Helen Chernikoff's blog

Jewish Week Editorial: Day Schools For All Children

About 15 years ago, Meredith Polsky co-founded Matan, a nonprofit that advocates for the right of Jewish students with disabilities to receive a Jewish education.

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Turning You Into We: I, Too, Have A Disability

Sometimes a leader is a person with a title and a desk at an organization. Other times they do something truly remarkable. They set an example.

Steven Rakitt

At Disabilities Conference, French-Israeli Paralympian Charms And Inspires

Athlete and filmmaker Pascale Bercovitch made a somewhat unusual entrance when she delivered her speech at last week’s ADVANCE conference, a gathering for Jewish philanthropists interested in disability programs and services.
Because she has no legs, Bercovitch, 45, wheeled herself to the front of the room, in an event space in Soho. But because her arms and abdominal muscles are stronger than those of most people who do have legs, from her wheelchair she easily hoisted herself onto a tall chair, where she wriggled a few times to settle herself comfortably, grinning at her audience the entire time.

Jay Ruderman and Pascale Bercovitch. Photo courtesy The Ruderman Foundation

Elsewhere On The Web: URJ Working For More Special Needs Camping Funding

On the eJewishPhilanthropy website, the Union for Reform Judaism's camping arm responded to The Foundation for Jewish Camp's release of its study "Jewish Camp for Children with Disabilities and Special Needs." Click here for the rest of the article, including the movement's committment to put more "human and financial resources" toward special needs programming.

The Foundation for Jewish Camp released preliminary findings last week from their recent research study Jewish Camp for Children with Disabilities and Special Needs, which maps current, potential, and desired camp program opportunities for children with disabilities/special needs. The study paints an encouraging picture of the field of Jewish camping, highlighting a variety of models that successfully provide meaningful Jewish camp experiences to children with diverse needs.

Wheelchair ramps are a necessary but not sufficient condition to creating camping option for children with disabilities. Fotolia

Inclusion: It Also Means There's Lots Of Ways To Do It

Okay, I know I can be a bit defensive, bristly almost, when it comes to talking about almost anything that I care about. I own that. When it comes to disability and inclusion, I can go a little overboard, but someone’s got to do the dirty work, right?

Beth Steinberg

Classroom Tweaks That Help Students With Disabilities Benefit Everyone

Editor’s Note: In journalism, we always say that three makes a trend, and the next week will see three communities hosting trainings on how better to include people with disabilities in the Jewish world: the Washington, D.C. area (http://www.pjll.org/content/tzedek-tirdof-pursuing-justice-may-2-2013); the Boston suburbs (http://www.hebrewcollege.edu/gisha-conference) and the Delaware Valley, near Philadelphia (http://www.jewishfederations.org/local_includes/downloads/54713.pdf.) Jaime Bassman, who wrote the piece below, is involved in both the Philly-area and the Boston events.

Elsewhere On The Web: We Want To Tell You

A lucid and penetrating piece from a blogger who is the father of a son with autism. He writes about the double-bind of being the family member of a loved one with disability: how if you share the positive moments you worked so hard to achieve, you run the risk of your friends jumping to the conclusion that everything is hunky-dory, mainly because they would feel more comfortable if that was the case.

A dad blogger asks friends to be more aware of their own feelings of awkwardness and anxiety around autism. Fotolia

Elsewhere On The Web: The Way You Look At Him

The website Autism After 16 is carrying an incredibly poignant piece today from Liane Kupferberg Carter, a mother, journalist and activist, about how she still can’t get used to how people look at her son, who has autism and epilepsy.

Even in a doctor's office waiting room, Liane Kupferberg Carter had cause to cringe from others' stares. Fotolia

Let's Not Make People Afraid To Open Their Mouths

Special needs. Developmental delay. Cognitive disabilities. Disabled. Learning disabilities. Retarded. Autistic. Mentally challenged. Slow. Special. Blessed. Pure of soul.

Beth Steinberg

Elsewhere On The Web: In Israel, Autism Is The Cause Celebre

Greetings, earthlings, and welcome to an occasional and possibly regular New Normal feature, "Elsewhere On The Web," in which I'll roam the Internets in search of good stuff for you to read.

Beth Steinberg
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