June 19, 1997
Address Special Needs
He initially was passed through the system until third grade. After one year in public school where things seemed to improve, we tried to get him back into the day school system. Two schools with "resource rooms" said it would be too much and too difficult for their schools. Etta Israel's answer to us was that there was not enough people with his specific disability to produce a class.
We strongly urge other parents of children in our Jewish day schools to stop pretending that it is a shanda, so that more services will be available within the community, just by sheer numbers.
Los Angeles has developed more kosher restaurants than specific schools to address the needs that are in our childhood population. We are no more immune from ingrown toenails and mental illness than other communities. That fact that Jewish L.A. is relatively younger than the East Coast is simply no excuse for producing what we need now. This should be the highest priority, since their are enough pizza restaurants and regular Jewish day schools.
We simply cannot expect the teachers and rabbis in the institutions that we support to be wholly responsible for the educational and emotional disabilities of our children. They should not be responsible for passing out medications in class nor handling behaviors that they haven't received professional training or education about.
As parents, it is our responsibility to set the standards by living the midos and Torah values and the school is there to teach the four R's (the fourth being Rashi.) So far no school in the L.A. Jewish community wants to call itself a special needs school. The positive Torah commandment is to "teach each child according to their needs." As we seek the proper care for the educational and emotional upbringing of our son, we too receive the "how could you be putting him in public school?" approach from many of our friends. We are hoping to bring a responsible, competent, independent learner into our nation.
Harry and Beth Green
Beverly Gray raises poignant issues in her article "Neglecting Those With Special Needs," (June 6).
Among such children with special needs are those who would otherwise be considered bright children, such as those labeled as attention deficit disorder, whom she mentioned in her article. Such youngsters are often in an educational limbo whether in the public or the Jewish day school setting -- too bright to be eligible for special education programs, yet, for whatever the reason, not capable of obtaining full benefit from the usual classroom education.
There are numerous factors which can interfere with a child's learning. Besides the usual culprits -- visual or auditory processing and attention or hyperactivity disorders -- there are personal issues such as family discord, adjusting to new school or friends, or the acquisition of English for children of recent immigrants (especially relevant for children who are learning Hebrew as well as English). Any of these can torpedo the child's attempt to learn.
Even the best, most talented teacher in the best setting can not accommodate all of the different approaches that children need in the process of learning.
However, such children are able to benefit from individualized attention, as a supplement to their regular schooling, either after school, or during vacation. At Huntington Learning Center, we have been working with many such children. In this setting, with individual attention, and a tailor-made learning program, the child gains confidence and motivation which carry over into the traditional classroom setting.
If only both public and day schools could have the resources to do all that is needed for the children. In the meantime, in such cases, parents have to do their own research to find the best possible supplement for their child's educational needs.
Ofra and Norbert Weinberg
Directors, The Huntington Learning Center
Learning About Crum
I have just finished reading the article about Bart Crum in the June 6 edition of the Jewish Journal. I found this article by Robert Eshman very interesting, and learned many things about Crum that I had not known.
However, I was very surprised that no mention was made of his book "Behind the Silken Curtain," written after he served on the Anglo-American Committee. It details the double dealings and anti-Jewish feelings of our own State Department, as well as that of the British. I read that book soon after it was published, and realized for the first time why the British were so hated by the Irish !
She Has Her Place
In response to the question, "Does she have no place in this memorial?" (the recently dedicated Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C. (Letters, "Where's Eleanor?", June 6), a larger-than-life-size sculpture of her stands in the memorial's fourth room. Quoting from a booklet available for purchase at the memorial: "...It is the first presidential memorial to honor a first lady -- Neil Estern's bronze sculpture of Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) pays tribute to her transforming the role of first lady, her humanitarianism, and her service as a delegate to the United Nations."
Your story in the June 13 issue entitled "Going Her Way" by Robert Eshman was truly inspiring. The story, still in the making, of Haviva Kohl is a shining example and source of nachas for Jewish teachers who dedicate their lives, on a daily basis, to keep the flame of Judaism and Torah burning.
Her words, "The people I most respect are the people who know what they want to do and don't let anything stop them," are a true testament to her and the Jewish schools she attended.
The personal blessing she received from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, is a blessing that continues to motivate us each and every day.
However, the correct spelling for Chabad's girls' school on Pico is Chabad Bais Chaya Mushka School for Girls, honoring the memory of the Rebbe's wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, of blessed memory.
The Staff and Teachers
Chabad Bais Chaya Mushka School for Girls
Author Seeks Letters
"God loves me because you are in the hands of such good people, whom I thank with all my heart. I hope that God will have mercy upon us...I bless you, you my dearest, and I will love you till my last breath." -- Elsa Klauber, Vienna, 1942
These words are part of the last letter Elsa wrote to her daughter Annemarie on the eve of her deportation. She did not survive the war.
With the letter, discovered hidden in a drawer after Annemarie's death, the heavy silence of a family exterminated was broken. Elsa's brave and beautiful words rescued her from the anonymity of the mass graves and gas chambers. They live on, and through them, her dignity is restored.
To catch a glimpse into the lives of those lost to family and friends, we are preparing an annotated collection of Holocaust correspondence. These letters reveal, in a unique and compelling way, the dire circumstances, powerful hopes and fears, and incredible strength of spirit of so many victims.
We want to hear from any readers who are in possession of letters from one spouse to another, from parent to child, or child to parent, from a family member, a friend, or a co-worker. Copies, not original letter, will be used for research purposes.
We gratefully accept correspondence in any language. Correspondence should be sent to : Carla Wittes, c/o Holocaust Education and Memorial Centre of Toronto, 4600 Bathurst St., North York, Ontario, Canada M2R 3V2; phone (416) 631-5689; fax (416) 635-0925; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Note of Gratitude
Recently, a group of people from Korea drove in from Chino Hills. Two young ladies interviewed me: Elena Paik and Elizabeth Yoon.
I am a survivor of the Holocaust and I was recommended to them by the Museum of Tolerance, where I have done volunteer work since 1989.
Schatzi on Main gave me permission to set us up in their backyard, away from the noise of the traffic.
It was two and a half hours of absolute "torture" for me, but as I always say: It has to be done... Thank God, that some of "us" are still here to talk about it.
Their response was wonderful and I would like to share the cards I received with your readers.
Dear Mrs. Goldstein:
Thank you so much for all the help you've given us. We just wanted to show our appreciation to you through this card, but even that wouldn't show all our gratitude.
I thought you'd want to know that our class and teacher appreciated very much your time, and are very thankful. Elizabeth and I were the few people in all the classes to actually interview a real Holocaust survivor.
I hope you know I admire your courage and strength and that I learned a lot from meeting you. Thank you once again.
Much love always,
Dear Mrs. Goldstein:
I thought about you many, many times after the interview. I really wanted to do something to express our gratitude but all we could think of was this card. We want you to know that the day of the interview was such a great experience for us. We watched the video tape over again and we still couldn't get enough of it.
We want you to know that we got an "A" on our project. Our teacher was very impressed and some of our classmates even had tears in their eyes. It was very hard for all of us to comprehend everything you went through.
Elena and I want you to know what an inspiration you are to us. We want to thank you for your time, your wisdom, and your courage. I hope you know that you are making a difference in people's lives by doing what you do. I know for sure that you've made a difference in ours.
Please take care of yourself and good luck to you always. You deserve the best in the world. We would love to hear from you once in a while. Please keep in touch with us.
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