The Center for Jewish Special Education

Jewish Special Education

The Center for Jewish Special Education is dedicated to developing a cadre of Jewish special educators and inclusive classroom teachers who can help students with special learning needs meet success in their learning.

Certificate in Jewish Special Education

To ensure that every student has access to effective Jewish education, teachers must be equipped to address multiple learning styles and the range of special learning needs of children and teens in the variety of educational setting they attend. There is a critical need for experts in Jewish special education program design and implementation, as well as for generalists with a broad repetoire of inclusive classroom teaching approaches.

Course of Study (18 credits) 

There are 12 credits of required courses and six credits of electives, chosen with your academic advisor. All courses may be taken for professional development, for noncredit.

Sampling of Core Courses
Jewish Views on Disabilities
Autism-Spectrum Disorders in Jewish Settings
Special Education and Second Language Acquisition: Implications for Hebrew
Impact of Disabilities on Behavior
 Differentiated Instruction (Jewish Curriculum — Holidays, History)
 Supervised Field Experience (open to certificate students only)
Sampling of Electives
B’nei Mitzvah Instruction for Students with Special Needs
Jewish Adolescents and Special Education
Administration of Special Education in Jewish Settings
Managing Jewish Inclusive Classrooms
 Special Education and Technology
















MJEd Option

Graduate credits earned toward the Certificate in Jewish Special Education may be applied toward the Master of Jewish Education. Additional application materials are required for admission to the MJEd program.

The Student Experience

Our students are both Boston-based and spread throughout the United States and abroad, as we reach beyond our walls with online technology for teaching and learning. Coursework can be completed entirely online or, if you live within commuting distance of Hebrew College, as a combination of on-campus and online study.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year college or university

Application Requirements

  • Completed application and fee
  • Official transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate study
  • One letter of recommendation
  • One personal essay
  • Interview, in-person or by phone

Program Guiding Principles

The following guiding principles ground the learning and activities within the JSPEP program:

  1.  At its core, Judaism recognizes that we are all created in God’s image (b’tzelem Elohim) and that there are multiple expressions of God’s image within creation (b’tzalmeinu / b’dmuteinu).  (Gen. 1:26-27)
  2. Supporting inclusion extends beyond physical accessibility and rhetorical acceptance of neurodiverse individuals and requires a commitment to implement accommodations, modifications, and specially designed programs to meet the needs of a wide range of learners.
  3. Creating an inclusive environment requires that the needs of both neurodiverse individuals and their family members are addressed so they can collectively feel included and supported by their community.
  4. Educational leaders play a crucial role in promoting professional development and broader community programs that raise awareness about neurodiversity and are critical to the development of inclusive Jewish educational environments.
  5. To optimally address the needs of neurodiverse learners in Jewish settings, educators benefit from specialized training that integrates theory and practice and encompasses:
    • A holistic knowledge of various disabilities and exceptionalities and how they both describe observed traits as well as influence identities;
    • Pedagogic techniques that support differentiated instruction, individualized learning, and strengths-based educational approaches in both formal and informal milieux;
    • Strategies to support the social and emotional needs of learners;
    • Familiarity with foundational theories, practices, and terminology utilized within the field of special education;
    • A basic understanding of the legal rights of individuals with disabilities and ways the Jewish community can work to uphold them;
    • Readiness to both wrestle with and embrace Jewish textual responses to disability;
    • A broad awareness of resources available for families who have members with special needs;
    • Tools to evaluate current Jewish educational programs and implement design changes to make them more inclusive;
    • Opportunities to better define and articulate one’s own philosophy of how to support and advocate for neurodiverse learners.

The JSEP faculty and Hebrew College, as an institution, aim to not only teach these practices and values but also commit to incorporating them into their teaching to make the valuable learning experiences in JSEP classes accessible and enriching for all learners.  


Marcia Spellman
Hebrew College Admissions

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