We here at the New Normal are very excited to say that tonight will be hosting Eustacia Cutler, Susan Nussbaum and Dr. Nancy Crown at "Understanding Difference," a public discussion about disability and inclusion.
Yesterday in this space, I discussed three surefire ways to shut down a conversation with the parent of a child who has a disability. Of course, talking about disability can be one of the trickiest, most awkward-moment-producing topics around. Differences raise fear and anxiety for all of us and that limits the chances for meaningful dialogue. But I hope that with increased disability awareness education, like my post of yesterday and this one, we can create more productive conversations. Try any one or all of these three topics!
BALTIMORE — At their biennial convention, Conservative Jewish leaders called for renewing the “vital religious center” of American Judaism in the wake of numerous studies showing their movement is shrinking.
Almost 100 percent of the 2,607 relatively engaged Jews polled by RespectAbilityUSA and Jerusalem U agree that “Jewish events and organizations should be as welcoming and inclusive of people with disabilities as everyone else,” with 89 percent of the sample agreeing strongly.
Editor's Note: When Paula Fox last wrote for the New Normal, her tale of learning to read Torah only to struggle to reach the reading table inspired us to create the Bima Project. The idea was that we would help an interested synagogue create a more fully accessible bima that included an adjustable table. Paula and the folks in her shul are moving rapidly toward this goal on their own and it's thrilling to watch. They and we will keep you posted on their progress.
When I read Torah at Adath Jeshurun Congregation for the first time last May, I found it a very exciting experience, something that I wanted to continue doing – even though I could not see the congregation and they could not see me. I use a wheelchair, and the scrolls had to be held up for me because the reading table in the sanctuary was above my eye level.
Editor's Note: An anonymous commentor wrote this in response to Meredith Englander Polsky's piece, about how even she, the founder of an organization that fights for the right to a Jewish education for every child, had to pull her own daughter out of Jewish day school. Tomorrow, we'll post her answer to this comment.
As a parent with children in the Jewish day school Meredith is referring to, CESJDS, we have had a very positive experience, even though our kids are also not round pegs going into round holes either. Each parent knows their own child best and I have no doubt about that the frustrations many have expressed here are real.