We’re opening the doors of opportunity.

See how we educate, include and empower children with special needs.

Since 1995, Opening the Doors has been working with schools to ensure students who have various learning, social or emotional differences are included, supported and set up for success. Now a nationally recognized program, we provide inclusive academic services that enable 1,200 children of all abilities to succeed in Jewish classrooms. Working in partnership with educational and health organizations, Opening the Doors offers psychoeducational evaluations, a teen leadership program, professional development, community disability and advocacy conferences, movies and events.

“To have a Jewish education is a gift.” – Anita Naftaly

Our programs

Opening the Doors helps families fulfill their dreams of a Jewish education for their child by ensuring children are seen and accepted, despite the disability they have, and are treated like everyone else, working toward their potential.

The Anita Naftaly Family Circle Conference is a community-wide conference with renowned authors who provide innovative strategies and resources to raise disability awareness and empower educators, parents, and mental health professionals. Partially funded by the Anita Naftaly Family Circle Fund.

The Day School Conference gives Jewish Day School educators the opportunity to participate in educational learning together with acclaimed educators.

During Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month, we bring in renowned speakers, watch movies, and host book clubs to foster inclusion and raise disability awareness in collaboration with cities across the country and Israel for educators, families, and health professionals.

A Taste of ReelAbilities screens international movies whose actors, directors or producers have a disability, or stories that showcase and celebrate the success of people with disabilities.

Master special educators placed in Jewish schools provide individualized instruction and curriculum accommodations for 1,200 diverse learners annually, to be successful in Jewish education classrooms with their peers.

Para educators provide one-on-one, short-term, early intervention for more than 30 students with learning and social differences in early childhood centers. They also help students strengthen their learning, communication and social skills, foster growth in behavior, increase independence, build self-confidence, and enable children to be included with their peers.

Opening the Doors provides full-time classroom assistants and additional consultant services for students 3 to 18 years, for an inclusive and engaging Jewish Day School education with their same-aged peers.

This interactive training program empowers teens in eighth through twelfth grade with lifelong leadership skills and tools to assist students with learning differences. To register, please email [email protected].

Opening the Doors provides day school, congregation and early childhood school teachers with professional development classes on mental health and anxiety, in order to enhance the success of all learners. Funded by the Jewish Fund and The Jewish Fund Teen Board.

This Opening the Doors (OTD) and Friendship Circle collaborative Sunday School provides diverse learners with multi-sensory lessons on Hebrew, holidays, etc. at individual ability levels. OTD special educators, Friendship Circle staff and one-on-one volunteers provide learning support.

LAP provides an opportunity for children and adolescents with academic and/or emotional differences that are impacting their daily functioning to get diagnostic psychoeducational evaluations, interventions and academic tutorial services. The program will then work with schools to maximize functioning. Funded by the Ambinder-Lyness Foundation and The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

Our team

Ellen Maiseloff

Senior Director
Opening the Doors

Helene Kohn

Doors to the Future

Shoshana Baruch

Program Assistant
Opening the Doors

Debbi Stybel

School Inclusion