History of FC Hebrew School

  By Mrs. Raizy Brief

   My husband and I are the blessed parents of a lovely bunch, among them two children with special needs. Our son is now 35 and our daughter is 13. Throughout the years, I have been closely involved in creating an individualized Jewish education for our two children with special needs. It is therefore not surprising that I have been called many times by anxious parents, desperate to find out what formal Jewish Special Education was available in Los Angeles.

   Although over time quite a bit has been done for our special population, our community has not been able to sustain a viable program for students who cannot be serviced in a regular day school. Some parents had no choice but enroll their children in non-Jewish schools. After one phone call too many from a very distraught grandfather, I felt propelled to do “SOMETHING.” I could literally feel how Hashem was gently but firmly pushing and prodding.

   January 6, 2009 will always be etched in my memory as the beginning of an amazing journey for our precious children. At that momentous gathering, attended by a sizeable group of parents, we had the privilege of being addressed by Rabbi Wolf from Minneapolis who encouraged us to move forward and fill this vital need. Rabbi Michy Rav-Noy, who was one of the attendees, rose to the challenge and courageously announced that he wants to start a Hebrew School.

   After nine months of meticulous planning, Friendship Circle Hebrew School, under the loving and capable leadership of Mrs. Doonie Meshulovin, opened its doors to two classes with a total of 9 students. We have been blessed to have on board a very dedicated and motivated staff of professionals and volunteers who make FC Hebrew School the unique program that it is.

   Currently our FOUR classes meet every Sunday for two hours, educating and inspiring close to 30 precious Jewish children in our sacred heritage. With tremendous help from the One Above, we merited moving into our own “HOME” on August 15, 2012. Friendship Circle Hebrew School is looking forward to move ahead full steam and with Hashem’s help expand to even bigger and better programs in the future.

 Philosophy of FC Hebrew School

Banner Image 2   Every Jewish person, regardless of age, gender and ability, shares the same need for religious connection and community. The Friendship Circle is predicated on the belief that each and every individual can be a productive member of the Jewish community and society as a whole.

   Children who have special needs are at risk of social, religious and cultural isolation. In order to grow academically, these children require a specialized education which is not currently available in local Los Angeles Jewish Day Schools. Friendship Circle Hebrew School’s innovative and developmentally appropriate program is dedicated to providing opportunities for children who have special needs to develop their spiritual growth through experiencing religious practices. As a result, they acquire a sense of acceptance and inclusion as contributing members of the Jewish community.

   Another unique facet of the Friendship Circle Hebrew School is the opportunity for teen volunteers to develop meaningful relationships with our children. By befriending and aiding in the children’s Jewish education, the teens develop compassion, understanding, responsibility, and their own sense of self worth. Naturally, they are more likely to become adults who are inclusive of (comfortable with and sensitive to the needs of) people with different abilities and actively involved with this population.

   The Friendship Circle Hebrew School aims to inspire and be a catalyst for an integrated Jewish community comprising of children with special needs, typical teen volunteers, staff, and the families and extended communities of all involved. The Friendship Circle Hebrew School addresses a vital need in the Los Angeles Jewish community.