What a day! Last Sunday, not only did more than 400 supporters come out to celebrate Gateways’ innovative and transformative impact on so many of our children and families, but we were able to salute some very special pioneers of Jewish education for all our children.
There were emotional standing ovations for Jennifer and Erik Bittner, whose vision and determination ensured that Boston-area children with special needs could receive the Jewish education that’s right for them. And for Gateways’ outgoing Day School Program Director Sue Schweber, for her years of hard work, partnering with our day schools to welcome students with special needs.
But the real star of the day was Noah Bittner, a proud Gateways graduate who, even after his bar mitzvah, continues to take part in Jewish social action projects in our Mitzvah Mensches teen program.
In introducing his parents, Noah showed us all what a charismatic and engaging speaker he is. My personal favorite part of his speech was when he looked up at the hundreds of smiling grown-ups in front of him and said, “When I was in middle school, I told my teachers that autistic kids were just like other kids, only they needed more help. At Gateways, when I have a problem, the teachers take care of it…. I learned about being Jewish from my Mom and Dad, and from Gateways.”
As our great friend and supporter, CJP President Barry Shrage, told the audience on Sunday: “We need to engage and educate every Jewish soul and, thanks to Gateways, our community now has the opportunity to make that dream come true.”
On behalf of Noah and all the other children and families who Gateways reaches each year, I want to personally thank all of you — our supporters and volunteers, our committed and talented staff and the families who entrust your children to us so we can help, in the words of the Ethics of the Fathers, to “teach each child according to his way.” –Arlene Remz, Executive Director
Please join us! To learn how a child can access the Gateways program that’s right for them — or to become a Gateways volunteer or supporter — call us at 617.630.9010, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us online at www.jgateways.org!