Integration of Special Needs Adults / Summer Camp
Howard Blas currently serves as director of the National Ramah Tikvah Network of the National Ramah Commission. In this capacity, Howard works with Ramah camps as they include and support campers with disabilities. Howard previously served for 15 years as the director of the Tikvah Program at Camp Ramah in New England. The overnight camp program provides camping and vocational experiences for adolescents and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Howard serves as a teacher of Jewish Studies and bar/bat mitzvah to students with a range of disabilities and “special circumstances.” He holds masters degrees in both social work (Columbia University) and special education (Bank Street College of Education).
Howard writes regularly for many Jewish publications, including the The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, Chabad.Org, Connecticut Jewish Ledger, Sight Line (Covenant Foundation) and PJ Library (all published work available at howardblas.com).
Howard was selected to be part of the first cohort of Jim Joseph Foundation Fellows, through the Lookstein Center at Bar Ilan University, a program to teach educators and Jewish community professionals to develop online communities of practice. He has developed a community of practice for Ramah Special Needs Program Directors and “Shabbos Is Calling,” a weekly video chat for campers and staff. Howard received the S’fatai Tiftakh Award in April 2012 from Boston Hebrew College’s Center for Jewish Special Education and was a 2013 Covenant Foundation Award for Excellence in Jewish Education.