For kids in public school, legal holidays mean school is out but for Jewish kids who have special needs in Los Angeles, it is a chance to go to a Jewish school.
On Monday, Veterans Day, 11 Jewish boys who have special needs joined Cheder Menachem for its second annual Inclusion Collaboration Day. This unique program, spearheaded by Friendship Circle of Los Angeles, affords the children opportunities to experience a few hours in a Jewish classroom, filled with learning and fun. FCLA currently collaborates with three Jewish day schools and one high school.
The day began with the boys being paired up with two seventh grade buddies. After an exuberant davening, each pair made their way to a classroom of peers, where Rebbis designed interactive lessons on Chanukah and chassidishe yomim tovim.
In a sensitivity awareness workshop, the Rebbis and students were prepared for the inclusive experience. Cheder Menachem went above and beyond! Every child received a Cheder Menachem yarmulka, a picture in front of a step and repeat and a magnet picture to remember the special day. Cheder Menachem even arranged a Chanuka craft led by Mrs. Sheina Dorn. The boys were extremely excited to make their very own reflective, magnetic menorah to display on the family car; making Jewish crafts in honor of yom tov is not part of their public school education. This was a real treat! From the seventh grade boys who were engaging, friendly and supportive, to the hanhala and every single teacher and student that welcomed Friendship Circle with warmth and smiles, we thank you.
It is a proud moment when we can point to a moisad and say ‘Here walks the trailblazers of chinuch. Here is a school that takes the time to live what they teach and give their students the hands-on skills to be our leaders of tomorrow.’
Rabbi Mendy Greenbaum, menahel of Cheder Menachem, ended the inspiring morning by thanking Friendship Circle for the opportunity to host them and do the mitzvah of hachnosas orchim just like Avraham Avinu. A tremendous yasher koach to Chanie Lazaroff, Director of Inclusion at FCLA, Cheder Menachem, Rabbi Greenbaum, Mrs. Blauner, the Rebbis, students and staff for making a ‘day in the life of a typical Jewish child’ a reality.