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JFS celebrates Special Needs Awareness Month

Posted on 31 January 2019 by admin

Photo: Deb Silverthorn
Volunteer Ynette Hogue led Anshai Torah Religious School students, from left, Zane Zientz, Matthew Dubner, Sawyer Baumel, Jonah Makler and Asher Laynor, in JFS’ Inclusion Experience last year. Throughout February, JFS, along with members of organizations in the community, has created a calendar of learning, prayer, fun and activities — with a number of inclusion workshops such as this one held in 2018. The programs, which are open to all, honor Special Needs Awareness Month and Jewish Disabilities and Inclusion Awareness Month.

By Deb Silverthorn

February is all about love and, through Jewish Family Service, much love is being spread to the special needs community. It is designated as Jewish Disabilities and Inclusion Awareness Month, and Jewish organizations worldwide are making an effort to raise awareness and foster inclusion for those with disabilities and those who love them. JFS, servicing all in need regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or the ability to pay, adds the moniker, Special Needs Awareness Month.
“Our goal is for our community to realize that awareness leads to understanding, that understanding leads to empathy, and that empathy leads to compassion,” said Lorraine Friedman, director of JFS’ Special Needs Partnership and Programs. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could all focus on those themes this month, spreading a little more kindness and being a little more open-minded and open-hearted?”
The calendar of care begins with Inclusion Experience afternoons, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, at Temple Emanu-El and then from 12 to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. In addition, the program will be shared with the students of Akiba Academy’s Middle School Feb. 25 and 26. The Inclusion Experience features experiential learning of auditory and sensory processing, fine and gross motor, speech, language and reading skills including dyslexia and ADHD.
A new chapter opens at 6:30 p.m. with CHAI-5 Book Club’s initial readings Feb. 5 and 19, and then every other Tuesday thereafter. Members will have their own copies of the books and Friedman first, then volunteers, will read them aloud. The first choice shared will be “Because of Winn-Dixie,” with the film screened afterward.
“We’ve wanted to present a book club for a while. This is the right time and Lorraine, with JFS, who has written books, is the right person to partner with,” said CHAI’s Community Relations Manager Kathy Minor Schneider. “We’ll have great discussions, and this will be a meaningful program.”
Friedman will direct a PERK (Parents Empowered Raising Kids) panel from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, at JFS. Six parents of young children, teens, college students and adults will share experiences and offer advice of how to traverse life’s path in many areas.
To prepare for Shabbat, CTeen, Friendship Circle and Yachad Dallas invite teens to participate in an inclusive challah bake beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, at Chabad of Dallas.
There will also be an added dose of shalom in next month’s Shabbat services. On Friday, Feb. 8, Anshai Torah will host Yehuda Kohn, founder of Bet Elazraki Children´s Home, a residential school in Netanya for at-risk youth. Services will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner. Chabad of Dallas and Friendship Circle will also share dedicated services and a dinner with sensory-friendly activities, beginning at 6:15 p.m. Congregation Beth Torah welcomes the members of CHAI (Community Homes for Adults, Inc.) and the community for inclusive morning services and lunch beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16.
Party with the Partners, which will celebrate all abilities, opens its doors from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, at Congregation Shearith Israel with sensory-safe events including karaoke (with the microphone off), dancing, art, basketball, beading projects, bingo, cookie decorating and more. Friendship Circle, Jewish Family Service and Yachad Dallas joining Shearith Israel will be the first time the community’s four agencies centered on those living with special needs will come together. The event, which celebrates people of all needs, is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, allowing the fun at no charge.
“We’re so excited to throw a party and celebrate all those in our community who we love,” said Sarah Lipinsky, Shearith Israel’s director of education, excited about the program she’s worked on for some time. “These members of our community are so special and it is our responsibility to make their lives better. As Jews, we’re commanded to care for one another, and I’m thrilled to partner with each of the groups in our community who are committed to doing just that.”
The curtains rise for screenings of “My Hero Brother” and “The Other Dreamers,” recommended for ages 13 and up, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, at the Studio Movie Grill at Royal Lane and Central Expressway.
“My Hero Brother” shares the story of young people with Down syndrome trekking through the Himalayan Mountains with their siblings. During their journey of a lifetime, they deal with physical and emotional challenges, unresolved conflicts surface and friendships develop. “The Other Dreamers” follows four disabled children who fall in love, get hurt, dance, compete and live their lives exactly like their non-disabled peers — with the addition of a wheelchair.
For teachers, an “It’s About Ability” program will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, at JFS. Differentiated Learning focuses on allowing teachers to meet the needs of students with differing abilities by changing the content that students learn, the process by which they retain the information, how they demonstrate knowledge of skills and with whom and where learning happens.
“While the special needs movement is a year-round process, February has become a focal point to highlight the challenges of people with special needs, and to build broader community awareness of these challenges, and to take additional steps to make our community inclusive and engaging. Through Special Needs Awareness month, we bring our community together,” said JFS CEO Cathy Barker.
For more events and RSVP details, visit tinyurl.com/JFS-special-needs-february. To volunteer at the Inclusion Experiences or the CHAI-5 Book Club, grades nine through adults, contact Lorraine Friedman at 972-437-9950 or email lfriedman@jfsdallas.org.By Deb Silverthorn
February is all about love and, through Jewish Family Service, much love is being spread to the special needs community. It is designated as Jewish Disabilities and Inclusion Awareness Month, and Jewish organizations worldwide are making an effort to raise awareness and foster inclusion for those with disabilities and those who love them. JFS, servicing all in need regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or the ability to pay, adds the moniker, Special Needs Awareness Month.
“Our goal is for our community to realize that awareness leads to understanding, that understanding leads to empathy, and that empathy leads to compassion,” said Lorraine Friedman, director of JFS’ Special Needs Partnership and Programs. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could all focus on those themes this month, spreading a little more kindness and being a little more open-minded and open-hearted?”
The calendar of care begins with Inclusion Experience afternoons, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, at Temple Emanu-El and then from 12 to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. In addition, the program will be shared with the students of Akiba Academy’s Middle School Feb. 25 and 26. The Inclusion Experience features experiential learning of auditory and sensory processing, fine and gross motor, speech, language and reading skills including dyslexia and ADHD.
A new chapter opens at 6:30 p.m. with CHAI-5 Book Club’s initial readings Feb. 5 and 19, and then every other Tuesday thereafter. Members will have their own copies of the books and Friedman first, then volunteers, will read them aloud. The first choice shared will be “Because of Winn-Dixie,” with the film screened afterward.
“We’ve wanted to present a book club for a while. This is the right time and Lorraine, with JFS, who has written books, is the right person to partner with,” said CHAI’s Community Relations Manager Kathy Minor Schneider. “We’ll have great discussions, and this will be a meaningful program.”
Friedman will direct a PERK (Parents Empowered Raising Kids) panel from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, at JFS. Six parents of young children, teens, college students and adults will share experiences and offer advice of how to traverse life’s path in many areas.
To prepare for Shabbat, CTeen, Friendship Circle and Yachad Dallas invite teens to participate in an inclusive challah bake beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, at Chabad of Dallas.
There will also be an added dose of shalom in next month’s Shabbat services. On Friday, Feb. 8, Anshai Torah will host Yehuda Kohn, founder of Bet Elazraki Children´s Home, a residential school in Netanya for at-risk youth. Services will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner. Chabad of Dallas and Friendship Circle will also share dedicated services and a dinner with sensory-friendly activities, beginning at 6:15 p.m. Congregation Beth Torah welcomes the members of CHAI (Community Homes for Adults, Inc.) and the community for inclusive morning services and lunch beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16.
Party with the Partners, which will celebrate all abilities, opens its doors from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, at Congregation Shearith Israel with sensory-safe events including karaoke (with the microphone off), dancing, art, basketball, beading projects, bingo, cookie decorating and more. Friendship Circle, Jewish Family Service and Yachad Dallas joining Shearith Israel will be the first time the community’s four agencies centered on those living with special needs will come together. The event, which celebrates people of all needs, is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, allowing the fun at no charge.
“We’re so excited to throw a party and celebrate all those in our community who we love,” said Sarah Lipinsky, Shearith Israel’s director of education, excited about the program she’s worked on for some time. “These members of our community are so special and it is our responsibility to make their lives better. As Jews, we’re commanded to care for one another, and I’m thrilled to partner with each of the groups in our community who are committed to doing just that.”
The curtains rise for screenings of “My Hero Brother” and “The Other Dreamers,” recommended for ages 13 and up, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, at the Studio Movie Grill at Royal Lane and Central Expressway.
“My Hero Brother” shares the story of young people with Down syndrome trekking through the Himalayan Mountains with their siblings. During their journey of a lifetime, they deal with physical and emotional challenges, unresolved conflicts surface and friendships develop. “The Other Dreamers” follows four disabled children who fall in love, get hurt, dance, compete and live their lives exactly like their non-disabled peers — with the addition of a wheelchair.
For teachers, an “It’s About Ability” program will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, at JFS. Differentiated Learning focuses on allowing teachers to meet the needs of students with differing abilities by changing the content that students learn, the process by which they retain the information, how they demonstrate knowledge of skills and with whom and where learning happens.
“While the special needs movement is a year-round process, February has become a focal point to highlight the challenges of people with special needs, and to build broader community awareness of these challenges, and to take additional steps to make our community inclusive and engaging. Through Special Needs Awareness month, we bring our community together,” said JFS CEO Cathy Barker.
For more events and RSVP details, visit tinyurl.com/JFS-special-needs-february. To volunteer at the Inclusion Experiences or the CHAI-5 Book Club, grades nine through adults, contact Lorraine Friedman at 972-437-9950 or email lfriedman@jfsdallas.org.

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