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Home July 2023 JLIFE BUZZ- Matan Awards Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple with the Trailblazer Award...

JLIFE BUZZ- Matan Awards Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple with the Trailblazer Award for its Work in Creating an Inclusive Community

Matan Trailblazer Award – Rabbi Philip Bazeley Rabbi Bennett Miller Gail Heyman Matan Koch

    Many years ago, Rabbi Bennett Miller did something which wasn’t happening in synagogue religious schools—he said “Yes, we will educate your neurodiverse child.” With that statement, Kulanu was born. A program geared towards helping children with development needs succeed with a commitment to make sure that every child, no matter what their need may be, has a place for Jewish learning.
    In the years that followed Rabbi Bazeley has helped Kulanu evolve into a program that continually renews what it means to support neurodiversity.
    Not just Kulanu, but AEMT’s whole religious school is built on the principles that:
 1) Students with disabilities should be given the same educational opportunities as their typically developing peers.
2) Inclusive classrooms give students the opportunity to interact and learn with others who have a wide variety of abilities and backgrounds.
3) Inclusive classrooms create a greater sense of community for all families.
4) Inclusive classrooms provide a rich education with high standards.
    While inclusive education is not a new concept, it is unfortunately not a common one either, particularly in religious education. There are many reasons why self-contained classrooms work, every student learns differently, and needs vary. But at AEMT they have found that the best way to educate kids is with the inclusion model because everyone deserves the same education and to be a part of the entire community.
    Matan is nationally renowned for its advocacy and works to envision a world in which all Jewish communities are stronger and more vibrant because people with and without disabilities share meaningful experiences throughout their lives. Matan said of AEMT, “Most communities say they are warm, welcoming and inclusive—but once in a while, one stands out by truly demonstrating these qualities in everything they do. Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple (AEMT) is one of those places. Creating and fostering a community of belonging over several decades, AEMT is a trailblazer in synagogue inclusion. This is the legacy of AEMT—a legacy that began under the leadership of Rabbi Bennett Miller and is sustained by the continued efforts of Rabbi Philip Bazeley and everyone who calls AEMT their spiritual home.”
    You can watch Matan’s video on AEMT at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bdbzK_PktU.   

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