by Issy Goldstein
TAP has introduced me to many different opportunities. One of the most meaningful experiences was helping out at Mishkan Shalom for Hanukkah. The TAP teens were given very loose instructions to help out where it was needed. My friend Hilary and I went over to help two people make latkes. We then learned that we were helping Lior and his friend, Helen. During a TAP session, we watched the documentary Praying with Lior. The movie follows Lior, a boy with Down syndrome, in the months leading up to his bar mitzvah. This was one of my favorite sessions; the movie showed how Lior’s disability didn’t keep him from fulfilling this important Jewish milestone. It was incredible that I was making latkes with a movie star! Lior and I made great conversation, as well as great latkes.
TAP has also given me confidence to work with children of all abilities. When I first learned that I would be teaching the Gan class at Or Hadash, I was quite nervous. I didn’t have much experience with teaching young children, and I wasn’t sure if I was the best fit for the class. But as I continued to attend the TAP meetings, I learned that the key to teaching any child, whether or not they have a disability, is patience. I love going to Sunday school and helping the children in my class learn about Judaism and how it applies to them. If a conflict arises, I stay calm and try to help however I can. Although none of the kids in my class have diagnosed learning disabilities, I still use the strategies that I have learned from TAP.