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Handbook for Special Education Programs in the Synagogue Schools

The
"Handbook for Special Education Programs in the Synagogue Schools" is designed for rabbis, educators, chairpersons of education committees, and other people who care about providing a meaningful Jewish educational experience to all children regardless of their abilities. Whether you want to start a dialog about special education, put a clear policy in place, or improve an existing program, you will find this handbook to be a valuable tool. It contains both general guidelines and specific forms.

Jewish Disability Awareness Month Resource Guide

This Resource Guide contains wonderful information to promote awareness of the challenges disabled members of our communities face as well as education and change. Produced by the Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning of Greater Washington.

Jewish Special Education International Consortium

A professional network of Directors, Coordinators and Administrators of Jewish special education services in Central Agencies for Jewish Education. The mission of the Consortium is to provide a structured forum that will enable professionals in special education to access and disseminate information and ideas on: program models and development, specialized curriculum and technology, inclusion, professional development and support, advocacy and legislation, community relations and awareness. It has a fabulous collection of resources (surveys, sample forms, and lesson plans) for Jewish communal organizations including schools, camps and congregations.

The Tikvah Programs of Camp Ramah

The Ramah Camping Movement is committed to providing a Jewish camping experience for children with a wide variety of special needs, with the goal of enhancing Jewish identity and teaching Jewish values in a supportive, inclusive, fun environment. Special needs programs at individual Ramah camps serve different populations of children and different age groups. Some camps offer programs to serve campers with various levels of cognitive delay; others offer programs for campers on the autism spectrum, including Asperger’s Syndrome. Several Ramah camps also offer post-high school vocational programs that are designed to maximize independent functioning within a supervised setting or a college campus. In addition, to Ramah’s wide range of special needs programs, three Ramah camps also offer inspirational family camps for families with children with special needs.

NAIM: North American Inclusion Month

The mission of NAIM is to develop sensitivity and knowledge of what it means to live with disabilities, and to educate communities on how they can do their part to make sure all Jews are properly included in all facets of Jewish life. These programs include: sensitivity trainings, workshops on issues relating to disability and programs on how to create an inclusive environment for individuals with disabilities. We can provide Divrei Torah to handout in schools or synagogues that tie in themes of disability in Judaism. Stories with questions that will elicit critical thinking can also be provided to help bring disability awareness to children though informative, fun and creative activities. Download the free Sensitivity Training lessons for 4th graders and up today.

Union of Reform Judaism Disabilities Page

URJ’s Disabilities Page includes tools to support full participation in the spiritual, educational and communal aspects of synagogue life for people living with disabilities and for their families. Resources cover the following topics: Make Your Congregation More Inclusive, Worship Resources, Youth Personal Stories, Reflections Articles & Resources, Discussion boards and Featured Videos. Wonderful resources for educators ranging from sample school registration forms to sample organizational surveys.

USCJ Commission on Inclusion of People with Disabilities

The United Synagogue's Commission on Inclusion of People with Disabilities sensitizes and educates professional and lay leadership to the profoundly important responsibility of ensuring that the synagogue and all its programs are accessible to those who would otherwise be denied the opportunity to participate in all aspects of synagogue life, and to assist congregations in meeting the needs of members with disabilities by creating an inclusive and welcoming environment. Resources are organized under the following topics: Readings on Inclusion, Tools & Resources, Personal Reflections, Other Jewish Resources, Jewish Programming for Kids with Disabilities.

Praying with Lior

Praying with Lior is both a documentary feature film and an outreach/ educational program. The film introduces Lior Liebling, a thirteen year old boy with an extraordinary spirituality, who also has Down syndrome. The exuberance and intensity of Lior's praying has earned him a following among three Jewish synagogues in Philadelphia, where he has been called "spiritual genius," "davening master," and "little rebbe." Synagogue-goers testify that praying with Lior helps them feel closer to G-d. Six years after Lior's mother, a beloved Reconstructionist rabbi, died of breast cancer, Lior is being called to the Torah to become Bar Mitzvah. Learn about (and buy) the movie, as well as a comprehensive study guide to Praying with Lior, which includes Jewish text quotes, many links to Divrei Torah, wonderful resources, and discussion questions for the film.

Anti-Defamation League: Equal Treatment, Equal Access Curriculum

Five lessons for kindergarteners through high school students about the values of Equal Treatment and Equal Access for people with disabilities. By raising awareness about different types of disability and the struggle for equal treatment and equal access, these educational activities challenge the “idealized notion of ‘normality’ against which disabled people are constantly compared,” and force a re-evaluation of ableist beliefs and policy.