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Posted: Wed, 11/02/2016 - 17:46 | The New Normal

Editor's Note: As the election draws near, we wanted to share this important new guide to state elections created by RespectAbility.

While the presidential election has taken up much of the news cycle, attention also is shifting to who will control the Senate. As such, RespectAbility has reached out to candidates running for Senate as well as Governor in the 2016 elections with the #PwDsVote Disability Campaign Questionnaire for Senate and Gubernatorial Candidates for people with disabilities.

RespectAbility, founded in 2013, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Utilizing candidate responses to both the down ballot and presidential campaign questionnaires, RespectAbility has released 51 state voter guides.

Posted: Tue, 11/01/2016 - 11:00 | The New Normal

There’s so much that has been written—and can be written—about the extraordinary, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching challenges of raising a child with autism. But I’m convinced that at least in our family, we get through the challenges—to the extent that we do—by leaning on our own version of lunacy, of laughter.

Posted: Wed, 10/26/2016 - 10:04 | The New Normal

Since March of 2015, six New York area synagogues have been focused on tangibly weaving the inclusion of people with disabilities in the fabric of their communities. The UJA-Federation of New York, with funding from the Leo Oppenheimer & Flora Oppenheimer Haas Foundation, piloted The Synagogue Inclusion Project, a groundbreaking 18-month pilot program to create a replicable, sustainable approach to integrating members of our community with disabilities. The pilot synagogue cohort included synagogues large and small, Conservative and Reform, urban and suburban. What bound them together was a stated desire to be inclusive of people with disabilities, but an underlying doubt that they were having the desired impact.

Posted: Thu, 10/20/2016 - 07:04 | The New Normal

If you’re a theater lover like me, it’s likely you remember the first play or musical you ever saw.

Mine was a community theater production of “The Princess and the Pea” that my grandmother took my sister and me to see (I was 4 and she was 6). I still can recall holding my grandmother’s hand when the theater lights went down and the magic of watching the actors bring the story to life. The Princess was funny! My grandmother was proud of how my sister and I sat still and watched. She, as well as my parents, took us to see live theater throughout  our childhood.

Posted: Tue, 10/18/2016 - 20:48 | The New Normal

Editor's Note: Thanks to Jewish Learning Venture for sharing this important blog post.

I’m watching my 14-year-old son with autism get on the van that takes him to a special school, a place where they have known him for 8 years. A place where they have watched him grow from a behaviorally challenged first grader to a budding high schooler eager to participate in the life of the community. I’m thinking about the value of being known, of being seen for your strengths and weaknesses. Especially when it comes to education, how important it is that they know how to help my son learn.

If you have ever entertained the thought of sending your child to religious school without letting the principal or teacher know that there are learning issues, let me ask you to think twice about that before doing it. And maybe a third time.

Posted: Thu, 10/06/2016 - 15:34 | The New Normal

We are excited to share the announcement of for our upcoming fall Tikvah Family Shabbaton, at Camp Ramah in New England. The Tikvah Family Shabbaton is a unique weekend retreat where families who have children with disabilities come together as a community to celebrate Shabbat, have fun and meet other families with similar experiences to share ideas and resources.