A Special Treasure for Students with Special Needs

One of the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland’s (JECC) top priorities is for all Jewish children to have the opportunity to receive a positive and exciting Jewish education, regardless of their needs. Through the creation of the Segula program, they are able to do just that by providing personalized, one-on-one support for students with special needs in and out of the classroom – from preschool through high school. “Our program is tailor-made and individualized for each child,” said Dassi Shtern, Director of Segula at JECC, a Federation beneficiary agency. Segula was founded on the concept that all children should be taught Al Pi Darko (in his own way). We are providing a Jewish education for children with special needs. Any parent who wants to access this program can in any day school they choose. The parents either come to JECC or are referred to JECC by the day school when they say this child needs more support than the school can give, so the child can remain in this environment.”

Mariah Ornstein’s son, Sam, was diagnosed with dyslexia in third grade. She turned to JECC, who set him up with an aide through the Segula program. Sam recently graduated 8th grade from the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School, a Federation beneficiary agency, where he excelled as an A/B student. “Sam is the Jew and the person he is today because of the education he received at Mandel,” said Mariah. “But it’s also because of Sam’s hard work and the passion and compassion of his Segula counselor. I can’t thank the Jewish community enough for supporting programs like Segula and helping Sam and thousands of other kids like him.”

Segula is the only program in Cleveland that provides this level of support for kids throughout the entire day – both for Judaics and secular studies. “Without support from the Federation’s Campaign for Jewish Needs to fund the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland’s initiative and strategy in developing and continuing to manage Segula, day school would have never been an option for most of these children,” said Neil Waxman, Vice President of the Board at JECC.  

“Every one of our students has something to contribute. Every one of our students has a bright future,” said Shtern. “We want to give them the chance to make that happen and be productive members of society and our Jewish community. We are not just providing education, we are providing Jewish education, and I’m proud of that.”

You make stories like these possible by supporting to the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Campaign for Jewish Needs. 

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“Every one of our students has something to contribute. Every one of our students has a bright future."