August Is The Hardest Month: Disability And Parental Loneliness

Today? I want what I can’t have.

I want Akiva to sleep late. Really late. So late, that I have to march into his room, check that he’s alive, and wake him up because hey, it’s 1 PM, and I’m your mother.

I want Akiva to brush his teeth, handle bathroom details, and get dressed. By himself. Without scratching me if I hit the wrong sensory buttons.

I want Akiva to pour his own juice and get his own breakfast, while I lie indolently in bed and answer questions from my room, as one might do with their young adult children.

Akiva and his brother. Courtesy of Beth Steinberg

In Humor Veritas

Humorist Andy Borowtz didn't mention The Donald by name but it's clear who he had in mind in his New Yorker blog today:

Bibi's Dangerous Legacy

The bitter and divisive battle being led by Bibi Netanyahu will likely fail to block the Iran nuclear agreement but it could well succeed in doing what the Iranians and the Arabs only dreamed of:  irreparable damage to Israel and to the American Jewish community.

Much of the community leadership here is marching in lock-step behind Netanyahu and his Republican allies, leaving far behind a rank and file that doesn’t share their opposition to the deal or their vehement disdain for President Barack Obama.

Prominent Jews Back Iran Deal

More than two dozen prominent Jewish community figures signed an ad in today's New York Times urging Congress to support the Iran nuclear deal.

Ahead Of Its Time: One Synagogue's Approach To Inclusion

Editor's Note: In the blog below, Rabbi Daniel Grossman describes the way that his congregation made accessible choices 25 years ago. Many people are surprised to learn that religious institutions are not required to be ADA compliant.

As I think back 25 years ago to the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act, I want to share with you how the passage of the ADA changed my experience of synagogue life. I had just finished my first year at Adath Israel in Trenton, New Jersey when the ADA became a reality. I had worked since Rabbinical School with issues of the deaf, mobility, accessibility and inclusion and now felt able to take serious steps at the synagogue. 

The Congregation had agreed from the beginning of my employment that our new building in Lawrenceville, New Jersey would be totally different from the original building built in 1923.

The Adath Israel synagogue in Mercer County, N.J. has made accessibility a key priority. Via

Ruderman Family Foundation Awards $250,000 To Five Inclusion In Disability Innovators

The Ruderman Family Foundation announced today the five winners of the fourth annual global Ruderman Prize in Inclusion competition. The Prize honors Jewish organizations who operate innovative programs and provide services that foster the full inclusion of people with disabilities in their local Jewish community. The winners: Yavne Institute (Montevideo, Uruguay), Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland (Cleveland, United States), Kisharon’s Adult Employment Programme (London, United Kingdom), Room on the Bench (Brooklyn, United States) and Beit Hillel (Ra’anana, Israel). Each winner will receive $50,000 to continue their work and pursue new opportunities for inclusion in their local communities.More information about each prize winner is listed below.

'You Are Not Welcome Here': ADA Access To Music Festivals And Other Outdoor Venues

Editor's note: Thank you to David Ferleger for sharing this important blog that originally appeared at

If I love music and use a wheelchair, the concert hall should have space for me to sit. If I love sports, the ballpark or arena will have space set aside for wheelchair users. If I am an amputee or on crutches, I’ll be able to drive up close to the venue so I can enter without much inconvenience.

But suppose I have tickets to a music or other festival, or other outdoor event, where the main stage, the main action, is distant from the satellite parking lots. Suppose I want to attend a public concert in Central Park NYC or another large urban event when streets are closed to traffic for many blocks in all directions. There may be shuttles but not handicap-accessible vehicles. There may be some reserved handicap parking spaces, but not enough.

David Ferleger

An Island Of Creativity

On a gorgeous August afternoon, I had a seven-minute sabbatical on Governor’s Island. It was spiritual, uplifting and unforgettable.

Shira Dicker and David Chack leading "Seven Minutes Between Heaven and Earth"

"Falling Off A Cliff": Vocational Education And Placement Essential For People With Disabilities

When the Tikvah Program for campers with disabilities was started in 1970 at Camp Ramah in New England, no one imagined a day when people with disabilities would be meaningfully included in Jewish camping. Now, 45 years later, every Ramah camp in the United States and Canada serves people with disabilities. The National Ramah Tikvah Network includes overnight camp programs, day camp programs, vocational educational programs, family camps and retreats and Israel programs. At Ramah, inclusion is natural, seamless and expected.

Vocational campers at Ramah New England. Courtesy of Howard Blas
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