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“All of God’s Children–Special Children and Special Needs” Exhibition Comes to University’s Sherman Museum


Posted 02/13/2011
Posted by David Isgur

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During the past decade, the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford has created a series of photo exhibitions that highlight a side to Israel that few people read about and which feature a topic that shows the diversity of Israel and other countries with multi-religious populations. This year’s exhibition, “All of God’s Children: Special Children and Special Needs” is an exhibition of photographs of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist children with special needs in Israel, India, and Sri Lanka.

This photo exhibition, which is one of the most ambitious photography exhibitions ever undertaken by the Greenberg Center, will open on Sunday, Feb. 13 and is part of a day-long series of workshops at the University and the Mandell JCC dedicated to the topic of special education.

There will be a teachers’ workshop that will be held at  the Beatrice Fox Auerbach Early Childhood Center of the Mandell Jewish Community Center of Greater Hartford from 10 a.m. to 12 noon on “Working with Special Needs Students in a Classroom Setting: Strategies.” This workshop is free and open to all teachers but space is limited.  This program is the annual  Regina Miller Workshop, named for the  well-known local,  Jewish educator Regina Miller (professor emeriti of the University of Hartford), will be taught by special education professor Sandy Miller-Jacobs, a professor and director of special education programs at the Boston Hebrew College. For registration (required) call 860-7684964 or email mgcjs@hartford.edu.

Following the workshop, from 1 to 2 p.m., there will be a parents session (free and open to the public but reservations are required and can be made by calling 860.768.4964 or by email at mgcjs@hartford.edu). The parents session is titled: “Helping Your Child: A Panel Discussion for Parents” and it features Regina Miller, Sandy Miller-Jacobs, and Janice Rothstein, director of clinical services, Jewish Family Services of Hartford.

Finally at 3 p.m. at the University of Hartford’s 1877 Club, a reception and official opening of the exhibition All of God’s Children-Special Children and Special Needs and a program on special education will be presented followed by the opening of the exhibition. The exhibition highlights the work of Lena Stein, an award-winning local photographer, who has photographed in Israel, Nepal, India, Haiti, and Sri Lanka. With the Greenberg Center’s help, she photographed at institutions and organizations that work with children with a multiplicity of handicaps.

Stein will present 22 photographs from the thousands of photographs taken this past summer.  Thirteen photos are from Israeli institutions, five are from Sri Lanka, and four from India. The exhibition features photographs of children and young adults from Kishorit, a kibbutz in Galilee, and six organizations in Jerusalem: Hettena, a day care center for the severely disabled in Jerusalem, P’tach, an organization which works with children with learning disabilities, Shutaf, a group with year round “summer camp” inclusion programming for children with special needs, Shalva, the association for mentally and physically challenged children in Israel,  Nitzanei Rishon, a volunteer program for people to work with special needs children throughout the year and the Feuerstein School at the International Center for Learning Potential.

Thousands of photographs of hundreds of children were taken in the summer, 2010 for this exhibition and a larger group of photographs will be on the website of the Greenberg Center at www.hartford.edu/greenberg.

Following her work in Israel, Stein photographed special needs children at institutions in India and Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, she photographed at the Sambodhi Home for the Physically and Mentally Disabled and at the Ahangama School for the Deaf and Blind in Galle. In India, the photographs were taken at the Loreto Day School, Bodhir Bidya Bhavan in Uttarfpara, a school for the hearing impaired (near Calcutta) and the Asha Niketan Day Care Center in Calcutta, India.
The photos include a montage of how children with a spectrum of different special needs are cared for and educated today and the exhibition will feature a free catalogue with contact information on the schools and more about the work of special education in Israel, India, and Sri Lanka.

Thanks to the support of the Marion O. and Maximilian H. Hoffman Foundation and the Minnie Goldenberg exhibition fund at the Greenberg Center, Stein was able to visit Israel and create this exhibition.

The Sherman Museum, located in Mortensen Library, is free and open to the public.     Docent led tours by University of Hartford Greenberg Center students are available Monday through Friday. Exhibitions include a Jewish Music display, the Joel and SusAnna Grae Archaeology exhibition and the Bethsaida: Four Thousand Years of Israel exhibition. For more information or for a scheduled tour call 860-7684964 or email mgcjs@hartford.edu.

The year 2011 marks the continuation of the Greenberg Center’s celebrations in the community in honor of its 25th anniversary. This 25th anniversary year celebrations will include a dinner honoring Arnold C. and Beverly P. Greenberg at the University on September 25. For more information, call: 860.768.4964.