Sha’arim was founded in 1999, when parents and educators saw the need for Jewish children with special needs and different learning styles to have access to a rich and meaningful Jewish education within their community.
For children and adults with special needs, it can be a struggle to receive a Jewish education and participate in Jewish communal life. Judaism teaches that it is our responsibility to teach a child in a way that meets his or her educational needs. Sha’arim saw this need in our community and committed to creating these opportunities for those with unique learning challenges. By partnering with Jewish organizations across the Twin Cities community, we are glad to say we are succeeding.
Over the years, as Sha’arim continued to grow, it became clear that the need for support for Jewish individuals with special needs was not exclusive to the realm of education. After hearing about the growing needs of our participants and their families, Sha’arim expanded our programming to include more partner schools, a self contained/side stream Hebrew School program, adult programming, guided social/recreational opportunities and most recently, our vocational training program.
We are helping to build an inclusive world by reframing our understanding of disabilities.
At Sha’arim, our focus within the mission of inclusion is to bring awareness to the experience of our community members with disabilities of all kinds, and to actively work to improve the richness of our relationships and connectedness as a Jewish community. Our philosophy highlights the value inherent in every person, and the strength in embracing diversity at all ages and stages.
As we support the Twin Cities Jewish community in becoming a self-sustaining, inclusive community, it is through a focus on the understanding of, and commitment to, the communal responsibility of disability inclusion.
Our goal is to strengthen our community through collaboration, education, relationship building, and the facilitation of accessible and inclusive opportunities.
Our commitment is to help empower and inform a Jewish community that amplifies the voices of people with disabilities, provides access, embraces diversity, and fosters belonging for all.