Manhattan offers the Jewish parent everything: gleaming community centres, world-class Jewish day schools, and a synagogue on just about every corner. But when it comes to raising children with special needs, New York’s glitziest borough is, apparently, lacking.
One recent Monday evening, about 150 people crowded into the basement of Congregation Shearith Israel, on Central Park West, to discuss “The Jewish Community’s Obligation to Special Needs Children.”
The imposing synagogue is home to the oldest congregation in America. The previous day, Irish President Mary McAleese had stopped by to thank its members for their predecessors’ generosity during the Great Famine of 1845-1852.
However, this particular evening there was little cause for self-congratulation as a six-person panel spoke about the Manhattan Jewish community’s lack of support for children with special needs.