Expanding the “Celebrations!” Program

Organization: Mishkan Shalom, Philadelphia, PA

Grant Year: 2011

Project Director: Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

Type of Grant: Ignition

Grant Amount: $20,000.00 ( years)

Website: https://mishkan.org/

Mishkan Shalom expanded the “Celebrations!” Program for children with special needs and their families, in order to accommodate additional families, to include holiday-related experiences, and to consult with other institutions seeking to build similar programs. Ignition Grantee Reflections: Impacts and Learnings
“Where are we now, what did we accomplish, and what have we learned?”

“It was very affirming that someone outside our community recognized the worth and the potential of the program and that inspired me to think bigger. Celebrations! continues to thrive at Mishkan Shalom, now operates in four other synagogues and we are in process of finding the next cohort of 4-6 synagogues to adapt our curriculum. The Ignition Grant gave us the opportunity to create a comprehensive curriculum and to start a sensory-friendly holiday series. Each event brings in more families who have children with special needs. At Simchat Torah, we had people with significant disabilities holding a Torah for the first time. It’s brought people closer to being Jewish and to feeling part of the Jewish community, which is huge.”

—Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer, Project Director