Blogs

The Luck Of The Irish

Isaac Herzog, the opposition leader and the Zionist Union candidate for prime minister, is hoping there is some significance to the fact the Israeli election will be held on March 17, St. Patrick's Day.

His father, Chaim Herzog, the sixth president of Israel, was born in Northern Ireland. And his grandfather and namesake, Rabbi Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog, was the chief rabbi of Belfast, Northern Ireland, from 1916 to 1919, when he moved to Dublin and became the chief rabbi of Dublin and then all Ireland until 1936.  He was known as "the Sinn Fein rabbi."

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.

The Emmes Of Bibi's Speech

Here's the emmes. The truth. Bibi Netanyahu gave a rousing speech on an important subject in his best colloquial American before an enthusiastic Congress and said nothing they haven't heard many times before. But his speech failed to live up to its hype. 

The prime minister and his aides had been saying for days that he was bringing to Washington critical new information that the White House had withheld from the Congress and the American public. He didn't deliver.

Hearing Loss And Communication: It's Not Just Sign Language

Oral deafness may be the most misunderstood of disabilities even though, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America, one in ten people in our country fit this description: that is, they have some degree of hearing loss and do not speak sign language. Almost everyone knows someone who is oral deaf.

Yet, when I say that I am an Open Captioner to people who are deaf or hard of hearing, once the word “deaf” is uttered, most people imagine or mimic a person talking with their hands via American Sign Language (ASL). This familiar image of a deaf person is one of many barriers that prevent a large population of deaf people from gaining access to communication that hearing people take for granted.

Randi C. Friedman

Ruderman Family Foundation Announces $250,000 Global Innovators In Inclusion Competition

The Ruderman Family Foundation announced today the launch of the fourth annual Ruderman Prize in Inclusion global competition. The Prize aims to recognize organizations around the world who have demonstrated their commitment to the full inclusion of people with disabilities into the Jewish community through innovative programs and services. The $250,000 prize will be split equally by five organizations.

“Innovative organizations in the global Jewish community are leading the way in promoting the full inclusion of people with disabilities in our society,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation.

Inclusive Resources For Your Purim Celebration

Editor's Note: Purim comes Wednesday evening and we are delighted to share resources from Matan to help children and teens acclimate to what can be a sensory-overwhelming holiday.

Purim Gragger. Courtesy of Matan

This Week: "Jewish Journey: America" on PBS

Leaving and arriving – and crossing the sea -- is long part of the Jewish narrative. When the ancient Israelites left Egypt, the sea split and they crossed over.  Many Jewish immigrants to America had to endure crossings over rough seas, often crowded into the underbelly of the ship, in steerage.

Family Portrait: Jewish immigrants from Egypt in America at a 1928 wedding. Courtesy Andre Aciman

Schakowsky: 'Ham Handed" Boehner Harms Israel

A leading Jewish lawmaker and Israel supporter said Speaker John Boehner's "ham handed politics" of sandbagging President Obama by inviting Benjamin Netanyahu to lobby the Congress against the administration's Iran policy has damaged bipartisan support for Israel. 

"It was a dangerous mistake," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois), who announced she will not be attending the speech.

On A Musical Museum Tour

In an unusual pairing of antiquities and music, the Yeshiva University Museum offered a program chosen by the cellist Elad Kabilio, accompanied by the clarinetist Avigail Malachi-Baev and the singer Inbal Sharret-Singer, to illuminate its exhibition of ten model synagogues. The selections reflect what might have been heard around the time of the synagogues’ creation.

Elad Kabilio, Avigail Malachi-Baev, Inbal Sharret-Singer. Courtesy Elizabeth Denlinger

One Good Snub Deserves Another

No doubt smarting from the refusal of President Obama and top administration officials to meet with him when he comes to Washington next week to speak to the Congress, Prime Minister Netanyahu turned down an invitation to meet with top Senate Democrats.

Incredibly, Netanyahu, who is coming as a guest of the Republican congressional leadership, said meeting with Democrats would appear partisan.

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