Blogs

Dr. Wendy Ross: CNN Hero Helping With Autism Inclusion

Dr. Wendy Ross, a developmental pediatrician in Philadelphia, founder of the nonprofit Autism Inclusion Resources (AIR) has recently been named a "CNN Hero."

As a doctor who regularly diagnosed children who have autism, Ross was heartbroken to hear stories of social isolation from the families whose children she was treating. Because many children with autism become overstimulated in loud, crowded or new environments, parents often opt to keep the family home rather than experience fun family outings, like going to a ball game. But Dr. Ross knew that isolation didn't serve her patients with autism well in the long run.

Dr. Wendy Ross

Syrian Chemical Weapons Removed. Maybe

After weeks of delay and excuses, the last of Syria’s known stocks of chemical weapons have been shipped out of the country for destruction abroad, according to the U.N. monitoring organization, the New York Times reported today.

From Yiddish Melodrama To American Comedy

Yiddish melodrama popped up last week, just yards from the elevated tracks of the 7 train in Queens, at a theater so discreet its name is Secret. Target Margin Theater there presented Allen Lewis Rickman’s enormously enjoyable translation of Isadore Zolotarevsky’s “Gelt, Libe, un Shande” – “Money, Love, and Shame.” Once, perhaps, a play with both pain and laughter, the passage of time has rendered it pure comedy.

Samantha Maurice as Cecilia and Yelena Shmulenson as Sonia in "Money, Love, and Shame!" Erik Carter

Jewish Seniors Helped; Youth With Disabilities Get Jobs

Haley McCormick-Thompson, a young adult with a developmental disability, spends part of her day transporting senior residents of United Hebrew from their rooms to their various activities throughout the day. One of the more lighthearted activities is the sing-along, where she stands at the front of a crowded room leading a group of senior residents, helping them follow along with song sheets.

“I really care about the residents,” Haley said. “I like helping them if they’re sad and I like staying late and helping. I am always willing to do extra.”

Haley is modest. Staff say she is a rock star with the residents.

Haley McCormick-Thompson helps a resident. Courtesy of Rick Guidotti

Is Fatah-Hamas Marriage On The Rocks?

It appears the marriage between the two leading Palestinian factions may be on the rocks even before it had a chance to be consummated.

Behind the break-up is the Palestinian Authority’s condemnation of the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, believed to be the work of Hamas, and the cooperation of PA and Israeli security forces in the search for the boys.

Spanish City Making Ancient Jewish Cemetery Accessible

A Spanish municipality launched a project which aims to make one of the country’s largest Jewish cemeteries accessible to disabled people.

Work on the accessibility project began Wednesday at the Jewish cemetery of Lucena in the autonomous province of Cordoba in Spain’s south, Europa Press reported.The project, which was first announced earlier this year by Lucena officials at a tourism fair in Madrid, “aims to guarantee mobility to anyone all over the area of the Jewish Necropolis of Lucena,” the city said in a statement.

A Letter To My Dad

Dear Dad:

We are both deaf and we both know no limits.  It is the greatest gift you have given me as my father.  As a young child, I watched you coach a deaf water polo team and a deaf basketball team, collaborate with the early stage technology institutions to help bring the internet and computers to the deaf community, raise funds for the nation’s deaf youth, and co-found the nation’s first and only deaf owned manufacturer of assistive technology products for the deaf and hard of hearing with Mom.

This Jew Hath Eyes

"The Merchant of Venice," like many of Shakespeare’s middle “comedies,” is often considered a problem play: the language is dense, the final courtroom scene fraught with near-tragedy, and for even the most casual observer, the language is steeped with anti-Semitic vitriol.

Joseph Menino as Shylock and Imani Jade Powers as Jessica in “The Merchant of Venice.”  Allison Stock

The Truths My Father Taught Me--A Father's Day Tribute (Part 2)

Editor's Note: In honor of Father's day, Rabbi Michael Levy shares this loving tribute to his father. Click here to read Part 1, which ends with a doctor's discovery of a spot on his father's lung.

My parents tried to cover up this health crisis like all the medical problems of the past.  This was especially so because my wife Chavi and I were expecting.

In September, all four of our parents helped with our "big Sunday." We moved and arranged furniture from morning until evening.  The file cabinet made its way from the "second bedroom" into ours. A bed disappeared downstairs into the storage area. 

A big empty space appeared along one wall of the second bedroom, waiting for a crib. I didn't see my mother's tears when my mother-in-law caught her off guard with the question "How's Aaron?"

I learned about the spot on Dad’s lung only as they were preparing him for the operation. The bicycle ride of so many years ago came to mind. The collision had happened. 

Rabbi Michael Levy

The Truths My Father Taught Me--A Father's Day Tribute (Part 1)

Editor's Note: In honor of Father's day, Rabbi Michael Levy shares his moving tribute to his father. Part two will be posted on Sunday.

"Look, a two-headed bike!" said a kid passing by. This confirmed for me that Dad and I, on our tandem bicycle, were invincible.

Riding on the two-seated bicycle with Dad, I didn't think about being blind. I did what everybody else did on the back seat of a tandem, no steering, just pedaling.

Doing what everybody else did. That’s the kind of childhood my parents gave me. If you feel included and valued by your family, then no future obstacles in your path will deter you.

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