Max was introduced to Jewish Special Needs programming through the Camp Ramah Tikvah program. He was mentored by legendary Jewish inclusion king, Howard Blas, who helped Max discover his next adventure—a live-in position supporting an adult with disabilities.
Category: Camp Programsas mentioned in Mission: Possible / February 26, 2020 Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan Newsletter
THANK YOU SO MUCH for all of your dedication and time and flexibility and patience and caring and acceptance and overall presence for Max and for us during these past 2 years. We are very lucky to have met you and to have you become part of our whole Bar Mitzvah experience. You are quite a special human and surrounding all of our anxiety and crazy busy lives, we want to take a moment to acknowledge YOU. You have been a true blessing in our lives.
Adam & Graham
Category: Bar/Bat MitzvahBar Mitzvah
Please extend our warmest thanks to your team for providing J with an OUTSTANDING Israel experience. As you know, J isn’t much of a talker, but he did share how much he liked the trip and he kept smiling from ear to ear when answering our questions. It sounds like your team planned the perfect trip for him and his peers.
Category: Israel TripMother of J
Hi Howard, I wanted to thank you for helping our son, S, have such an amazing, memorable, and life-changing trip to Israel. We’re so grateful that S, as an individual on the spectrum, could enjoy the same experience as his cousins and peers.
Category: Israel TripMother of S
Thank you for leading the trip of a lifetime for our son!!
Category: Israel TripMichigan
Thanks again for providing J with such an amazing experience on Birthright. He really loved it!!
S & R
Category: Israel TripChicago
Howard did such a great job with the Bat Mitzvah for our first kid that we used him for the next two kids. We wouldn’t think of having a Bar or Bat Mitzvah without him! Our three kids are all very different learners, and he was able to create a positive and rewarding experience for all of them (and for the entire family).
AB & LG
Category: Bar/Bat MitzvahNew York City
There has never been more coverage of the magnificent deeds of Team 🇮🇱✡️ One of those responsible is social worker, special education teacher, Jewish educator and camp director, Howard Blas who writes the most wonderful sports pieces. “I find that people love the sports pieces, usually since people connect to their Judaism this way and feel proud when they see Jewish and specially Israeli athletes on the big stage.” we couldn’t agree more Howard! 😍 You can find Howards pieces in the The Jerusalem Post/JPost.com JNS.org Chabad.org
David WisemanFollow Team Israel - FB Group
This human being is one of the most inspiring mensches on the planet. I admire Howard Blas’ love for others, his ingenuity in bringing goodness and meaning into people’s lives, his knack for discovering holy corners of the world, and his simple grace. (Also he bought me really good coffee this morning.)
Rabbi Menachem CreditorColleague
We call our sons tutor Howard, the “Hebrew whisperer”
He took away all the doubts and worries that our son had about completing his Bar Mitzvah portion.
He makes the material approachable and understandable no matter what your level or learning needs. He is always positive and a pleasure to work with. We were so lucky to find him.
Category: Bar/Bat MitzvahParent
Howard Blas has a special gift for making every learner feel valued, understood and supported. He is like a magical Hebrew-whisperer and I have seen countless times how he has taken a student who proclaims: “I can’t do it,” and gets them to the bima, smiling and confident. He has the patience and calm of a tzaddik. It is clear that this is his calling and his passion and our students can feel his investment and joy in each of them. A very special teacher!
Rabbi Angela BuchdahlSenior rabbi of Central Synagogue in Manhattan
I have great admiration for Howard Blas who is the trailblazer in this field. Howard has spearheaded special needs camping for the National Ramah Camping Movement (a branch of the Jewish Theological Seminary – Conservative Movement) for decades. He has enabled this camping movement to set the bar in terms of excellence, caring and community development in terms of camping that is inclusive and directive for the special needs of young adults, even creating programming that enables campers and their families to have needs met (social,vocational, health etc) year round and when thinking young adulthood.
Although the Ramah Camps are limited in terms of the specific demographic they serve, it is a testament to that movement and to Howard that such deep, fine thinking has been done and continues to shape the lives of individuals, their families and communities. The well-developed and ever-responsive model is exemplary and worth learning about, even to then use it to evaluate other programs. The fact that it is also nonprofit and has enormous community support due to how life changing it is (including for ‘typical’ campers who get to know the other campers through daily shared experiences) is just spot-on!
You can speak directly with Howard about how he envisions camp for ASD participants and others with unique profiles, and also check out his blogs and articles. It will get you thinking about what to look for and how effective, fun and caring programming can be rolled out in a well considered, professional, warm manner.
Rebecca Mannis, Ph.D.
Category: Camp ProgramsLearning Specialist in Neuroscience & Education
What a journey! It has been so special to watch you and O connect, share interests, study and laugh. You’ve inspired him to learn, encouraged him to try and truly expanded both his knowledge and interest in so many things. The Bar Mitzvah itself was evidence of how meaningful Jewish study, practice and ritual has become for him and how much you have done to make it all happen.
You have become a friend, mentor, and teacher to me and to O and I looking forward to the continued growth of our relationship for years to come. Thank you for making the bar mitzvah so beautiful, spiritual, and meaningful and for making it such a special day for O and our entire family. .
Category: Bar/Bat MitzvahMother
Howard I just wanted to extend my heartfelt thanks to you and your staff. J had such a amazing time with all of you and she learned so much about whoshe is, including some Hebrew love it!!! She absolutely loves Israel and can’t wait to go back. Her experiences in Israel opened her to so much of who she is. I thank you so much for that. Please keep in touch with our family. We would love to be involved in all programs that brings such great experiences to all.
A & J
Category: Israel TripParents of J
We can not thank you enough for the opportunity of a lifetime that you provided for our son, E, over the last 10 days. He got to see/experience/taste/hear/smell/enjoy so much that he would have never gotten to with us or with any other group. One of the fringe benefits of the trip is the relationship he developed with Isaac and Jacob (the non biblical ones, that is!) … E will be forever enriched by the gift you gave him.
G & R
Category: Israel TripParents
Thank you for all you did to make this Israel trip a great one! Our daughter, N, had a fantastic time.!! I’ve only heard great things from her and I’m sure many more wonderful memories will surface over the next few weeks. I think it was a confidence building experience for her and I think she learned a lot. We just want to share our appreciation with you and the others! And to Birthright!!! Thank you!
N & J
Category: Israel TripParents
Howard’s unique and personalized approach for bar and bat mitzvah celebrations is the model for the future. Though he worked with my daughter Ilana for 10 years in total. The 2 years leading up to the bat mitzvah was pivotal. He kept the sessions interesting by varying the subject material and using interactive things like Internet, Jewish cultural events and newsworthy subjects like Ilan Ramon to engage my daughter at her level. We communicated regularly by phone and email about strategies and adjusting the direction over the years. He is sweet, focused and on time. Reliable builds trusting relationship with student and parents and ultimately holds the hands of everyone to achieve a customized and personal event at the financial, spiritual, intellectual and cultural level of each child and family. People cried that day. One boy from a completely non religious family was do inspired at 12 years old that he informed his parents that he too wanted to have a bar mitzvah. Howard gained a new student and family and a year later that boy from a hone with no mezuzah or any jewish content at all in the home had a bar mitzvah with rented Torahs!
Category: Bar/Bat MitzvahManhattan
There is not a week that goes by that I don’t think of Max’s bar mitzvah. I thank you for your help, professionalism, patience and caring. You have given us all a great gift.
Category: Bar/Bat MitzvahManhattan