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March 22, 1991 - Image 44

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-03-22

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

EDUCATION

REFINING THE

P'tach wants to expand
beyond the yeshiva, and combat a stigma
within the Orthodox community,

hen Yudi Hoc-
iser was not
ready to leave for Shabbat
services with the rest of the
family, his mother attributed
it to the typical dawdling of
an 11-year-old. That is, until
Yudi asked her to wait while
he finished reading another
chapter in his book.
Since Yudi had never so
much as looked at a book
before because of a learning
disability that affected his
reading skills, to his mother,
Bracha, this was nothing
short of a miracle — a miracle
she calls P'tach.
P'tach, which is an acronym
for "Parents for Torah for all
Children," is a national pro-
gram, headquartered in New
York, that provides a day
school education for Jewish
children with learning
disabilities.
In the Detroit area, the pro-
gram is housed within
Yeshiva Beth Yehudah in
Southfield and its Sally Allan

44

FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 1991

RONELLE ROSENTHAL
GRIER

Special to The Jewish News

Photos by Marsha Sundquist,
G.T. Photographic

Alexander Beth Jacob School
for Girls, which will move
from Beverly Hills to the
B'nai Moshe building in Oak
Park this fall.
P'tach classes take place in
resource rooms which are
staffed by special education
teachers.
Some children, like Yudi
Hochheiser, take only one or
two courses through P'tach
and attend regular yeshiva
classes for the rest of their
subjects. Children with more
severe learning disabilities
may study several subjects in
the resource room, but join
the other yeshiva students
during lunch, recess, and
school assembly periods.

Though regarded as a
miracle by some, P'tach has
survived in Detroit not by
magic, but by hard work and
devotion in the face of
challenges that might have
brought a less determined
group of leaders to its knees.
Its greatest obstacles —
limited financial resources, a
degree of parental resistance,
and an ongoing "identity
crisis" — are not new to
P'tach. In fact, the organiza-
tion has struggled with these
problems almost continuous-
ly since its inception here in
1979.
What is novel are the ideas
of the new chairman of the
P'tach board, Dr. Hillel
Rosenfeld, who describes
himself as "somewhat of a
revolutionary." Much of his
approach comes from his pro-
fessional life as administrator
of the Child and Adolescent
Clinic of Oakland County,
part of the Community Men-
tal Health Services system.

ti

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