Seventh Annual GISHA Conference:
Excellence in Inclusion

Sunday, March 15, and Monday, March 16
The 2015 GISHA conference will offer innovative strategies for supporting students with special needs in a wide range of inclusive educational settings. Participants may choose from 25 exciting workshops with diverse topics such as:

  • Using technology in the classroom to meet all learners in Jewish educational settings
  • Developing effective teacher/family communication
  • Helping students develop important social skills, and
  • Providing quality professional communities of  practice to support educations in inclusive settings
  • Interactive and differentiated techniques to teach Hebrew
  • How to help your students reduce stress and test anxiety
  • Multi-sensory approaches to teaching prayer and Hebrew College
  • Teaching student with Dyslexia in the classroom (both in day schools and supplemental Hebrew school settings)

Click here to view the complete schedule.

Keynote Address: To Be Inclusive Or Not To Be, That Is The QuestionInclusion in Jewish Education: Making It Work and Recognizing When It Doesn't

Yoni Schwab, Ph.D.
Assistant Head of School, Shefa School

Yoni Schwab has served since 2013 as assistant head of school at the Shefa School, an independent K-8 Jewish day school in Manhattan. Prior to that, he was a psychologist at The Windward School, a premier school for students with dyslexia and language-based learning disabilities, and on the faculty of the Windward Teacher Training Institute.

Schwab is an adjunct clinical supervisor at Ferkauf Graduate School of Yeshiva University and has had successful private clinical practices. He conducts research, consults and lectures extensively on social-emotional learning, behavior management and raising the achievement of students with behavioral and learning challenges. 

He holds bachelor’s degrees from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary and earned his doctorate in clinical psychology at Rutgers University. He also trained at New York University's Child Study Center in the treatment of ADHD and disruptive behavior.

Special Performance 

Never Ever Ever
Israeli Stage

All attendees are invited to a showing of "Never Ever Ever," written by Sivan Ben-Yishai and translated by Natalie Fainstein. Participants will then be offered an opportunity to meet with the staff of Israeli stage to discuss how to implement programming around this play at their schools.

The play follows a young boy who runs away from school, from home, from himself. He runs away the moment he’s confronted with the words disabled or dyslexic. Ben-Yishai provides the audience an experience of what it’s like to feel like an outsider, feel different, be differently-abled, yet, at the same time, whole.

"Never Ever Ever" is the winner of four Assitej Awards and is based on a book by Tzipi Gon Gross.

S’ftai Tiftach Award

Jay Ruderman
President, Ruderman Family Foundation

Jay Ruderman is an activist, philanthropist and President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. As president of the Foundation, Jay directs its two-fold mission: to achieve full inclusion of persons with disabilities in our society and foster a more nuanced understanding of the American Jewish community among Israeli leaders. Jay and the Foundation focus on the creation of partnerships and innovative programming to advance the mission and model the practice of strategic philanthropy worldwide.

Jay graduated from Brandeis University and received his JD from Boston University. In 2001, he became Deputy Director of the AIPAC in New England. In 2005, Mr. Ruderman enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and became the liaison between the IDF and Diaspora Jewry. Jay currently lives in Mass., and serves on the board of directors of the Jewish Funders Network and is a member of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Executive Committee. 


Eydie Balsam
Conference Coordinator