony celebrating the donation of a new wheelchair-accessible van to the school by Lawrence B. Benenson of Benenson Capital Partners. This past September, SINAI opened their sixth school, SINAI’s Karasick Shalem High School at Heichal HaTorah, which serves boys ages 18-21 with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Vocational training is a major component of the curriculum at SINAI Shalem High School, and while there was a wheelchair-accessible van at one of SINAI’s other schools, the new school also has students with mobility...
By Joanne Palmer on Nov 21, 2016
Sinai Schools, which provides personally tailored education to students with special needs in six day schools in New Jersey, is working with SAR Academy in Riverdale, N.Y., to establish a pilot program there. The program, its founders say, will open in the fall of 2018, and at first will accept 6- to 8-year-olds with a wide range of developmental disabilities and complex learning challenges. The next year, if all goes according to plan, the school will expand SAR, like the other schools that partner with Sinai, is a modern Orthodox day school. “Its philosophy and approach to education...
By Rabbi Yehoshua Gold, Assistant Director, Maor at RKYHS on Nov 9, 2016
Many students from Modern Orthodox High Schools choose to spend a year learning in Israel after graduation, commonly known as the “Gap Year.” This is no different for our students at SINAI’s Maor High School, although we spend extra time helping them find a program that will be sensitive to their learning differences or social difficulties.  The year in Israel provides a really important capstone to the learning our students have engaged in while in high school, and the love for Israel that we strive to instill in them.  Walking through the streets of Jerusalem, seeing the places...

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