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August 03, 1984 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-08-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

26 Friday, August 3, 1984



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Our seven-year-old son is
mentally impaired. Are
there any Jewish programs
for mentally or emotionally
impaired children?
"Our goal is to provide a
Jewish education for every
Jewish child, to educate
each child to his potential."
These words, spoken by
Bayla Landsman, special
education coordinator for
United Hebrew Schools, ex-
plains the dedication and
determination underlying
three area special education
Temple Beth El's Pro-
gram for Exceptional Chil-
dren and United Hebrew
School's Special Education
Program receive funds from
a grant by; the. Norman
Shulevitz Foundation of the
Jewish Welfare Federation.
Both programs accept
children with mental or
emotional impairments.
They offer individualized
instruction, experiential
learning and a support sys-
tem for parents of special
children while providing
these families with a neces-
sary link to the Jewish
A related special program
is housed at Yeshivath Beth
Yehudah for children with
learning disabilities who
would like an Orthodox day
school education. "P'tach,"
the acronym for "Parents
for Torah for all Children,"
is a national organization
which provides special as-
8i-stance for children with
learning disabilities. With
this extra help, children,
kindergarten through 12th
grade, are mainstreamed
into the regular curriculum
as much as possible. How-
ever, the program does not
accommodate children with
emotional or mental im-
pairments. Interested par-
ents should call Rabbi
Nachman Kahn, 557-6750.
Mrs. Rose Werney, coor-
dinator of Temple Beth El's
Program for Exceptional
Children, is a sensitive,
enthusiastic woman with a
mission. Eight years ago
she recognized that parents
of disabled children needed
a synagogue or temple
which would educate spe-
cial children and accept
these families into the
mainstream of congrega-
tion life.
Working on her master's
thesis at the time, she chose
as her topic, "Education for
Exceptional Children in
Religious School." Together
with the rabbis she put to-
gether a curriculum, re-
cruited teachers-and volun-
teers, and in 1977 began
servicing eight children.
This fall, the program
will accommodate 16 stu-
dents; the youngest is six,
the oldest 22. Four teachers
and many volunteers use
three classrooms and meet

Shown making a holiday project at Temple Beth El are, from
left, Abbey Katchke, Steven Ludwig, an unidentified
student, and Kevan Shink at right.

once a week on Saturday.
Their morning includes a
lesson: At 11 a.m. the chil-
dren and their teachers join
the congregation for Shab-
bat services.
The program focuses,
primarily on an active, sera=
sory Judaism, vibrant in
song, holidays, food, crafts
and stories. Conversational
Hebrew is taught and chil-

programs aid
Jewish children
with special


dren who are able also learn
to read Hebrew.
From the program's be-
ginning, Mrs. Werney has
worked to mainstream her
students, while educating
and sensitizing students
from the main program to
the needs and individuality
of special children. She in-
stituted a program named
"Chaverim" in which
seventh and eighth grade
students may spend one
school year acting as
"chaverim" or friends to her
students. Attending only
the special education
classes, the chaverim par-
ticipate in the learning ex-
perience, sometimes acting
out stories., creating visual
aids or offering individual
assistance. They also must
complete three reports on
handicaps and adhere to a
strict attendance policy.
Mrs. Werney's program
has grown along with the
needs of her special stu-
dents. Students receive in-
struction for their bar or bat
mitzvahs and participate as
fully as they are able. Dur-
ing the next school year
there will be four children
preparing for this sinicha.
New this coming school
year is a program preparing
approximately:, four 20-
year-old students foi` their
confirmatiOn Modeled filter
the main curriculum; tend

tailored to their needs, the
confirmation class will cul-
minate in a special confir-
mation program.
Mrs. Werney urges par-
ents of disabled children to
become involved as early as
possible in their children's
Jewish education. Her par-
ents' group has always been
close knit and supportive.
They enthusiastically par-
ticipate in all school pro-
grams: Pesach Seder, Shab-
bat dinner, plays, parties
and field trips.
There are many benefits
for the children in Temple
Beth El's Program for Ex-
ceptional Children. They
grow as individuals, form
close 'friendships and de-
velop their Jewish identity.
Mrs. Werney explains,
ey practice what the
Torah teaches about how to
treat another human being.
They care so much about
One another and look for-
ward to seeing each other."
The Program for Excep-
tional Children is open to
Temple members and
non-members. Interested
parents should call Mrs.
Werney, evenings at 355-
3145, or the Temple office,
851-1100, and ask for Alan
Waldman, Temple Beth El's
religious school director.
Mrs. Bayla Landsman,
special education coor-
dinator for United Hebrew
Schools, is determined to
offer a meaningful Jewish
education.to "anyone who
presents himself and has a
need." She, oversees a pro-
gram of 27 students who
range in age from 7 to 18
years and are either emo-
tionally or mentally im-
paired, or learning disabled.
The UHS Specie Educa-
tion Program caters to indi-
vidual needs, grouping
children according to their
abilities. Children attend
either once or twice a week.
Using a multi-sensory ap-
proliCh, the students touch,
see, feel and hear Judaism.
Music and drama are expe-
cially important.
.4frs.- Landsman stresses

Continued on Page 30

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