Matan's new tagline says it all. For every child. For every community. The gifted Jewish learning. From its beginnings, sometimes to a short-term detriment, Matan has always been focused on what's best for the children with special needs, the families of which they are part and the Jewish community which needs to realize that their inclusion will only provide strength. Matan was never only focused on what was best for the organization, but instead focused on the mission. This approach has forced the organization to consistently explore how it can be a better partner, a better educator and a better advocate. Through challenging times, it is proven that it can face any challenge. This ”little engine that could,” has transformed many lives, those who have worked. The organization, those who volunteer for the organization, the families whose children are included in Jewish education because of its work, and of course the children, who without the work of Matan would be left out in the cold by the Jewish community, but most of all to the communities, the various JCC's and synagogues which have not only housed Matan supported programs, but have been transformed by those programs, those children and those families. Each child, each classroom, each JCC, each synagogue, each community, that comes in contact with Matan is stronger for it. As an individual with special needs, Jewish education would have been stronger if Matan were founded earlier, I wish to thank the organization for what it has done, encourage it as it continues to face challenges head-on, and encourage anyone who is not done so to join us in this mission.
My son has autism and epilepsy. Our synagogue didn't know how to help him, but MATAN did. They made it possible for him to learn and thrive, and at the age of 13 we celebrated his bar mitzvah. Even though he has now graduated out of Matan's program, I continue to be actively involved with them, helping them to fulfill their mission: Every Jewish child, regardless of intellectual or physical disability, deserves a Jewish education.