Jewish Special Education
The Hebrew College Jewish Special Education Program (JSEP) enables professionals working in diverse Jewish educational environments to acquire the theoretical education and practical skills necessary to develop strengths-based, inclusive learning environments for learners with a wide range of abilities and serve as advocates for neurodiversity inclusion within the Jewish community.
The JSEP specilization includes five classes directly related to the area of Jewish special education as well as a course designed to strengthen the student's overall readiness to be a leader in the field of Jewish special education. Studentsmust also incorporate special education into at least one of their field placements.
|Building Bridges through Curriculum Design and Instruction|
|Encountering Neurodiversity within Jewish Education|
|Creating Inclusive Learning Environments|
|Decision Making in Special Education|
|Positive Behavior Support|
|Supervised Field Experience (required for Master's degree students only)|
|Designing Diverse Learning Experiences|
|Neurodiversity Across the Jewish Lifespan (Summer intensive)|
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.
Program Guiding Principles
The following guiding principles ground the learning and activities within the JSEP program:
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Hebrew College Admissions