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Posted: Sun, 01/03/2016 - 15:27 | The New Normal

How can you accommodate what you don’t see? Just because a disability isn’t always visual doesn’t mean it should be ignored. In fact, in our experience, it’s a time for an employer, whether large or small, to shine. We frequently hear that hiring people with disabilities makes good business sense. It’s common to think of employees with disabilities as individuals who are in a wheelchair or blind. But what happens when the disability isn’t visible?

It’s not obviously apparent when you hire someone that they have a hidden or mental disability. There’s no label that says "HELLO! I’m a qualified employee who is prone to panic attacks." It’d be illegal if there was. It’s a personal choice for that employee to disclose their disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects that right.

However, we’ve seen that our employees like to talk about their individual disability in a safe space.

Posted: Fri, 12/25/2015 - 18:16 | The New Normal

Editor's Note: This blog originally appeared on Forbes.com

We’re used to talking about the Israeli tech ecosystem as the Startup Nation, focusing on the young country’s ability to quickly launch and scale innovative ideas and build companies from the ground up. Tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Apple understand the role the Startup Nation plays globally and they routinely acquire startups here.

What’s sometimes lost in the cool-whiz-bang-awesomeness of some of the startups coming out of Israel is the fact that some of these companies are dramatically changing lives. Israel has an entire tech sector dedicated to enabling the disabled. The impact Israeli tech has on people is almost biblical in nature: whether it’s helping quadriplegics to walk (and look their loved ones directly in the eyes or use their hands or move more efficiently) or the deaf to hear and the vision-impaired to see, Israel is a leading medical innovator.

Posted: Tue, 12/22/2015 - 15:06 | The New Normal

1. February is Jewish Disabilities Awareness & Inclusion Month (JDAIM). It’s the time when those of us who care about Jews with disabilities should be going all out to build our inclusion skills and resources, as well as to offer speakers and films for the community. Doing it right, however, takes some planning. So download your free guide to JDAIM today by going here. It’s quick and easy to read the guide and you can do it from a beach or vacation spot anywhere. So put aside the novel for a fifteen minutes, and get your creative juices flowing early so you can make a positive difference in February!

Posted: Mon, 12/21/2015 - 14:59 | The New Normal

Suppose I asked you “What did you do yesterday?”

You list 19 activities, yet I counted 173 activities while videotaping you yesterday.  Why the discrepancy?

Writing our Own Story

Every day, we decide what’s important enough to remember. Over time, we weave our “story” from memories, feelings and interpretations of events that we have perhaps unconsciously selected. We tend to make our version of the truth into absolute truth. 

Posted: Wed, 12/16/2015 - 08:29 | The New Normal

No one had ever asked to take a selfie with Yarin, a 19-year-old boy with autism. But when his mother arranged for him to spend one week at the Israeli-American Council’s Machane Kachol Lavan summer camp, the resulting understanding and friendship changed everyone.

Posted: Tue, 12/15/2015 - 11:20 | The New Normal

Editor's Note: As the cold of winter approaches, many parents are thinking about summer and what camps are available for children with disabilities. This week we'll share several blogs about Jewish camping for children and teens of all abilities.

When I was first invited to staff the new Tikvah inclusion program at Camp Ramah Darom and was asked to describe it, I said, “The Tikvah program provides additional support to campers who may not be able to succeed on their own.” Even though I had worked with programs for kids with disabilities in the past—both in schools and in summer camp settings—I realize now that when the summer began, I didn’t fully understand the meaning of support.