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Special Education and Inclusion

For many families, if a synagogue, JCC or Jewish school is unable to accommodate the needs of their child, they are lost to Jewish life. AJL is committed to build the capacity of our synagogues and other Jewish institutions to include all who desire Jewish education, regardless of their needs. We offer expert consultation to teachers and principals, develop plans for individual students, train teachers and classroom aides, offer educational resources and curriculum, and disability awareness programming in synagogues and other institutions. These services are supported with a grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Foundation. (Click to our News pages to read the Connections newsletter: encouraging, supporting and recognizing the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in all aspects of Jewish life in the Pittsburgh community.)

AJL’s Special Needs Advisory Committee served as a convening body for professionals and volunteers concerned with inclusion in the Jewish community beginning in 2006. The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh now convenes professionals on a regular basis, while AJL continues to partner closely with the Federation, the JCC, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, Jewish Residential Services and The Friendship Circle.

The AJL Special Needs Distinguished Service Award is presented annually to individuals who have furthered inclusion in our Jewish community in Jewish education and Jewish life. It honors special achievements, and promotes awareness across the community. Past awardees included Harold Goldwasser, Rabbi Chuck Diamond, Marci Barnes, Joan Charlson, Rabbi Mordy and Rivkee Rudolph. The 2013 recipient is Rabbi Alex Greenbaum of Beth El Congregation of South Hills.

AJL also supports programming such as the special education class that meets at Congregation Poale Zedeck, inclusion efforts in several area synagogues, training for teen volunteers in the teen Friendship Circle program and more.


For more information about Special Education Services at AJL contact Terry Feinberg Steinberg, (412) 521-1101 x3206 ( ).