Through Tiki’s Eyes: Expanding Opportunities for Jewish Social Engagement
Tali Cohen, our Director of Tikvah Vocational Services recently posted a great article about expanding social opportunities for teens and young adults with disabilities beyond the summer. In the article she highlights a presentation made by our own Tiki Lipton, a participant in the Vocational Education program at CRNE. This article originally appeared on the blog of MATAN, a NY-based Jewish Special Education organization. Here is an excerpt:
Last week, campers, staff, and parents from the Tikvah Program at Camp Ramah in New England joined together with college students from LIST, Columbia and Barnard to celebrate Shabbat and Jewish Disability Awareness Month. As the room filled with the familiar melodies of Kabbalat Shabbat, I looked around at the faces of Tikvah campers thrilled to be united with their friends from camp, thrilled to be in an inclusive Jewish environment…
At Camp Ramah in New England we work hard to help our campers – many of whom struggle to maintain appropriate peer relationships – stay in touch in the off-season. We organize annual reunion events in Maryland, New York and Boston and run a weekly group video chat, “Shabbos is Calling,” where campers and staff catch up, sing songs, discuss holidays and other current events and share news of important life milestones.
We hear from so many of our campers’ parents that camp is the only place where their children feel fully included in the Jewish community, with strong connections to Jewish peers. While it is wonderful that they are able to find this at camp, we are committed to expanding these opportunities into the off-season and hope that one day camp will be just one of the many places where our campers find meaningful friendships and connections to a vibrant, inclusive Jewish community.