Where Jewish Experiences Happen for Children, Teen and Adults with Special Needs and Special Abilities
OurSpace offers a full spectrum of Jewish experiences that enable participants to actively embrace Judaism as a meaningful way of life. Participants learn about Shabbat, Jewish holidays, customs, traditions, prayer and values. They celebrate holidays, life-cycle events, and other important milestones. The variety of program opportunities offered enables participants to create lifelong friendships and together they are empowered to become active and contributing members of the larger Jewish community.
OurSpace is a collaborative effort of Temple Aliyah and Valley Beth Shalom and 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):
Offers Jewish learning and social experiences for children ages 3-18 with a range of developmental delays and/or Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Participants develop their Jewish identities using art, music, dance, and multi-sensory, interactive learning experiences. These experiences enable them to participate in a full Jewish life with family, friends, and community. Meets Sunday morning 9:15-11:30 A.M. (VBS)
Makom Sheli (My Place): NEWEST OS PROGRAM
Provides a space for children in grades K-2nd who thrive best in a small class environment because they either have an IEP or are currently being evaluated. Teachers embrace learning differences and help participants navigate their social world. This program encourages participants who have learning or social challenges to use their skills and abilities to the fullest. Integrating music, movement, and multi- sensory activities, participants actively engage in learning about Jewish holidays, traditions, values, blessings, and Hebrew language along with their peers. Meets Sunday mornings 9:30-11:45 A.M. (VBS/ECLC)
Learning Space Alef and Bet:
Creates Jewish learning experiences for children in 3rd-5th grades (Alef) and 6th-7th grades (Bet) with language and visual processing disorders, anxiety disorders, ADHD, OCD, health, learning and/or social challenges. Through a multidisciplinary hands-on approach, professionally trained teachers provide individual and group instruction that enable students to be actively engaged in the learning process. (TA)
Welcomes 8th-11th graders with learning and social challenges to engage in Jewish learning and social opportunities with teenage peers. Using creativity and technology, the participants focus on their Jewish identities, Tikkun Olam, and Jewish values. Throughout the year, participants create individual and group projects about their Jewish journeys. (TA)
This year the Moving Traditions Shevet Achim program for teenage boys in 8th-11th grades is offered to graduates of OurSpace Learning Space, Moreshet and/or from the community at large. Participants will meet one evening a month. (Temple Aliyah)
Shevet Achim The Brotherhood, is for a time when guidance, friendship, and a sense of purpose that Judaism provides is offered in these monthly sessions as well as exploring the transition from being a boy to being a young man.
The Artistic Spectrum of Jewish Learning for Adults:
Encourages adults (over the age of 18) with special needs, to participate in life-long Jewish learning through the arts, while socializing with friends and community. Throughout the years as professional artists come to work with us they have helped to discover many of our participants’ hidden talents. There is a growing body of research that points to the effectiveness of arts education to enrich our lives and it allows people with special needs an opportunity to develop along their unique paths. In addition to this research, there is a long tradition with Judaism embracing the arts as religious expression. Meets Sunday 9:15-11:30 A.M. (VBS)
Kolot Tikva (Voices of Hope) Choir:
Invites children, teens and adults with special needs and special talents to raise their voices in song. This program is geared to participants who love to sing and are interested in learning to sing Hebrew and English. The OurSpace Kolot Tikva choir is geared to participants who love to sing, are interested in learning to sing in Hebrew and English, the words of our liturgy, Torah, Jewish values, along with Shabbat and Holiday songs. In addition to the wonderful song sessions, the OS Kolot Tikva choir performs at various community events and synagogue services throughout the year. Meets two Sundays per month, plus some performance dates. (TA)
B’Yachad (Together) Alef:
A monthly social group for Jewish children with special needs ages 6-8 and 9-12. This includes two hours of indoor and outdoor activities such as: cooking, arts, and experiences playing games with a partner or group that encourage socialization and connection with peers. (TA)
B’Yachad (Together) Bet:
A monthly social group for Jewish teens and young adults ages 14-18+ with special needs. Participants go on field trips throughout Los Angeles and enjoy visiting the Science Museum, LACMA, participating in community service, yoga sessions, sports, drum circles, Shabbat dinner, and going to Sky High. (VBS)
Parent & Grandparent Bagel ‘N’ Chat / Snack ‘N’ Chat:
Provides monthly discussion, workshop presentations, and a support group for parents/grandparents to network, share, socialize and create a community of friends.
Bagel ‘N’ Chat A.M. on Sundays monthly at Valley Beth Shalom
Snack ‘N’ Chat P.M. on Tuesdays monthly at Temple Aliyah
Temple Aliyah’s OurSpace/Special Needs Program is made possible in part through the generous support of Roberta & Steve Small