Letter: CAJE offers resource for families with disabled children

I was delighted to see that the latest Oy! Magazine contained an article on the special needs B’nai Mitzvah ceremonies. There are truly some incredible things happening in our congregations with special needs students and their families around these meaningful life cycle events.

We at the Central Agency for Jewish Education (CAJE), a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation, feel that the writer missed the opportunity to inform the community about our Kulanu program, a community-sponsored Hebrew tutoring program for students who are not able to learn in traditional Hebrew school settings.

For over 20 years, Kulanu, supported by Federation dollars and offered to students at a subsidized rate, has matched students from all areas of the community with tutors who are particularly skilled at working with them. In our program, each student receives an IFG (individual flexible goals) plan that is modified as necessary to meet the needs of the students and families. The Kulanu director works to form a team of parents, rabbis, cantors, religious school directors and (sometimes) secular school teachers to support students in achieving goals in a caring and confidential way.

The expert from Arizona who was quoted in the article says that there is “no definitive data to show an increase in bar and bat mitzvahs among special needs children.” She may not have those statistics, but we at CAJE do keep them, and we know that special needs students in this city are increasingly enjoying the opportunity to participate in those ceremonies.


Sonia Dobinsky, Executive Director

Central Agency for Jewish Education

For more information on CAJE’s Kulanu program, contact Maxine Weil at 314-432-3757 or [email protected].