• Jodi Samuels

What A Great Week!



It’s been a great week – the $275 fine from the friendly State Trooper while driving up to visit friends in Toronto not withstanding. On Tuesday JICNY was awarded a capacity building grant from the UJA. We have been trying for along time to get grants and this grant is a vote of confidence in an organization that runs over 200 events a year with over 10,000 participants.


We also received a call from Marcia Jocobowitz, the associate principal and head of the SAR early childhood department. SAR (Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy) is the school that we chose to move our older kids to when we decided MDS was not the school we wanted educating our children.


After everything we have been through in our fight to have Caily included in a Jewish Day School, I have great difficulty finding the words to describe my gratitude, appreciation and admiration for what SAR has done for Caily and our family. We are so happy to be associated with a school that has acted in such a positive and Torah way. THIS is the school that we want educating all of our children.


The events that culminated in the wonderful phone call to tell us that Caily was accepted started over a year ago when we received a call from Rabbi Kraus, the principal. He told us that he had heard about all the problems we were having with getting Caily into a Jewish day school and invited us to come meet with him and Marcia.


It was a wonderful meeting, they listened, asked questions, reviewed the reports that we had brought with us and ended the discussion by telling us, “We have other special needs children in our school, we have never had a child with Down syndrome but we are willing to try do what is necessary to make it work”. We were honestly almost moved to tears by their kind words. That magical word “TRY” is all we ever asked for. Every professional that has ever assessed Caila has told us that she is an excellent candidate for inclusion. No-one is sure that inclusion will be the right long term solution for her but we do know that given how amazingly well she is doing, we are obligated to at least TRY.


Caily had her formal assessment at the early childhood department 3 weeks ago. Marcia was kind and patient and clearly very experienced. She told us that she would love to have Caily in the school but that spaces were very limited and we would have to wait a couple more weeks to find out if they had a place for her.


And so once again, SAR has shown why it is a trail blazer and shining star in the Jewish Day School world. Not only did they accept Caily but they reached out to us!


WHERE OTHERS SAID “NO”, SAR CHOSE TO SAY “YES”


WHERE OTHERS SAID “IT’S TOO DIFFICULT”, SAR SAID, “WE’LL TRY”


WHERE OTHERS SAID, “WE DON’T HAVE THE RESOURCES”, SAR SAID, “THE ONLY RESOURCES WE NEED IS AN OPEN HEART AND MIND”


WHERE OTHERS ONLY ACCEPT DESIGNER PERFECT, SAR UNDERSTANDS THAT LIFE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT TO BE WONDERFUL


WHERE OTHERS PUT PRECONDITIONS ON JEWISH EDUCATION, SAR UNDERSTANDS THAT A JEWISH EDUCATION IS THE UNDENIABLE AND UNEQUIVOCAL RIGHT OF EVERY JEWISH CHILD


WHEN G-D GIVES YOU A SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD, THAT IS G-D’S CHOICE, HOW WE CHOOSE TO TREAT THAT CHILD IS OUR CHOICE. THANK YOU SAR FOR MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE


Originally published: February 19, 2012

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