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Parent Story: Jewish Learning is Foundational

by Joanne and Adam, Gateways Parents

For our family, Jewish learning is foundational—it’s at the very root of who we are and how we live. Before we were blessed with our four children, both Joanne and I were certain that we would provide our children with a Jewish education. We felt it was not only our responsibility, but our deep need to share our rich heritage and values with our children.  Early on, when it became apparent that our oldest child had different learning needs, we remained dedicated to fulfilling this core value, yet we realized that he would be needing some assistance.      

Thanks to a strong partnership with Gateways, we are able to receive support services for our son during the school day at Maimonides School. The Gateways therapists at Maimonides are not only wonderful at working with our child; they also advocate for him in the classroom, collaborating with his teachers to create an environment in which he can truly thrive. We are so grateful for all that Gateways and Maimonides have done to enable him to succeed in the school of our choice.

Another of our children is thriving in a public preschool, where he is fully included and supported. He is working hard, making good progress, and we are so proud of him. But we didn’t realize how much he missed being in a Jewish school until he walked into his Gateways classroom. The Gateways staff met with his teachers from his other school and set him up with the same set of supports he receives during the week. That consistency makes it possible for him to open up and take everything in.

For him, Gateways is a path that connects him to our family life, to his peers, and to the cycle of Jewish holidays that we celebrate each week throughout the year. He loves to page through the Gateways Shabbat Family Companion and the Haggadah, and for our family, these have opened us up to thinking about Shabbat in a new way. When he comes home after Holiday Detectives, his brothers and sister want to see what he made and hear about what he learned, and our whole family benefits from seeing our Jewish life from another angle.

It means so much to us that he has this opportunity each week to experience a supportive Jewish classroom setting, which enables him to be a part of a community and to feel more a part of our home life. Thank you, Gateways, for this wonderful gift.