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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.

12 Tips For Holiday Hosts Who Entertain Guests With Sensory Challenges

Editor's Note: I was delighted to be a resource for this article that originally appeared on Carestarter.co. Great ideas to support your guests at upcoming Chanukah parties!

Holiday season is now upon us. Maybe this week you are packing your bags to hit the road to attend a family dinner or perfecting your shopping list as host of the perfect event. Maybe you’ve worked hard planning your holiday menu, taking into account guest food allergies and vegetarian preferences.

You think a lot about your guest’s experience, I challenge you to consider your guest’s surroundings, specifically of the sensory variety.

Seasons Readings For Kids

For Chanukah 2015, young readers are treated to romance in the Atlas Mountains, stories of the real lives of Israeli kids, tales of helping others in this holiday season, easy-to-follow recipes and, as always, new spins on the Maccabee story.

Courtesy of Penguin Random House

A Fresh Look At Einstein

One hundred years ago this week, Albert Einstein published his theory of relativity, forever transforming the way we think about space and time. Since then, so many scores of books have been written about this great scientific luminary that you might well ask—why the need for another biography of Einstein? 

Courtesy Yale University Press

A New Chapter In Anne Frank’s Story

Anne Frank has become a metonymy, both a symbol and a shorthand for the Holocaust. Her youthful diary, hopeful, funny, frightened but stalwart, has been a source of inspiration to millions of readers worldwide. Still, after viewing the new film, “No Asylum: The Untold Chapter of Anne Frank's Story,” and hearing the details of her post-diary life and eventual death in the camps, I wonder: If Anne Frank had survived, would her subsequent writings more closely mirror the darkness of Elie Wiesel’s “Night” than the hopefulness of her diary.

Anne Frank modeling a new coat. United States Holocaust Museum. Courtesy Eva Schloss

What Are YOU Thankful For? Part 3

Editor's Note: In honor of Thanksgiving, we asked our "New Normal" contributors to reflect on the intersection of gratitude and disability. We'd love to hear what you are thankful for in the comments below! Read parts one and two here.

Like most people of all faiths, I am grateful for family. Thanksgiving, the quintessential American holiday includes traditions involving family, food and celebration.  I am thankful for the people with disabilities and, in many cases, their families who have taught me a lot about that word family and about how struggles to improve society and to improve their local communities have results in that almost mythical tide that raises all boats. 

Steven Eidelman

What Are YOU Thankful For? Part 2

Editor's Note: In honor of Thanksgiving, we asked our "New Normal" contributors to reflect on the intersection of gratitude and disability. We'd love to hear what you are thankful for in the comments below! Read part one here.

When raising a child who has autism, a sleep disorder, and all of the other diagnoses that come as a result, I often hear, "I don't know how you do it." The simplest answer is that we all do what we need to do. This is our life; it is the only life we know. And even though it is extremely challenging at times, we love our son unconditionally and we do what we need to do to give him what he needs.

The Steinhart Family. Courtesy of Meir Pliskin Photography

What Are YOU Thankful For?

Editor's Note: In honor of Thanksgiving, we asked our "New Normal" contributors to reflect on the intersection of gratitude and disability. We'd love to hear what you are thankful for in the comments below!

When I thought about the question, what I am grateful/thankful for, the answer came to me very quickly.  I am grateful that my parents, my family and my friends constantly reinforced the notion “to keep trying.”  

Bigotry In The Name Of National Security

Crises have a way of bringing out the best and the worst in people.  The Syrian refugee crisis is a classic example as politics seems to overwhelm principle – not unique but no less appalling, especially considering the lives at stake – as so many politicians succumb to xenophobia and religious bigotry and try to justify it in terms of national security.

'My God Is Better Than Your God'

Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry and Ted Cruz want to shrink the size of the federal government by eliminating several cabinet departments, although neither could remember just which ones he wanted to deep six.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich wants to go the other way and create a new agency of government, one that will be totally useless, an utter waste of taxpayer money and further antagonize people around the world who think America is already too arrogant and domineering.

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