Blogs

The “Ordinary Man” From The Tribe Of Dan: Inspired By Torah Portion Pinchas

Part One

Time:  About 2245 on the Jewish calendar (3500 years ago.)
Place:  Hebron, Israel

Poor Dan!

Eleven of Jacob’s twelve sons had two or more children.  Benjamin had ten!

The twelfth son, Dan, had one son, Chushim, who was deaf.  Like many parents today, Dan might have worried, “What will be the future of my disabled child?”
 
The phrase “special needs child” hadn’t been invented yet.  On his own, Chushim, trying to be ordinary, would communicate “What’s going on?” when he didn’t understand a situation.

Rabbi Michael Levy

Parshat Pinchas: Inspiring Our Work in Suicide Prevention

Much ado was made last November, when the rare overlapping of Thanksgiving and Channukah captured the fascination of the Jewish (and much of the secular) world.    Some of us soaked up every ounce of the hype, while others found it overwhelming but when it was over a certain remorse was felt over the fact that it would be 57 years before the two holidays would overlap again (and thousands of years before the two days would overlap in their entirety).

Far less heralded or noticed than Thanksgivukkah has been the quirk in the Jewish calendar that will make this Sabbath (July 12) a "last time for a generation" occurrence.   In most years, Parshat Pinchas falls during the three weeks leading up to the 9th of Av which means that the assigned Haftarah is superseded for a special seasonal reading.

Efrem Epstein

“Jewish Is Hard”

There are two things you should never discuss: politics and religion.

However, those are really the only two things worth talking about.

Katharine McLeod and Jamie Geiger in “The Religion Thing.” Jimmy Ryan

The Dizzying Heights Of Genius

I don’t often swoon in public, but the Morgan Library’s current exhibition “Marks of Genius: Treasures from the Bodleian Library” left me breathless.  It was dizzying, standing before 57 magnificent artifacts representing 2,000 years of intellectual and artistic accomplishment, from cultures, countries and religious traditions that ranged from around the world in place and time.  And among them are several of particular Jewish interest.

The Kennicott Bible, Corunna, Spain, 1476; The Bodleian Library, Oxford. Courtesy of The Morgan Library & Museum

Taxpayers Should Sue Congress

Right now Speaker John Boehner's plans to sue President Obama for not enforcing the laws as the Republican leader thinks he should is a political ploy he may hope will serve to derail pressure in his caucus for impeachment, but it is one that can easily escalate because the inmates are running the asylum.

Post Bar Mitzvah, Communal Role Grows For Boy With Disability

So, Jewish life after Bar Mitzvah… It is hard to believe that there is life after Bar Mitzvah!  Since our son Avi was diagnosed with autism as a toddler, we have been very goal-driven.  What did he need to achieve his goals?  How can we maximize his potential?  What will his role be in the Jewish community, if any?  Until quite recently, this was very much a blur.  Some days the answers seemed clear; other days, we had no idea.  

As I wrote in a blog a few months back, Avi’s Bar Mitzvah was more than we could have ever imagined. 

Avi puts on tefillin with his father. Courtesy of Michelle Steinhart

Fragile X Awareness: A Parent Speaks Out

In our world of parenting a child with special needs, all you have to do is say “Holland” and everyone knows you are dealing with challenging days and lost dreams. As Emily Perl Kingsley expressed in her famous poem, having a child with special needs is like planning a trip to Italy only to land in Holland. There is a new language, new places to visit and new people to meet. Everything is different, but that does not mean it’s bad.

It has taken me a long time to be able to write that — and truly mean it. And while it is still painful to realize we are in "Holland," having a 3-year-old son with Fragile X Syndrome has inspired me to be a better mother and to become an advocate for his needs and the needs of other children and adults with this genetic disorder.

Other People’s Memories

How do you transcribe memories that aren’t your own and pain you never felt?  These are the subjects that Miriam Mörsel Nathan addresses in her moving and elegiac works, ”I First Saw the World Through a Mosquito Net…,” now on exhibit at the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association.

© 2009 Miriam Mörsel Nathan, “Prague 1941” Gum Transfer, 30” x 44”

One Year Later: It's All About Lucy

Just over a year ago I wrote on this blog about my daughter, Lucy, who was leaving our local Jewish community day school after first grade. I have been planning this “one year later” blog post for quite some time – and yet, when I go to put pen to paper, I don’t know where to begin.

So I’ll start with this: Lucy is doing great. She adjusted quickly and easily to public school. She is happy and confident and more than a few adults who know her have commented that “she is a different kid”. 

Meredith Polsky

Indyk Quits, Bibi Delighted

Secretary of State John Kerry may be disappointed to see his Mideast peace envoy, Martin Indyk, leaving, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is delighted.

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