Imagine walking into your synagogue, your JCC, your camp or your school, and placed centrally on the front wall was a plaque that stated that the institution was Special Needs Certified. It assures you that your Jewish home was a place in which all could feel welcome and everyone was included. Rosh Pina will support Jewish institutions to become special needs certified by leading them through a year-long journey during which the institution engages in deep study on the board, clergy, lay leader and teacher level, and will include aspects of community building, program modification and development. Rosh Pina will be a national home for organizations and institutions to turn to while learning how to become more inclusive of all of our communities’ members.
Elana has been working at the intersection of special education and Jewish education for over 15 years. She directs the Tikvah program for kids with special needs at Camp Ramah in California, which includes a camper program, a vocational program for young adults, and a camp for families that have children with special needs. Elana has consulted with multiple Jewish institutions to aid them in thinking about how to be more inclusive of Jews of all abilities. She has taught professional development courses in differentiated instruction, behavior management and teaching Hebrew. She was the co-founder of Edah, a Jewish after school program located in Berkeley, California, and lives there with her husband and three boys, Yair, Nevo and Etai.