Shelley Richman Cohen's blog

To Be Inclusive Or Not To Be Inclusive: It Shouldn't Even Be A Question

Editor's Note: Last spring we shared a blog about the Shefa School written by Director Yoni Schwab.

I just opened an e-mail inviting me to this year’s GISHA conference for Jewish educators entitled “Excellence in Inclusion.” For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, GISHA is a well-known educational conference that is held and organized by the Center for Jewish Special Education at Boston's Hebrew College.  When I read the title I happily thought to myself,  “Yay! A Jewish educators conference focusing on inclusion of kids with disabilities.“ Then I read that the keynote is entitled “To Be Inclusive or Not To Be That Is The Question - Inclusion in Jewish Education, Making it Work and Recognizing When it Doesn’t.” The address is to be given by the Assistant Head of a new Jewish school in Manhattan for children with language-based learning disabilities.

Inspired By Tim Howard, Recalling An Inclusive Community

Editor's Note: The name of the student written about below has been changed to protect his privacy.

Congratulations to Germany on winning the World Cup! For those full-hearted soccer fans, I hope you enjoyed the World Cup with all the attention and talk it garnered.

As for me, I started to lose interest when I could no longer watch the amazing Tim Howard, Team USA’s goalie, after the United States team lost. But I have to admit it was more than soccer itself that kept me glued to the televised USA matches. It was the amazing story of Tim Howard and how he played with such incredible prowess and timing while having Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary tics and vocalizations and often the compulsive utterance of obscenities.

Shelley Cohen

Inclusion: Should The Perfect Be The Enemy Of The Good?

The proverb “The perfect should not be the enemy of the good,” means that insisting on perfection often results in no improvement at all. In keeping with the wisdom of this sentiment, I think the time has come to begin the discussion of what does inclusion of people with disabilities really mean? And should we as a community allow for sub-optimal solutions? Recently I was faced with two separate situations that echoed these questions for me.

Shelley Cohen

In Memory Of My Son, A Plea And A Plan To Make Synagogues Wheelchair-Accessible

Today, April 12, marks the 6-year anniversary of my son’s passing. Nathaniel was 21 yrs old when he died from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) a progressive deteriorative condition that caused him to spend most of his life using a wheelchair.

Shelley Cohen
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