Howard Blas currently serves as director of the National Ramah Tikvah Network of the National Ramah Commission and of the Tikvah Program at Camp Ramah in Northern California. Howard previously served as the director of the Tikvah Program at Camp Ramah in New England for 15 years. Howard has led five Tikvah Ramah Israel trips and served as group leader for three Shorashim Birthright Asperger trips to Israel. Howard, a social worker and special education teacher by training, teaches Jewish Studies and bar/bat mitzvah to students with a range of disabilities and “special circumstances”. Howard has 35 years of experience working with families and students in envisioning and preparing for a wide-range of b’nai mitzvahs, from traditional to creative. Howard writes regularly for many Jewish publications including the Jerusalem Post, Chabad.org, JNS (Jewish News Syndicate), ejewishphilanthropy, The New Normal (of the New York Jewish Week), and Sight Line (Covenant Foundation). Howard received the S’fatai Tiftakh Award from Boston Hebrew College’s Center for Jewish Special Education in 2012 and the 2013 Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education.