Today: Rav Moshe Tuvia Lieff to Address Flatbush Breakfast for Jewish Center for Special Education


lieffAs parents, we all want to see our children succeed, but occasionally we are presented with a child who struggles. It’s not easy dealing with learning problems and social issues in our children. It can be difficultand confusing and often heartbreaking.  But, boruch Hashem, there are professionals and programs that can help. The pioneering leader of special education services for our community has always been and still remains the Jewish Center for Special education. 

The JCSE (formerly known as the JCSE) opened its doors almost thirty years ago as an alternative for children who had difficulty learning in a traditional school environment. The school accepts children with a variety of issues, including learning disabilities and social and behavioral problems. It provides educational services and a wide range of therapeutic services in a supportive and nurturing environment. 

For nineteen years, Mr. and Mrs. Shlomo Werdyger have hosted a breakfast reception in honor of the JCSE at their Flatbush home. The event provides an opportunity for the community at large to express its appreciation to the JCSE for being a lifeline for those children who need it. 

 “Even if our own children are, boruch Hashem, healthy and learning well,” says Mrs. Werdyger, “we shouldn’t take it for granted. And even if we may not be personally affected, it is our responsibility to help others and ensure that every Jewish child receives a Yiddishe education.” 

This year’s breakfast reception will be held this morning, at 9:30 a.m., at 1076 East 23rd Street, and will be dedicated in memory of Reb Nechemia ben Shlomo Elimelech, the father of Mr. Werdyger, who was recently niftar. Reb Nechemia faithfully attended the event every year, and was a dedicated supporter of the JCSE. The guest speaker at this year’s event will be Rav Moshe Tuvia Lieff, rov of Agudas Yisroel Bais Binyomin.

Rabbi Naftuli Weiss is Executive Director of the JCSE. After many decades of experience with children who are struggling, he has learned the importance of trusting a parent’s instincts, especially when they feel that something is wrong. He urges parents who are concerned about their child’s performance to bring them to the JCSE or another competent center for an evaluation. “The sooner you work on it,” he advises, “the better.”

Rabbi Weiss is especially proud of the girls program in Flatbush for Pre 1-A, first-grade, and second-grade students. The program’s director, Mrs. Chavi Rabinowitz, calls it a “bridge program” with the goal of eventually mainstreaming its students to appropriate schools. 

“Many of our girls,” she says, “have speech and language issues and focusing issues. Aside from our full Hebrew and English curriculum, we provide on-site therapies and counseling.” 

With three teachers for a class of six or seven students, each girl is ensured a customized and individualized program to suit her special needs. 

Several girls are going to be mainstreamed for the coming school year, but the JCSE will remain at their side, ensuring that the students are placed in schools that fit their personal needs and organizing a range of continued services and therapies that will help them succeed.        

The Flatbush program is a source of pride for the JCSE, but it’s hardly this agency’s only success story. 

Dr. David Sheinfeld says that they have begun to provide  a vocational training program for 16-18 year old bochurim as well as a separate one for girls. 

“We train our students,” he says, “where they learn different trades and skills such as writing résumés, communicating with employers and customers, and learning appropriate work habits. We place them in jobs where they get experience and coaching.  They feel accomplished and they also get paid.”

Mrs. Shoshana Hasenfeld, behavioral therapist at the JCSE, says, “I like to think of it as an Alternative Education Center where we teach our students the same subjects as all yeshivos and we find the key to each student’s ability to learn.”

{Dovid Newscenter}