“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…

Read More
[ssba]

“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…

Read More
[ssba]

“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,…

Read More
[ssba]

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…

Read More
[ssba]

“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…

Read More
[ssba]

“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…

Read More
[ssba]

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…

Read More
[ssba]

JOIN US 

 Looking for a new spiritual home?
You are welcome at Beth El.

Recent blog posts

A Day in the Life of a Religious School Student at Beth El

My name is Shayna Bennett and I’m a student teacher at Beth El. I have grown up at Beth El and have been able to call this amazing synagogue my home away from home. And now as a teenager I have the privilege of sharing my love of this place with the next generation of…

Read More
Read more

On Grief

The following is the text of Rabbi Amy’s 2018 Yom Kippur sermon: A few months ago, I was out for dinner with my book club.  At the end of the meal, along with the check, the waitress gave us a handful of wrapped sesame candies.  One of my friends said with a wistful smile, I…

Read More
Read more

Blessings and Milkshakes

Blessings are like a stop sign to remind us to slow down and thank God.  Throughout the year in Bshul (cooking class) students have learned the blessings for every food group.  I introduced the hand-washing blessing, Yadiim, and repeat it at the beginning of every cooking lesson.  This keeps us holy and sanitary! For Shabbat…

Read More
Read more