“Not a man of words”: What Inclusion Looks Like

Categories: Inclusion, Not a man of words, Religious School
 

It’s funny how a thing takes on a life of its own. You may begin a project with one idea in mind, and then something else—something unexpected and better—happens instead. Last month an infographic made its way around social media as part of a disability awareness campaign. Four images (shown above) reflect the differences between…

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“Not a man of words”: See me–Hear me–Feel me

Categories: Inclusion, Not a man of words, Religious School
 

When special education teachers work with Martin, they adapt curriculums to help him meet his educational goals. We are trying to take a similar approach to helping Martin fully participate in his Bar Mitzvah service. Jeff and I are not specialists in autism education, but over the years we’ve worked with many speech, occupational, and…

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“Not a man of words”: Back to the Drawing Board

Categories: Inclusion, Not a man of words, Religious School
 

This past month I took Martin to our synagogue’s first All-Religious-School Shabbat service, a family-friendly Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat with songs and class presentations that featured interactive percussion performances. The atmosphere was warm and casual, and the Sufrin sanctuary was nearly full when we arrived more than a few minutes late. I scanned the room,…

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Steam Team Update!

Categories: Inclusion, Religious School
 

This month the Steam Team’s meeting was a Chanukah Extravaganza! In addition to working together to help Martin with his Bar Mitzvah preparation, the Steam Team friends lit the menorah, played with trains (of course!), and topped off the session by making sufganiot with Morah Carole.  Step 1 when making sufganiot? Flour your hands! You can…

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“Not a man of words”: YouTube with the Rabbi

Categories: Inclusion, Not a man of words, Religious School
 

Kids who are preparing for their Bar or Bat Mitzvahs typically schedule weekly meetings with the rabbi. During these half-hour sessions, the rabbi helps each student compose a D’var Torah (or sermon)—this may be a young person’s first experience closely interpreting a biblical text and discussing it with a teacher. As the child’s Bar or…

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“Not a man of words”: Our First Martin Shabbat

Categories: Inclusion, Not a man of words, Religious School
 

As part of our Bar Mitzvah preparation plan, we have scheduled Martin to attend a number of Shabbat morning services over the coming months and to participate in some small way during the service. We haven’t planned out exactly what he will do each time, although an official name for these Saturday morning practice sessions…

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Steam Team Update!

Categories: Inclusion, Religious School
 

The Zayin class “Steam Team” had a great first session this week! Our 7th graders are making a real difference as they support their classmate Martin and help him prepare for his Bar Mitzvah.  The Steam Team helps Martin learn parts of the Shabbat service, but they also have fun together hanging out, playing with…

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Recent blog posts

Cloth Napkins: One Small Step to Reducing Waste

It is hard for all of us to be thinking about the environment during the pandemic, but it is still possible to maintain some of our green practices despite the situation. Since we all are spending more time at home these days, and specifically in the kitchen, I thought I would focus there. This tip…

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Try Composting to Reduce Household Waste

When considering all the things people can do to decrease waste, I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss composting. It is an age-old method of greatly reducing waste that can all be done from your own home. The potential impact is enormous, as the EPA estimates that food scraps and yard waste together make up…

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Redefining Trash and Moving Away from the Curb

Redefining trash and moving away from the curb.  That has been the theme at my house as the years have passed and we put less trash and recycling out for collection. Why? The amount of waste humans produce is astonishing and not sustainable. Many communities, my own included, have been aghast at the recent reduction in…

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