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Maor Made Me Who I Am Today

By: Menashe S.
SINAI Maor Class of 2015

From a speech given by Menashe in December 2022:

I am a proud graduate of Maor High school. Maor was a savior for me.  Before I came to Maor, I was in various schools all purporting to be better than the last. My confidence was low. I felt dejected.

I hopped from school to school, continually struggling academically. If I recall correctly, I had moved schools about 5 times before Maor.  It took a long time until I was diagnosed with ADHD, and even though I worked with many tutors, I was frustrated, and I hated school. Even though I was even in a special ed school, I barely passed in 8th grade. My parents knew I needed to be in a school that understood my challenges and could give me what I needed to succeed. Finally, in 9th grade, I started Maor High School at RKYHS, and that is when things finally began to change for me.

At Maor, my teachers were more than just educators. This kind of special education was quite different than what I had received before. My teachers became my mentors and role models.  They taught me about discipline, dedication, and perseverance.  After all these years I finally had teachers who could teach me the skills I needed, and taught me how to study.  They showed me how to believe in myself, and they built my joy in learning. That joy has very much remained with me.

During my first year at Maor, I joined the Kushner wrestling team, which was made up of a mix of Kushner and Maor students.  All the extracurricular activities are open to the Maor students and fostered such an inclusive environment that nobody even knew we were technically Maor students.  I ended up placing first at The Henry Wittenberg Yeshiva wrestling tournament my senior year.

After I graduated from Maor I went on to the University of Hartford where I graduated with Honors, receiving Magna Cum Laude. Today, I am pursuing my master’s degree in professional counseling at Seton Hall University. I plan on earning a doctorate at the completion of my master’s program.

None of this would have even been fathomable if not for Maor and all the teachers who spent endless days, weeks, and, quite literally, years working with me to improve my academic skills and making me the individual I am today. 

I’ve seen the difference it can make when you have the right support. The emotional support Maor provided very much influenced my decision to pursue a career in counseling.

For many students who struggle with social/emotional or learning issues, Maor is a haven. I often wonder where I would be without Maor. This thought scares me.

Today I am the head coach of the Kushner wresting team.  WITH Maor students. Whereas their challenges may differ from my own, I very much see myself in them.  

Maor is not separate from Kushner, rather it’s part of Kushner.  The inclusive atmosphere fostered by [RKYHS head of school] Rabbi Rubin on down is truly excellent.

People talk about stigma, but I want you to know how proud I am that I attended Maor.  Maor was where I could finally get the help I needed.  Look at me now! Can you imagine if my parents were worried about what other people would think instead of getting me the help that I needed?!  We are working as a community to eliminate the stigma of learning disabilities and special needs. I don’t know where I would be without Maor. Thank you.