April begins Autism Awareness Month. Here at The New Normal, we promise to bring you a variety of voices speaking about the experience of living with autism, and how we as a Jewish community can best support people who have autism across the lifespan. That means creating inclusive early education centers, meaningful workplaces and housing communities and more. Our bloggers will be sharing perspectives about how our community can provide effective formal and informal education and also make our synagogues and other communal places more inclusive of people on the spectrum and their families.
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.
Submitted by Douglas Bloomfield on Mon, 03/31/2014 - 17:58
We're seeing a number of stories out of Israel lately saying convicted spy Jonathan Pollard might be freed as part of a deal to get Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to honor his commitment to release the final group of 26 Palestinian prisoners (out of 104) and to keep peace talks with the Palestinians going until the end of the year.
Submitted by Douglas Bloomfield on Sun, 03/30/2014 - 23:19
Political pandering was in full blossom in Las Vegas last weekend as Republican presidential wannabes sought to impress GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson and his fellow big givers of their total devotion to Israel and just about anything else these wealthy contributors want.
If the creative team of Rocket Chair Media is any indication, the Millennial Generation's approach to the Shoah will be something quite different from what’s come before. The prologue to their new digital epic fantasy “Radzyn” now begins online, with daily installations this week and monthly thereafter.
For thousands of years Jewish-Iranian women have been forced to hide behind chadors, look down at their feet and not speak unless spoken to. During ancient Persia and even later day Iran, they lived with two strikes against them: Jewish and female. They were and still are viewed and treated by Muslims as second class citizens. Even today, in Iran, a woman, cannot become a judge, regardless of her education, degrees and professional qualifications. The reason given: “A woman can never be just.”
Visual artist Chany Wieder-Blank recently participated in the Asylum Arts International Jewish Artist Retreat, which was created as part of Schusterman Connection Points, an initiative launched by the Schusterman Philanthropic Network, a global enterprise that supports and creates innovative initiatives for the purpose of igniting the passion and unleashing the power in young people to create positive change in Jewish communities and beyond.
“The New Normal” Editor Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer interviewed Wieder-Blank about her experience at Asylum, her art, activism, Jewish identity and experience as a person living with a disability.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has released new data stating that 1 in 68 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This number is a 30% increase from data released in May 2012 that identified 1 in 88 children as having autism. It is 120% higher than the numbers reported in 2000 and 2002, which identified 1 in 150 children as having autism. In 1980, only 1 in 10,000 children was diagnosed with autism.
Submitted by Douglas Bloomfield on Thu, 03/27/2014 - 18:16
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon seems to have a penchant for insulting Israel's most important ally and defender. His latest targets are the American president and secretary of state. Making matters worse was the silence of his prime minister, who didn't do anything until Secretary of State John Kerry called. And even then Yaalon's apology was so weak that, in an unprecedented move, the White House and State Department rejected it and responded with a stinging rebuke.