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Meet 5 Israeli Companies Driving Disability Tech

TEL AVIV (JTA) — After a missile strike during the 1973 Yom Kippur War left Omer Zur’s father paralyzed from the chest down, his dad vowed to continue life as normal. But there was one Israeli pastime he couldn’t enjoy: hiking.

“He’d say, ‘I’ll go in the car and meet you on the other side,’” said Zur, a certified Israeli tour guide. “I said, ‘Why can’t he do this with us?’”

In 2008, Zur decided that he and his wheelchair-user father would complete a 300-mile trek in southern Turkey. With the help of dozens of friends who joined them on segments of the hike, Zur and his father were able to complete the trail, sleep in tents and cook meals over an open fire.

Paratek makes wheelchair hiking possible. Courtesy of JTA

I'm Not Your Mitzvah Project

Editor's Note: Last summer, we were delighted to share an exclusive interview with Pam Schuller. Now we are proud to share her powerful Op-Ed:

by Pamela Rae Schuller

(JTA) — I have Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary movements and noises called "tics." My Tourette’s is relatively mild at this point, but I went through a turbulent adolescence when Tourette's was the most defining thing about me. Between the constant movements and the loud, uncontrollable noises, it was incredibly disruptive.

I now work in the Jewish community as an inclusion advocate, as well as in youth engagement.

Pamela Rae Schuller

Israeli Synagogues To Mark ‘Accessibility Shabbat’

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An “Accessibility Shabbat” will be held in communities across Israel.

The program being held this coming Shabbat is designed to highlight the need for greater respect for the handicapped and disabled within the religious community, and in Israeli society in general. The initiative is being spearheaded by the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization.

The initiative was launched via a video campaign demonstrating the Shema prayer recited in sign language is being held in coordination with the International Accessibility Day on December 3.

Spanish City Making Ancient Jewish Cemetery Accessible

A Spanish municipality launched a project which aims to make one of the country’s largest Jewish cemeteries accessible to disabled people.

Work on the accessibility project began Wednesday at the Jewish cemetery of Lucena in the autonomous province of Cordoba in Spain’s south, Europa Press reported.The project, which was first announced earlier this year by Lucena officials at a tourism fair in Madrid, “aims to guarantee mobility to anyone all over the area of the Jewish Necropolis of Lucena,” the city said in a statement.

Power's Interventionism Gets Mixed Reviews In Pro-Israel Crowd

Samantha Power brings to foreign policy an activist impulse that many in the pro-Israel community wish was more prevalent among American diplomats.

Except Power, a former White House National Security Council staffer nominated this week by President Obama to represent the United States at the United Nations, also has directed her interventionist inclinations at Israel.

In Parting Shot, Bachmann Raps Obama On Israel


In a video announcing her plans to leave Congress, Rep. Michele Bachmann cited her criticisms of the Obama administration’s Israel policies as among her accomplishments.

“I pointed out this administration’s despicable treatment toward our great friend and ally Israel, and at the same time giving little more than lip service to the ever increasing and dangerous nuclear threat of Iran,” Bachmann said in a video posted Wednesday on her election website.

House Resolution Calls For Stable West Bank

Two U.S. congressmen have introduced legislation calling on the Palestinian Authority to prevent a Hamas takeover of the West Bank.

Reps. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) introduced a resolution Tuesday urging the Palestinian Authority to work for political stability and calling on President Mahmoud Abbas to create a presidential succession plan.

The two politicians also spelled out the need for expanded political freedom in the West Bank.

GOP Study Sees Jewish Group As Role Model For Engaging Youth

A report commissioned by the Republican National Committee on how to reverse the party's fortunes cited the Republican Jewish Coalition as a group worth emulating.

"One outside group that has been particularly successful at engaging its community and increasing its Republican support is the Republican Jewish Coalition," said the "Growth and Opportunity Project" report unveiled Monday. "We should incorporate some of its tactics in our efforts."

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