Blogs

A Long, Empty Campaign Ending -- Finally

Another long national nightmare -- the 2014 campaigns -- is almost over.  And it demonstrates once again, as H.L. Mencken said, "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people."  One of the most amazing things about the record amount of spending in this campaign year is how little was devoted to substantive discussion of issues. 

Jay Ruderman Responds: It's NOT Ok To Insult Someone As "Aspergery"

The Ruderman Family Foundation responded to the derogatory use of Asperger Syndrome by an unnamed Obama Administration official in an article released yesterday. 

Granta Israel Explores Themes Of Borderlines And Wanderings

This summer of 2014/5774, unity within Israel in the war against terror prevailed, almost tangible. The movement beyond personal boundaries, and the outpouring of caring, shared responsibilities and actions, are hopeful signs of our society's capacity for love and tolerance.

Courtesy of Granta Israel

Winning The Title

Editor's Note: As we close out National Down Syndrome Month, we wanted to share another important voice focusing on living with Down Syndrome.

At 2 lbs 3 oz, Ilyse had already acquired the name "wild woman." Born prematurely with Down Syndrome, Ilyse showed spunk and grit and the intensive care unit nurses acknowledged this with a nickname. Later, as a competitor in Special Olympics, Ilyse's uncanny ability to capture the limelight led to her being called "Hollywood".  But the honorific that has had the greatest transformative effect on Ilyse is that of "Auntie."

Ilyse holding her niece. Courtesy of Becky Voorwinde

Learning To Be Independent

Editor's Note: We are delighted to share this blog, written by one of the participants in Ramah New England's Vocational Education program about her experiences.

My name is Gabriella Levi. I am 20 years old and this was my first summer in the Vocational Education program at Camp Ramah in New England. I am currently a student at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. I am studying to work in a preschool.

What I loved about Voc Ed was learning to be independent. I liked that I was treated as an adult more than a camper. For example, at Ramah I had a lot of choices for how to spend my time.

Inclusive Congregations: Justice, Not Charity

When our son was a newborn, another mom of a child with Down syndrome suggested that we see “Praying with Lior.” Deeply moved by the movie, I turned to my husband and told him that we needed to find a synagogue so that our Julian would have a faith community that knows, loves and supports him. We were not interested in “tolerance” or even “acceptance.” We wanted to be part of a congregation that celebrated difference and embraced members with disabilities as part of its fabric. 

Letters From Afar Close Up

The four side-by-side frames shimmer as if blown by a gentle breeze. Scenes begin to flicker before you, like a dreamscape, some in black and white, some in color. Rock-solid, ageless buildings appear, their stone facades immortalized by light and film.

Warsaw street scene; still from Polish home movie, c 1920s - 1930s. From the archives of YIVO

An Illustrated Saga Of The Diaspora

Mark Podwal is once again the subject of a documentary by Czech Television. In the most recent film, the producers focused on the creative process behind the artist’s latest portfolio of works, “All This Has Come Upon Us,” a series of 42 paintings and drawings created for and displayed at the Terezin Ghetto Museum earlier this year. The works provide an illustrated history of Jewish tragedies and, according to the artist, offer “a disturbing reminder of how Europe’s extensive history of ‘Jew-Hatred’ laid the groundwork for Terezin and Auschwitz.”

Mark Podwal. “Terezin.” Courtesy of the artist

LOTEM's First Employee With Special Needs: LOTEM To Me

Alisa Bodner shares this blog written by the first employee with special needs that LOTEM, an Israeli agency making nature accessible for all people, has hired.

My name is Amichay Turgeman. I am 27 years old.  I am just completing my first year working with LOTEM.

Slingshot Guide Highlights Work On Inclusion

Slingshot has released Slingshot '14 – '15, its tenth annual guide to North America’s most innovative Jewish organizations this week. Over the last decade, the Guide has become a go-to resource for volunteers, activists and donors looking for new opportunities and projects in the Jewish community.

This year, Slingshot did not produce a supplement focusing on disability and inclusion, but instead integrated a number of organizations whose mission includes supporting people with disabilities and their families into the main guide.

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