History + Mission | Sha'arim

History + Mission


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.



As the only service of its kind in Minnesota, Sha’arim is committed to providing an opportunity for every Jewish child and young adult with special needs to:

  • Receive a Jewish education;
  • Experience inclusion as a vital and active participant in the classroom;
  • Socialize and be part of his/her peer group; and
  • Participate in a rich and meaningful life within the Jewish community.