June 9, 2023 /
Many years ago, Rabbi Miller did something which wasn’t happening in synagogue religious schools – he said “Yes, we will educate your child.” With that statement, Kulanu was born. A program geared towards helping children with development needs succeed and a commitment to make sure that every child, no matter what their need may be, has a place for Jewish learning.
In the years that followed Kulanu has evolved quite a bit. We have stayed up to date with the latest educational pedagogy when it comes to supporting students and putting in the framework for having a school that supports neurodiversity. Kulanu is no longer a self-contained classroom but has evolved into a program that supports inclusion.
Not just Kulanu, but our whole religious school is built on the principles that:
1) Students with disabilities should be given the same educational opportunities as their typically developing peers.
2) Inclusive classrooms give students the opportunity to interact and learn with others who have a wide variety of abilities and backgrounds.
3) Inclusive classrooms create a greater sense of community for all families.
4) Inclusive classrooms provide a rich education with high standards.
While inclusive education is not a new concept, it is unfortunately not a common one either, particularly in religious education. There are many reasons why self-contained classrooms work, every student learns differently and needs vary. But at AEMT we have found that the best way to educate our kids is with the inclusion model because everyone deserves the same education and to be a part of the entire community.
This is one of the reasons why I am so proud that AEMT will be recognized by Matan as a Trailblazer Organization for our work in providing purposeful, enriching, and inclusive opportunities for people with disabilities and their families.
Matan is nationally renowned for its advocacy and works to envision a world in which all Jewish communities are stronger and more vibrant because people with and without disabilities share meaningful experiences throughout their lives. We are tremendously proud of being recognized for making this vision a reality at our synagogue.
You can join us two different ways on May 30th as we accept this award. You can either come into the city to the join Rabbi Miller and myself as we receive this honor on behalf of the congregation or you can simply head to AEMT where we will be hosting a virtual watch party with food, and drink being provided. The watch party is free to attend and we would like the whole community to be a part of our celebration because Kulanu really is about how all of us are part of the same community. More information about the event can be found in later pages of this bulletin. Mazel Tov to the entire community for this prestigious award.