Editor's Note: We were shocked and saddened to read this news story from Israel and wanted to share it with "New Normal" readers.
The ultra-Orthodox mayor of Rehovot has cancelled a special bar- and bat-mitzvah ceremony for children with disabilities that was scheduled to take place on Thursday at the Israeli city's Conservative synagogue.
My son, a high functioning child with autism, did not speak until he was four and is only now, in 7th grade, learning to read independently. Yet he chanted from the Torah, recited the Sh’ma, helped lead the service, and delivered a D’var Torah that was unique in several important ways. He was thrilled, and so were we.
How can you make your child’s celebration equally memorable?
1). Know your child and make accommodations accordingly. Do not hesitate to ask your rabbi to work with you on this. If your child is outgoing as our son is, and can handle a lot of guests, fine. If she is fearful of crowds or has performance anxiety, keep it intimate.
My oldest daughter is not yet 9, and her bat mitzvah has already become a topic of discussion in our house.
Don’t get the wrong idea: I’m not one of those super-organized-plan-everything-in-advance-type people, and I’m certainly not that kind of mom (which you would know if you saw the backlog of forms and permission slips piling up on my desk.)
But my niece’s bat mitzvah is coming up next month, and her older sister’s bat mitzvah, two years ago, is still fresh in our memories.