To support individuals with special needs and their families
in the Jewish community to lead fuller lives.
Formed in 1985 as the Council For Jews With Special Needs, this agency was created to meet the special needs of children and adults with disabilities who were unable to participate in typical activities of Jewish life in greater Phoenix. The original programs were for special education assistance and summer camp inclusion. These were followed by support groups for parents, grandparents and siblings, an active disability awareness outreach program, information and referral services, and sign language interpreters in Jewish settings.
Over the years, the agency added social groups and continuing Jewish studies for teens and adults with moderate to severe disabilities, educational forums on disability related topics and two supervised Jewish homes for adults with developmental disabilities. A monthly Sabbath morning service called Simchat Shabbat was also added to the program list won the Belle Latchman Community Service Award in 2008 for Best Project Enhancing the Quality of Jewish Life. In 2015, the agency was accepted as a Qualifying Charitable Organization for the State of Arizona’s tax credit program (tax id# 86-0626273).
The agency changed its name in 2017 to Gesher Disability Resources, to reflect more accurately who it is today. Gesher is the Hebrew word for “bridge” and it is our vision to create bridges that bring together all communities. Today’s agency is all about inclusion in the classroom and in our community, growth of our programs and membership, and bringing together the worlds of the disabled and the typical.
Gesher Disability Resources serves children and adults affected by a disability through inclusion assistance in the classroom, resource referral, residential support and social groups. The agency now engages a larger percentage of the disability community than ever before and benefits more than 3,000 individuals through our events and services. It does this through inclusion in our community while providing quality programs that intertwine the worlds of the disabled and the typical. In 2018, the agency was voted Best Special Needs Programming in the Valley by Arizona Jewish News’ Readers’ Choice Awards.