April 18, 2024
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April 18, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Editor’s note: Tzvi and Erica Solomon were honored at SINAI Schools’ Annual Benefit Dinner on February 26. The following is an excerpt from Tzvi’s speech.

People often ask me, “Why SINAI?” There are a lot of important causes out there in our community, so why do Erica and I put SINAI at the very top of our priorities?

SINAI holds a special place in our hearts because we believe SINAI is what makes our community so special.

SINAI is not just providing an outstanding special education for the children who need it. The dedicated and heroic teachers, therapists, administrators and business office staff at SINAI are doing so much more. They are giving those children pride and confidence. They are enabling them to join in family conversations at the Shabbat table. They are teaching them how to be contributing members of the community.

But maybe most important, SINAI is important to Erica and me because over the course of the past 40 years SINAI has changed the way that everyone in our community thinks about and relates to individuals with disabilities.

I know, because I am one of those people.

At TABC, I shared the school community with SINAI students and it gave me the opportunity to perform daily acts of chesed, acts of kindness, with these students. Taking an extra minute to say hi in the halls, being patient in the gym and developing a special handshake were all things that I tried to do. Put bluntly, I felt good that I was doing something for these students.

But as my high school years went on I started to see the SINAI students for who they were—teenagers just like me who wanted to have friends, be social and enjoy the high school experience. Slowly I realized that these relationships were not chesed, but true and real friendships.

That realization changed everything for me, and I am 100% certain that it changes everything for every mainstream student who is lucky enough to have SINAI in their school.

SINAI is important to Erica and me because it is not just helping the SINAI students. SINAI makes our community stronger, better and more sensitive.

Close to 1,000 people have gathered here tonight to support SINAI and learn more about the lifesaving work it does.

I’m up here to thank you for your support, but also to urge you to take it to the next level. We all need to think about SINAI’s future. SINAI has been there for our community for over 40 years, and many of the people who were there at the beginning and took on the responsibility to make it a reality are still deeply involved, still dedicated to SINAI’s success. To those of you who are here with us in the room tonight, I am in awe of you and what you created.

But to everyone else, we must recognize that the torch can’t be held by that founding generation forever.

Erica and I feel a responsibility to help bring the next generation of leaders to SINAI, and that is why we are so incredibly proud of all of our friends—our generation—who have come out tonight.

To you, my friends—and to everyone in the room tonight: Please take it one step further.

Every single one of you here tonight can make a difference, by getting more involved. Help spread the word about the life-changing work SINAI does. Share SINAI’s films. Encourage your friends to learn more and to get involved. And prioritize SINAI in your tzedaka giving.

SINAI serves an important role in our community, and all of us have a responsibility to make sure it is there for the future generations of children and families who need it.

SINAI makes our community great. But it can only be there for the community if the community—if we—are there for SINAI.

Thank you!

To watch Tzvi’s speech in its entirety, visit: www.sinaischools.org/tzvispeech.

Be like Tzvi, and get more involved! For more information contact Pam Ennis at [email protected].

To donate, visit www.sinaischools.org/donate.

By Tzvi Solomon

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