The gift of a Jewish education is so much more than learning to read, write and do arithmetic. At P’TACH, our educators teach not only those vital academic subjects, but also the values and wisdom that come from a deep understanding and practice of Talmud Torah. For children with learning differences, there are additional lessons to be learned; the way a student overcomes learning challenges leads to strong foundations in self-esteem, resilience and compassion, all necessary qualities for achieving personal, academic and professional goals.
Introspection, the ability to look inside and understand ourselves, is a lifelong process that starts with family and community. P’TACH is unique in that we focus on our students’ ongoing personal growth along with academic and religious learning. When students know their learning strengths and weaknesses, they can advocate for themselves. Further, as students become more self-aware and effective, they develop greater understanding of others and can better navigate the world.
Children who struggle with learning differences tend to be more self-absorbed than their less challenged peers. They often have difficulty thinking of others or taking someone else’s perspective, sometimes as a direct result of their learning problems or simply because they are accustomed to the extra attention their learning differences require. In either case, specific interventions are needed to help children with learning differences internalize the virtues of Torah, service and chesed. Instilling these values in our youngsters is a goal that we at P’TACH take just as seriously as teaching reading and math.
At P’TACH, we help students identify and understand the reasons for their struggles. This process, called demystification, conveys to students – and to their parents – that there is no such thing as a perfect mind, and that we all harbor imperfections which affect us in different ways. Demystification gives students insight into their academic and personal strengths and weaknesses and teaches them that their strengths are assets that will empower them throughout their lives. Developing resiliency will ultimately enable our students to think of others and become productive members of the Jewish community. I
t is often said that children are our most valuable natural resource, and we have a responsibility to nurture them. As President John F. Kennedy said, “One person can make a difference and every person should try.” We thank our supporters and encourage everyone to join us in this important work. Dr. Judah Weller