Posted by Sandy Slavet

Chaverim Shel Shalom Paint NightAt last month's Chaverim Shel Shalom Nosh & Learn, a social program for Jewish adults with psychiatric challenges, our gathering was transformed into a creative art festival. Our participants became budding artists and got their creative juices flowing to paint their own version of a painting of a vase and flowers. As adults, it was a little daunting - kids seem to be less inhibited or intimated by an empty canvas and a table full of paints. But when participants realized there were no blue ribbons, no trophies, and no Arts and Culture reporter from the Boston Globe, everyone was able to relax and welcome the challenge.

We had only four rules:

  1. You must use the model picture.
  2. No criticizing anyone's work.
  3. No criticizing your own work.
  4. Enjoy!

All the rules were followed and the results were amazing. Every picture captured the model but also reflected each individual's talent and imagination. Vibrant colors and varying uses of space and contrast showed that there is no limit to the unique perceptions we each have.

Sandy SlavetSandy Slavet is the Director of Jewish Life Servies for People with Disabilities. Sandy works with CHAI and CHAI Works participants providing social, educational, and Jewish programs including Shabbat and Jewish holiday celebrations as well as participation in community activities at local synagogues and other community locations. She also leads several social programs for adults with disabilities including Chaverim Shel Shalom, Chaverim Chaim (Friends for Life), and Jewish Signers of Massachsetts. Before coming to JF&CS in 2001, Sandy was an ASL Interpreter in private practice. Sandy is active in many community organizations and is an active member of her synagogue. Most importantly, she and her husband, Joe, have four wonderful daughters; her youngest daughter, Marie, is a beautiful 26-year-old who happens to have Down Syndrome.