KULANU was formed to answer the needs of local families who have children with varying physical and developmental disabilities. The parents of these children formed a peer-led support group where they shared and discussed their challenges. Regardless of their child’s particular disability, all families shared a common bond—that their children were excluded from the vast array of Jewish cultural, social and educational opportunities afforded to other children in our community, solely based on their special needs. As a group, they met with the rabbis of the community, and spoke courageously of their needs, experiences and dreams. Community awareness was raised on this issue through The Orthodox Caucus Torah Ethics Project, which featured Disabilities as its topic for the 1999/2000 Season. This initiative was to be the catalyst and the foundation for KULANU in 1999.
Whether parents are attempting to acquire medical, social or educational services, or are simply trying to get through the day, KULANU is there to work with children, parents and the community. Our goal is to ease the every day challenges faced by parents in dealing with their children with disabilities.
KULANU serves children who have a wide range of disabilities such as Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Dyslexia, and Tourette’s Syndrome, as well as developmental disorders, attention disorders, learning disabilities and physical challenges. Working with local synagogues, day schools and yeshivot, through a staff of trained professionals and lay leaders, KULANU provides children with state-of-the-art programs enriched with Jewish culture and values. KULANU has enhanced the midot of all children in our community and has broadened the landscape of communal opportunities for chinuch, chesed, and tzedakah.
We offer a wide variety of services such as respite, social skills, Sunday activity programs, family support, information and referral, camp programs, sensitivity training, education and advocacy for children and their families ages 2-adulthood. Kulanu is continually developing new programming to meet the needs of the over 300 local children with special needs that we serve on a regular basis. KULANU is staffed by accredited professionals, specialists, consultants and trained student volunteers. Each program is tailored to meet the specific needs of each child — a daunting and costly, but yet critical task that is central to KULANU’s mission.
KULANU has ongoing contact with local synagogues and Long Island Yeshivas such as Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway (HAFTR), Hebrew Academy of Nassau County (HANC) and Hebrew Academy of Long Beach (HALB). KULANU services the South Shore, Mid-Island and Far Rockaway communities.