Independence Days: 25 Years Of The Americans With Disabilities Act

Here in the U.S., we are about to celebrate Independence Day.  I’m from Philadelphia so July 4 is especially meaningful to me: After all, it was in the City of Brotherly Love that the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776. 

July is another celebration of American freedom. July 26 is the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Americans With Disabilities Act, the ADA. The ADA has been widely recognized as the Civil Rights Act for people with disabilities. It's a recognition by our nation that people with disabilities are to be treated with respect and dignity.

Steven Eidelman

Ugandan Jews Connect With Queens

D'vora Biderman shares her love for Abayudaya, Uganda’s Jewish community, with her synagogue in Jamaica Estates.

Editorial Intern

The kids of Young Israel of Jamaica Estates in Queens have found new friends in Abayudaya, Uganda’s Jewish community, thanks to a congregant who cares deeply for both.

Jamaica Estates native D’vora Biderman visited the collection of villages in Eastern Uganda upon graduating from NYU with a degree in dental hygiene to volunteer her services through the ADA Foundation’s Abayudaya Dental Expedition. She chose that particular program because it accommodated her observance of Shabbat and kashrut, and in her time there discovered a vibrant Jewish community complete with synagogues, Jewish schools and even a post-high school yeshiva for continued learning.

D'vora Biderman (second from right) with residents of Uganda's Abayudaya Jewish community. Courtesy of D'vora Biderman

People With Disabilities (And Their Families) Have Dreams, Too

When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his inspiring “I have a Dream” speech in August, 1963 the civil rights movement for people of color had come of age.  I have listened to recordings of the speech too many times to count.  It inspires every time.  And it is emblazoned on our collective psyche. We all know the story of Rosa Parks, an African-American woman who refused, in 1955, to give up her seat on a public bus and move to the back so that a white person would be able to sit where she had been sitting.

The Book Of Life And Prosperity: Employment In The Disability Community

On Shabbat and holidays, we refrain from praying to God about financial concerns.  We concentrate instead on the spiritual dimension of our lives.

Rabbi Michael Levy

Window On Washington: How You Can Help Your Governor

Today in Milwaukee, governors from across the country will meet for the National Governors Association summer meeting, and I am thrilled to tell you that they share our goal of of empowering people with disabilities to achieve the American dream by working in a real job for a real wage.

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi and Donn Weinberg of RespectAbilityUSA

Tell The Senate To Ratify The UN Convention On Disability Rights

Our sage, Hillel, asks, “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?” (Ethics of the Fathers 1:14)

This summer’s U.S. legislative season will give us Jews with disabilities, in fact all Americans with disabilities, the opportunity to respond fully to the last two of Hillel’s three questions.

Rabbi Lynne Landsberg

In Memory Of My Son, A Plea And A Plan To Make Synagogues Wheelchair-Accessible

Today, April 12, marks the 6-year anniversary of my son’s passing. Nathaniel was 21 yrs old when he died from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) a progressive deteriorative condition that caused him to spend most of his life using a wheelchair.

Shelley Cohen

"Disability" vs "Special Needs"

"Words simultaneously reflect and reinforce our attitudes and perceptions; words shape our world."

-- Kathie Snow, "The Case Against 'Special Needs'"

As a person who has met life with a significant level of cerebral palsy, and as a lover of words and their nuances, I have, throughout my life, tracked the nomenclature that has been applied to those of us who don’t quite fit into established physical, intellectual, communication, sensory, psychological or social "norms."

Sharon Shapiro-Lacks

Ask A Lawyer: Doesn't A Jewish School Have To Admit Children With Disabilities?

In this column, special education lawyer and advocate Regina Skyer will address reader’s questions and concerns regarding their child’s special education needs, as well as the services, programs and entitlements available within New York City. She asks readers to send their questions to For more on how the column works, click here.

Question: Can I bring a lawsuit against a yeshiva that refused admission to my child due to his disability?

Regina Skyer

1 In 50 Children Has Autism: U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman Responds

A new and troubling study is out today showing that 1 in 50 American school children are on the autism spectrum. That is a dramatically higher number than the already high numbers of 1 in 88 children that was released in March of last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman
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