At Gateways, we believe that every Jewish child deserves a Jewish education. Now in our second decade, Gateways: Access to Jewish Education provides a comprehensive set of services to individuals, families, educators, day and congregational schools, preschools, synagogues and organizations to promote the meaningful inclusion of individuals of all abilities in Jewish life. We exist to fulfill young people’s potential, enrich family life, strengthen Greater Boston’s Jewish community and help create new norms for diversity and inclusivity in the Jewish community at large.
Our initiatives include:
The Center for Professional Learning provides training to educators, administrators, students and families in synagogues, Jewish organizations and day, congregational and preschools. Gateways professionals offer workshops, consultation and customized training to organizations and their staff about an array of inclusion-related topics, with the goal of building their internal capacity to embrace and support a diversity of learners.
Gateways Student and Family Services programs include our day school program and Gateways Jewish education programs, through which we deliver direct services to children and their families. Gateways therapists and specialists working in our day school program provide in-school services, such as occupational and speech and language therapies and reading support, making it possible for children with learning challenges to access a Jewish education.
Our Jewish education programs include the highly-acclaimed Gateways Sunday Program and B’nei Mitzvah Program. These programs take place outside of school hours, on weekday evenings and on Sundays.
The Gateways Peer Development Initiative is targeted toward building a more inclusive Jewish community by educating all youth and teens about disabilities and differences. Ambassadors for Inclusion is a groundbreaking day and congregational school disability awareness initiative, created in partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation and Understanding Our Differences. Ambassadors for Inclusion exists at every grade level and students participate in the program throughout their K-12 education and receive developmentally-appropriate information about disabilities so they become lifelong advocates for a more inclusive and accepting Jewish community and society.
Gateways also offers several programs for teens, including the highly-selective Sunday Teen Volunteer Program, through which teens receive intensive weekly coaching and on-site supervision to assist them in working with children with disabilities. Gateways also provides training for teen madrichim (guides), who work in their own congregations, helping to facilitate learning for all students.
The Mitzvah Mensches inclusive youth group focuses on teen philanthropy, social action and Jewish values. Teenagers of all abilities engage in activities and discussions, work together to give back to the community in ways that are meaningful to the collective group and learn about tikkun olam and tzedakah in the process.