Teacher Edna Sable uses an iPad to work with Ian Zerkel at Congregation
Shaarey Zedek Religious School.
"Opening the Doors provides grant
money, training and guidance to bring
a special educator (such as Sable) into
our congregation to work individually
with children with special needs, to get
to know the students and their fami-
lies personally, and to ensure that each
child receives the appropriate attention
necessary to succeed as a full member
of his or her class" says Rabbi Aaron
Starr, director of education and youth
at Shaarey Zedek.
Statistics show about 50 million
Americans have special needs, rang-
ing from learning disabilities to
autism to physical challenges. While
the American Disability Act, passed
more than 20 years ago, lays out
the goals to end discrimination in
employment, to provide access to
master's in special education working in public buildings and transportation,
Special to the Jewish News
26 community congregational and day
and to assure the means for inclusion
schools with the support of Federation's in public education, ramps to build-
ager to show how technol-
Alliance for Jewish Education's (AJE's)
ings and public policies don't replace
ogy is opening doors for
Opening the Doors Partnership Program. real engagement in the community.
students learning Hebrew at
Opening the Doors was able to pur-
With the goal to raise awareness and
Congregation Shaarey Zedek Religious
chase eight iPads through a Federation- to navigate the journey of inclusion
School, special educator Edna Sable
allocated community grant.
for all those with special needs in the
unzips a sleek silver leather case and
community, February is earmarked as
opens her iPad.
From iPad To "I Can"
National Jewish Disability Awareness
"We work with children with so
Despite the late afternoon hour, Ian
many individual needs, but I find that
Zerkel of West Bloomfield, 11, was
Now a national event in its fifth
the iPad really opens eyes" she says.
easily enticed from his seat at the table year, JDAM was founded by the Jewish
"It's such a multi-sensory tool, provid-
by an invitation to join Edna for a brief Special Education Consortium and
ing interactive touch, sound, color and
lesson using the iPad.
promoted by the Jewish Federations of
immediate feedback. The kids have
"It's not too early to begin the study
North America and their communities
grown up in a world of digital media;
for your bar mitzvah," Sable tells him.
to provide opportunities for learning
working on the iPad is second nature
He agrees, and so they start with the
and to recognize the need for inclusion
words for the Torah blessing. Word
for people of all abilities and talents.
Sable, a native of Ashdod, Israel,
for word, Ian reads. Sable follows and
In celebration of Jewish Disability
spends long hours both as a full-time
records. The lesson on the iPad meets
Awareness Month, Opening the Doors
teacher at Hillel Day School and as a
with success for both student and
is collaborating with partner agencies
teacher. Ian's mother, Emma, looks on.
part-time instructor at Shaarey Zedek,
to spearhead the Detroit community's
All are pleased.
working with a wide diversity of stu-
call to action to participate in a series
In its 18th year, Opening the Doors
dents and their families in the com-
of special events, book discussions,
munity. Passionate and energetic in her
continues to grow, now serving the
and programs for educators, parents,
work, with 27 years of experience in the needs of more than 950 students in the
teens and health practitioners.
field, she is one of 24 teachers with a
Metro Detroit Jewish community.
"Our challenge doesn't begin and end
with the month of February" says Ellen
Maiseloff, director of special education
Disability Month Events
for Federation's Alliance. "However,
• Opening the Doors hosts a viewing
psychotherapist Michelle Miletic.
JDAM gives us an opportunity to bring
of the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie
Sponsored by Opening the Doors
our issues to light, increase understand-
A Smile as Big as the Moon, 2 p.m.
and Jewish Experience for Families.
ing and provide resources with the
Sunday, Feb. 10, Congregation Shaarey For parents of children pre-K
ultimate goal to inspire, educate and
Zedek, Southfield. Registration, 12:30
through high school.
empower our community to recognize
p.m.; program with author Mike
the potential and contributions of our
Kersjes and facilitator Cheryl Chodun, • "May I Have Your Attention Please:
1:30 p.m. Dessert reception.
How to Improve Your Working
"After all, our mission is to enable
Memory," an educational seminar
our children with special needs to par-
• "Kids Struggling? Parents Stressing? to demystify working memory
ticipate in a Jewish education and to
Learn Ways to Advocate and
problems in students. Learn about
provide that web of support"
Empower you Kids," an informal
practical accommodations and
education parent seminar, will be
research-based interventions from
For information, contact Ellen Maiseloff,
held 7-8:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 25,
neuropsychologist Isabelle Beaulieu,
(248) 205-2533 or email maiseloff@jfmd.
Jewish Federation Building, Room
from 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27,
org. Vivian Henoch provides editorial
G, Bloomfield Township. Presenters
Jewish Federation Building, Room F,
content for Federation's myjewishdeteroit.
are psychologist Daniel Klein and
com, where this story first appeared.
Jewish Disabilities Month
AJE's "Opening the Doors" program
supports students with special needs.
10 February 7 • 2013
Enjoy Jewish Films
With Friends Feb. 16
See the film The Infidel at 8
p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16,
at Congregation B'nai
Moshe in West
Bloomfield. Free and
open to the com-
The Infidel was
directed by Josh
2010. Both Judaism
and Islam are tossed around
irreverently in this tongue-in-cheek British
comedy with a big-hearted message that looks
at what makes a good man.
Mahmud Nasir is a loving husband, doting
father and something of a relaxed Muslim.
After his mother's death, Mahmud finds his
birth certificate, which sends him tumbling
headlong into a full-scale identity crisis. The
only person he can turn to is Lenny, a drunken
Jewish cabbie whose crash course in Judaism is
more quirky than kosher.
Historians To Discuss
Jewry Before Holocaust
The free program "European Jewry on the Eve
of the Holocaust" will be presented at 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 12, at the Holocaust Memorial
Center Zekelman Family Campus, 28123
Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills..
Three historians, Dr. Ken Waltzer (Michigan
State University), Dr. Andrew Port (Wayne State
University) and Dr. David Weinberg (Wayne
State University), will explore the dynamics
of politics, the relationship of Jewish citizens
to the state, anti-Semitism, and central Jewish
communities' attempts to maintain their
vibrant religious and cultural life in pre-Holo-
The event is co-sponsored by the Cohn-
Haddow Center for Judaic Studies at WSU. For
information, call (248) 553-2400.
Free Income Tax Help
Available In Ferndale
The Oakland Neighborhood Tax Center, 1956
Hilton, Ferndale, is offering free income tax
preparation services. Eligibility is based on
annual income: up to $50,000 for families and
up to $35,000 for individuals.
Those who pay rent, property taxes or heat-
ing bills but are not working may still be eli-
gible for some tax credits.
The center is open Mondays, Tuesdays
and Fridays noon-7 p.m., and Wednesdays,
Thursdays and Saturdays 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Appointments are preferred at (313) 556-1920.
The center is run by Accounting Aid Society
and is open year-round. After the April 15 tax
deadline, the center will focus on prior year
taxes and amended returns.
A new offering this year by Accounting Aid
Society is a self-service option, with free online
software, and a free tax hotline for those with
incomes up to $57,000.
For details, visit www.accountingaidsociety.