P'EIR News

P’EIR organises ‘inclusion’ training for Rabbis and Rebbetzens
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Friday 22nd June 2018

P’EIR  Teamed up last week with the Gesher School to deliver the first ever professional development seminar for rabbis and rebbetsens dedicated to ‘Neurodiversity, Inclusion and Community’. The programme was opened by Rabbi Chaim Kanterovitz (senior rabbi of Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue) who is the religious principal of Gesher School. He introduced Sarah Sultman, co-founder of the school who scoped general concerns over provision for neurodiverse individuals and their families in synagogue communities.

Core training was then delivered by head teacher Gianna Colizza – who specialises in the educational needs of children with autism – and by deputy head, Leor Harel who focussed on inclusion issues within shul environments and childrens’ services.

During the latter part of the day, speech therapist and Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue’s Chazan, Avromi Freilich described  how he works with families to achieve a meaningful outcome for the celebration of Bar/ BatMitzvah of children with learning difficulties. Following on, Rebbetsen Lauren Levin (South Hampstead) encouraged those present to think about how they can make inclusion in our communities ‘real’.

In the concluding session, Rabbi David Mason (Muswell Hill Synagogue) facilitated a general discussion among those who had participated throughout the day. 

Rabbi Dr Julian Shindler (P’EIR programmes director) observed that ‘the day’s training had proved very effective at raising awareness about the challenges that many families encounter in their interaction with normal communal life. Participants had been very engaged with this training and we are hopeful that this will lead to greater inclusion in our synagogues.’