Originally published in the New York Jewish Week
Written by Julie Wiener, January 15, 2013
Ilana Ruskay-Kidd was tired of kvetching.
As director of the JCC in Manhattan’s nursery school, which has an inclusion model serving children with special needs, Ruskay-Kidd had seen too many of her graduates — children who “were thriving in nursery school with support” — unable to continue their Jewish education.
And, as a day school parent and graduate, she’d seen too many families try Jewish day school for a child with disabilities, only to end up transferring out because the school couldn’t offer the support they needed.
“I’ve been observing the pain and loss of these families that the Jewish day school world is not open to them,” she said, adding that many such families end up feeling rejected not just by the day school, but the larger Jewish community.
So, with the encouragement of her boss, JCC Executive Director Joy Levitt, she decided to do something: start a pluralistic Jewish day school for children with learning and developmental delays, The Jewish Week has learned. It would be the first of its kind in New York, and is believed to be the first stand-alone special-needs pluralistic Jewish day school in North America. (Read more…)