Jewish Education at The Davidson School

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A network of Inclusive Jewish Education with Camp Ramah

Posted by Ben R on October 16, 2013 at 1:30 PM



Howard Blas (middle) and Elana Naftalin-Kelman (right) discuss inclusion at a Lunch and Learn hosted by The Davidson School about engaging children and families with disabilities

by Ben Rotenberg



The Davidson School hosted a Lunch and Learn on October 14 entitled “Jewish Engagement of Children & Families with Disabilities.” Featured speakers were Howard Blas, the Tikvah Director for Camp Ramah in New England, and Elana Naftalin-Kelman the Tikvah Director at Camp Ramah in California and Director of Rosh Pina, an organization that offers a certification process for organizations and institutions to meet the requirements of their special needs populations.

The luncheon capped off a weekend symposium hosted by National Ramah called “Al Pi Darko.” The symposium offered students an opportunity to speak about inclusion programs with JTS faculty, camp directors, Tikvah alumni, and experts in special education. Camp Ramah is recognized as a leader in making Jewish camping accessible to children with physical and developmental disabilities. Ramah’s symposium was named for a phrase from Proverbs 22:6, "על פי דרכו.” This expression, literally translated as “according to his way,” encourages us to acknowledge each child’s uniqueness and help the child learn in a way that is meaningful to him or her.


Dr. Zachary Lasker, Director of Educational Projects at the Melton Research Center of The Davidson School, explored how we can bring the successes of Ramah to supplemental and day school programs. Elana Naftalin Kelman encouraged educators and synagogues to “think about family members who are tired of experiencing a door slammed in their faces.” She suggested that instead, communal leaders should think of who may be knocking on our doors to access our programs.


For more information about Camp Ramah and special needs programs, visit the Camp Ramah website


Categories: Synagogue Educational Leadership

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