view counter
Posted: Mon, 03/07/2016 - 17:24 | The New Normal

“Where does he want to go to college?”

That is the question I get when I say my son is a senior in high school. That is also the question he gets.

Posted: Wed, 03/02/2016 - 20:46 | The New Normal

TEL AVIV (JTA) — After a missile strike during the 1973 Yom Kippur War left Omer Zur’s father paralyzed from the chest down, his dad vowed to continue life as normal. But there was one Israeli pastime he couldn’t enjoy: hiking.

“He’d say, ‘I’ll go in the car and meet you on the other side,’” said Zur, a certified Israeli tour guide. “I said, ‘Why can’t he do this with us?’”

In 2008, Zur decided that he and his wheelchair-user father would complete a 300-mile trek in southern Turkey. With the help of dozens of friends who joined them on segments of the hike, Zur and his father were able to complete the trail, sleep in tents and cook meals over an open fire.

Posted: Tue, 03/01/2016 - 21:58 | The New Normal

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) will build on the successful launch of the Ruderman Inclusion Action Community initiative to transform Conservative congregations into truly inclusive communities for people with disabilities, thanks to continuing support from the Ruderman Family Foundation (RFF) in the form of a $375,000 three-year grant.

Through the grant, USCJ will continue to provide expertise and consulting to its affiliated congregations to develop comprehensive visions and action plans on inclusion. 

Posted: Mon, 02/29/2016 - 07:38 | The New Normal

Nearly sixteen years ago my synagogue hired me as our Religious School’s Special Needs Consultant. Within a year that title changed to Special Needs Coordinator. A subtle shift, but one that we believe demonstrated our commitment to the permanence of our program.  Today I serve as a full-time Education Director with oversight of our inclusion efforts. But if anyone asks me what I do for a living, my reply is typically that I am a Jewish Educator and a Jewish Inclusion Expert.

Posted: Wed, 02/24/2016 - 12:33 | The New Normal

When my boss, Dana Marlowe, shared her blog post about emplyment and mental disability, I had mixed emotions. This isn’t rare for me. As someone with a mental disability, I’m used to sifting through varying moods and thoughts to determine the answer the deceptively simple question: How do you feel?

Coming from the perspective of an employee whom many other employers might not have hired, I’m grateful to work for a company that values my contributions. On the other hand, I worry for others who might not have found their fit in a supportive workplace.

Posted: Tue, 02/23/2016 - 07:23 | The New Normal

My brother is my rebbe and my greatest teacher. He has taught me that our greatest passion must be compassion. He has taught me what it means to be a loving, kind, and sensitive individual. Born with Fragile X, a genetic condition that causes intellectual disability, behavioral and learning challenges, Mike has never allowed his disabilities to define him. In fact, he continually defies it. Most importantly, Mike has shown me and everyone around him what it means to be resilient, to have true grit. He is the only one who decides what he can and cannot do.