Editor's Note: With this essay, New Normal contributor Paula Fox made us realize that a ramp to the bima is a wonderful thing, but not enough. The bima itself can and should be made more accessible: to people with disabilities, to children, to the short, to the tall. With the publication of Paula's post, we are launching the New Normal's Bima Project, which will aim to work with a synagogue to create and install such a bima. We look forward to sharing the Project's progress with you and of course invite your questions, suggestions and thoughts.
Until recently, I never thought of myself as a Torah reader.
My interest in disability issues is twofold: I have used a wheelchair since sustaining a spinal cord injury in 1975, and I was a school psychologist for over 30 years, working with children with a variety of disabilities. On learning about “Spread the Word to End the Word,” I had a mixed reaction. While I agree that it is important to reduce the stigma and name-calling associated with many disabilities, I don’t agree with focusing on this one particular label.