Howard Blas has a wide range of professional and personal interests. He currently serves as director of the National Ramah Tikvah Network of the National Ramah Commission. In this capacity, Howard works with Ramah camps as they include and support campers with disabilities. Howard previously served as the director of the Tikvah Program at Camp Ramah in New England for 15 years. Howard discovered his passion for working with people with disabilities when he served as a counselor and division head in the Tikvah Program starting in the early 1980s.
Howard has led five Tikvah Ramah Israel trips and served as group leader for three Shorashim Birthright Asperger trips to Israel. Howard’s most recent Birthright Aspgergers trip was December 2018-January 2019.
Howard was selected to be part of the first cohort of Jim Joseph Foundation Fellows, through the Lookstein Center at Bar Ilan University, a program to teach educators and Jewish community professionals to develop online communities of practice. He has developed a community of practice for Ramah Special Needs Program Directors and “Shabbos Is Calling,” a weekly video chat for campers and staff. Howard received the S’fatai Tiftakh Award in April 2012 from Boston Hebrew College’s Center for Jewish Special Education and was a recipient of the 2013 Covenant Foundation Award for Excellence in Jewish Education.
Howard serves as a teacher of Jewish Studies and bar/bat mitzvah to students with a range of disabilities and “special circumstances.” He holds masters degrees in both social work (Columbia University) and special education (Bank Street College of Education).
Howard writes regularly for many Jewish publications, including The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, Chabad.Org, Sight Line (Covenant Foundation), PJ Library and the JNS (Jewish News Syndicate). Favorite topics include tennis, baseball, music and disabilities inclusion. Howard has interviewed nearly all of Israel’s professional tennis players (Dudi Sela, Shahar Peer, Julia Glushko, Andy Ram, Yoni Erlich), Jewish tennis players (Diego Schwarzman), MLB baseball players (Brad Ausmus, Ike Davis, NBA basketball players (Omri Casspi, Gal Mekel, Dirk Nowitzki) and such famous musicians as Max Weinberg (of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band) and Israeli Idan Reichal.
Howard enjoys playing tennis and bike riding, he closely follows Israel tennis, and he enjoys attending concerts and music festivals. Howard lives in New York City.