I have been trying to write this for weeks but putting into words what my husband and I need to convey has been quite challenging. It is truly hard to believe that J has graduated. It seems like only yesterday that he started first grade. What a challenge to the staff that he was. What a difference a few years make, especially after his transition to [SINAI Shalem at] TABC. It was truly a beautiful moment when the TABC graduates stood and applauded for J and [the other SINAI student] when they were called up for their awards. Clearly they are the epitome of what inclusion means.
We are well aware that none of this would have been possible without the support in all areas that SINAI provided to our family. As difficult as it is to have a child with special needs, we are blessed to have become part of the SINAI family. May Hashem continue to give you the strength to continue to do the amazing work that you do for many years to come.
Changing to a new school - for only one year, and so, so far away from home - we were so worried. From the first day (and even before) SINAI showed us and our Moshe dedicated caring, talent, patience, and true devotion to our son's specific needs. You accepted him and invested in him like he was yours for years and he (and we) truly felt it.
Moshe had the best year. He grew in skills, maturity, knowledge, self-awareness, and was so happy at school each and every day.
"The beauty of SINAI was once again apparent to our family this past Shabbat. Our daughter C is now in her tenth year at SINAI and we are always pleased with her progress and attainments. We were particularly delighted this past Shabbat when she explained at length and with considerable fluency the halachot of Borer and Gozez on Shabbat.
SINAI provides dignity to C as it enables her to be a full participant at the Shabbat table and in all Jewish contexts. Providing dignity to C, in turn, provides dignity to our entire family. Our gratitude to SINAI and all its staff is profound."
-Rabbi Haim Jachter
“We came into SINAI with tears of sadness in our eyes, and by the end of the year, we just had tears of happiness in our eyes. Just thinking about all that he had accomplished in just one year's time was more than he had accomplished in all his previous years.”
“We all have our difficulties and some of us may not get to go to a regular school. But that doesn't mean that we aren't smart. It just means that we're not ready for the classes and bigger environment… SINAI kids have learned that it's not stupidity...it's that you just weren't ready yet.”
-7th Grader at SINAI @ RYNJ
“When I first heard that Sinai would be coming to our school, I recognized that it would be a wonderful way for students, faculty, and the RYNJ community to learn how to include people with special needs in every aspect of our lives. However, for me as an educator there has been an unforeseen bonus: I get to be inspired as I witness, daily, a group of professionals totally committed to their craft and doing their very best to help their charges. I don't get to see this in the Sinai classrooms as I am not there, but it is beyond the classroom where I am so impressed, whether helping the students socialize during lunchtime, or teaching them to play ball at recess, or showing them how to properly walk down the stairs. Wow!”
Mashgicha Ruchanit, RYNJ
“As Jacob gets nearer to his 16th birthday, there's pretty much only one thing he dreams of doing - driving a car. But every time it comes up, we can't help but wonder, besides the physical challenges of controlling a car, one has to simply be able to read - whether it's a street sign, the controls, or the written exam. And for the longest time, we can only help but wonder will Jacob really ever be able to read?
Well, tonight Jacob had a homework assignment to read a chapter of his Cam Jansen book out loud to us. I must admit, though we'd never say it, we never really thought he'd be able to just pick up a book and read. But tonight Jacob did just that. He read. And it was clear, and so far more advanced than we had even known he was able to do. We were simply blown away.
I don't know exactly what you're doing there at SINAI day by day and hour by hour, but whatever it is, it's working!
I know there's a whole team of you but we just wanted to offer our thanks and hakarat hatov to you and all the SINAI staff for all the hard work you do to get results like this.
Keep surprising us! We love it!!!!”
“Bringing up kids can be incredibly rewarding, but can also be fraught with stress. Always wondering if you are doing the right things, how will my kids measure up to their peers and how will they find their way in life. These feelings magnified many fold when you have a child that requires the extra help in school. These feelings of may never completely abate, but it largely melts away when my two children in SINAI come home as happy, well adjusted kids saying that school was "awesome." They arrive home each day with the excitement of learning, experiencing and fitting in. Then and only then do you know you made the right choice.”
“It was a very difficult time for us last year when we realized that we needed to find a better school for our daughter. I remember walking out of other schools with tears in my eyes thinking 'I guess this is where I have to send her.' Your school was the first I walked out of feeling happy, knowing there really was a good place for my daughter. You gave me hope in the education of my daughter and your program, and I can truly say that we are thrilled with all that you've offered her. Beyond the caring effective teachers and small classroom, you helped us every step of the way…. It seems there was nothing you couldn't or wouldn't do to foster T’s education and self-worth, and on top of that to help my husband and me with the difficulty of sending her to an out-of state school.”
“I have no words to describe the kind of nachas I got from S at the seder table. The amount that he knew was amazing, and he was so proud of himself… We were home all yuntiv and over chol hamoed we went to the city, another day to Toys R Us, and the last day he went to visit Bubbie and Zaidy. He kept asking every day, ‘is Pesach almost over so I can go back to school?’"
“Miss T. gave me some hints about what to talk about at the lockers. Before I knew it the kids were asking me whether I was going to the Shabbaton!”
-David, SINAI student at JKHA
“We just wanted to share how welcoming RYNJ has been to our daughter P… Right from the beginning the teachers and students made such an effort to make her feel part of their class. But it hasn't just been an artificial effort. P has developed great bonds and friendships with her friends in the mainstream class and often has play dates and sleepovers with these friends outside of school. They consider her one of their own…Yesterday she brought home a beautiful poster and gifts from [class] and I was moved to tears. P was so proud of herself. She felt so good and so appreciated. And as parents nothing is better than seeing your child shine.”
“When M was younger, he did not speak until he was three years old, but even before he could speak he would sing ‘davening’ and hug his Torah often. M had attended public school for 3 years, and we incorporated Jewish education after school and Sundays. That cannot compare to being in a Jewish environment every day. We had a wonderful year in the SINAI program. After three different schools, we finally feel that we have found the right place for M. I am overwhelmed with appreciation for the teachers and administration. We want to be able to send M to SINAI for as long as he needs it.”
"We are truly pleased with the education, support and guidance that C is receiving at Sinai. Admittedly, we are still slightly overwhelmed with her learning disability, but many of our worries have been alleviated by your amazing program and team. We are so fortunate we found you and your institution for our daughter. Thank you."
“I have overseen my son’s special education and therapies since he was nine months old and I feel that he is finally in a school that understands what he needs…that he has found a home in this school, one where he can grow. This year was such a relief since I did not have to constantly oversee his program (as in other years), it enabled me to focus some extra attention on my other children. We had a wonderful year and we really look forward to many more bright years ahead to help my son grow and reach his potential.”
“Dear Mr. Fishman,
My wife and I wanted to once again express our sincere gratitude to you for being so very approachable, understanding, and generous. You strive to alleviate the financial burdens of having a child with special needs and doing so with the utmost respect and sensitivity.
It is a true pleasure to work with you.