OurSpace/Special Needs

OurSpace – Where Jewish Experiences Happen for Children, Teens and Adults with Special Needs

OurSpace embraces each individual’s unique style of learning and expression and celebrates their strengths and abilities. OurSpace develops long lasting friendships and creates community.

OurSpace/Special Needs programs are designed for children, teens, adults with special needs, and their families, who want to live a full Jewish life, experience Jewish learning, and celebrate holidays and lifecycle events with friends and community. OurSpace faculty utilizes creative teaching strategies to reach and educate children and young adults with a variety of learning strengths, abilities, and challenges.

OurSpace programs are a collaboration of Temple Aliyah and Valley Beth Shalom. Thanks to the support of The Jewish Federation Valley Alliance and BJE LA, our synagogue communities joined forces in 2008 to better serve the needs of our synagogue communities and the community at large. From expanding enrollment in existing classes to creating new programs – we are here to serve you! Synagogue membership is not required for participation in any OurSpace program.

For more information, please contact OurSpace Director, Susan North Gilboa, at sngilboa@OurSpaceLA.org or 818-530-4069.

OurSpace programs at Temple Aliyah and VBS include:

Shaare Tikva – Gates of Hope (Ages 3 – 18 at VBS)
A weekly program filled with learning through multi-sensory experiences, prayer, song, art and socializing for children and teenagers ages 3-18 with developmental delays and/or Autistic Spectrum Disorders. These programs take place at VBS on Sunday Mornings.

OurSpace Classes (Grades 2– 7 at Temple Aliyah)
A weekly class for students who thrive in a small classroom environment. These classes serve students with a range of learning and social challenges, including language and visual processing disorders, ADD/ADHD, and OCD. These classes take place on Tuesday afternoons at Temple Aliyah.

  • Alef: 2nd – 4th grade
  • Bet: 5th – 7th grade

Moreshet – Heritage (Grades 4 – 7 at VBS)
A bi-weekly class for students with a variety of learning styles. In classes with a small-teacher ratio and differentiated instruction, Moreshet serves students with processing disorders, ADD/ADHD, OCD, and learning and social challenges. These classes meet on Monday and Wednesdays at VBS.

The Artistic Spectrum of Jewish Learning – (18+ at VBS)
This weekly course approaches Jewish study and expression through the arts, including fine art, sculpture, photography, film, cooking, textiles, music, and dance. Course instructors are both professional artists and special needs experts. This course takes place on Sunday mornings at VBS.

Youth Groups (Ages 7-18+ at Temple Aliyah and VBS)
A monthly youth program that provides children with a warm and active environment for socializing and good fun. Programming is related to Jewish holidays or special events.

  • B’Yachad Alef: 7–11yrs (at Temple Aliyah)
  • B’Yachad Bet: 12–18+yrs (at Valley Beth Shalom)

Teen Space (Grades 8-11 at Temple Aliyah and VBS)
OurSpace Teen Space is open to graduates of the OurSpace Solomon’s Tent (Temple Aliyah) and Moreshet (VBS) classes, in addition to teens from the community at large who want to continue their Jewish learning. This program is designed for teens interested in tikkun olam and social opportunities who prefer learning with a small group, need a differentiated approach to learning, as well as receiving support when navigating the social scene.

What makes this program even more unique is that participants of OurSpace Teen Space will go offsite to learn at The Media Enrichment Academy in Sherman Oaks. The curriculum for the first year will focus on their Jewish journey. Students will discover Torah and relevant connections to their lives; will develop an understanding of what God and Torah mean to them, will connect Torah texts with main ideas and morals or values they have learned.

Kolot Tikva – Voices of Hope Choir (at Temple Aliyah)
Kolot Tikva/Voices of Hope Choir, under the direction of Temple Aliyah’s Hazzan Mike Stein, is a choir for children, teens and adults with special needs. The participants learn and sing songs in both Hebrew and English for the pure joy of singing. While music helps to improve speech and language, the Kolot Tikva Choir gives its participants a space to raise their voices in song embracing and celebrating their strengths and abilities. This program is crafted in a way that allows members to learn and perform music that uses all of their potential. It is open to all who apply. The OurSpace Voices of Hope /Kolot Tikva Choir has performed at a Shomrei Torah Kabbalat Shabbat service, the Jewish Federation Valley Alliance dinner, City Hall Hanukkah Candle Lighting Ceremony and most recently at the Temple Aliyah original Gospel service by Hazzan Mike Stein. Choir rehearsals take place on Sunday evenings, twice a month, at Temple Aliyah.

Parent Bagel N’ Chat (at Temple Aliyah and VBS)
A monthly chat offering parents a setting to network, share, learn, schmooze and build community. Open to all OurSpace parents. This program takes place at both Temple Aliyah and VBS on various evenings.

Contact Information

For more information on any of the OurSpace programs and events, please visit www.ourspacela.org or contact OurSpace Director, Susan North Gilboa, at sngilboa@OurSpaceLA.org or 818-530-4069.

Temple Aliyah’s OurSpace/Special Needs Program is made possible in part through the generous support of Roberta & Steve Small

OurSpace Registration