August 28, 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington, a landmark event in the struggle for civil rights for blacks and economic opportunity for disadvantaged Americans. At the conclusion of the event, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. rallied the participants with a speech that has come to be known as "I Have a Dream." He longed for the day when all Americans could proclaim "free at last."
It was the winter of 2004 and he’d dreamed of becoming a Jew for years. Following many months of formal study he was ready to go before the beit din, the group of rabbis who would hear his journey and proclaim him ready for the final conversion ritual. He did meet with these rabbis; they were touched by his sincerity and dedication to the Jewish people.
Larry’s problem was that he was paralyzed from the waist down.
Editor's Note: With this essay, New Normal contributor Paula Fox made us realize that a ramp to the bima is a wonderful thing, but not enough. The bima itself can and should be made more accessible: to people with disabilities, to children, to the short, to the tall. With the publication of Paula's post, we are launching the New Normal's Bima Project, which will aim to work with a synagogue to create and install such a bima. We look forward to sharing the Project's progress with you and of course invite your questions, suggestions and thoughts.
Until recently, I never thought of myself as a Torah reader.