Elliot Fix is a native Rochesterian whose professional career has been in the field of developmental disabilities for over 40 years. He grew up in Beth Sholom, and his parents, Bessie and Eli, were active members.
Elliot is a graduate of the University of Rochester, Syracuse University and SUNY Brockport from where he holds degrees in History, Secondary Education, Special Education and Educational Administration. He has worked in a variety of agencies including the Rochester Mental Health Center, Mercaz Le-man Ha-Yeled in Jerusalem, and has held administrative positions at the NYS Finger Lakes Developmental Service Office at Monroe Developmental Center for the past 35 years until his recent retirement.
In 1972, he was approached by two families whose children with disabilities were unable to get a Jewish education in the local religious schools. He worked with Rochester’s Bureau of Jewish Education, and developed and taught one of the first Jewish special education programs in the country. The program expanded to two classes which continued for over 30 years. When local religious schools began to provide educational services in various formats for students with learning disabilities, he focused on those Jewish adults in the community who either never had a formal Jewish education or were graduates of his original program. He developed a program of classes and community inclusion , “Jewish Living”, at Temple Brith Kodesh securing funding support from the local Federation. Beginning with 10 adult participants, the program is now entering its 13th year. Participation has now increased to 30 adults of varying disabilities, who mostly live in different agency group homes in the county.
In 2002, he was recommended by the CEO of the Arc of Monroe County to become the Jewish Life Consultant for their Jewish group homes, now numbering three with a total of 17 residents. He developed their mission statement and standards of operation including the observance of kashrut in each home. He provides ongoing in service training and guidance to both staff and individuals while promoting and coordinating their participation in Jewish community events.
Elliot is a member of the Jewish Special Education International Consortium. He received the Rochester Board of Rabbis Kehilla Award in 1991 for his service and was recognized by the Jewish Community Federation in 1995 for “30 years of dedicated service working with individuals with disabilities.” He was also selected to participate in the 2009 community sponsored Education Bridge Teacher Trip to Modi’in, Israel. He firmly believes that “K’lal Yisrael” means all Jews, regardless of label, and because an individual has a disability, we must not disable them as Jews.”
An avid film fan, he has also been the Chairperson of the JCC’s Ames –Amzalak Rochester Jewish Film Festival for the past three years. Elliot and his wife, Tamar, who is originally from Ramat Chen, Israel, are the parents of 3 children, Dr. Oren of San Francisco, Shira married to David Friedman of Philadelphia, and Ronit of Silver Spring.