Nalaga'at Theater Deaf-Blind Acting Ensemble is a world famous acting group whose cast consists of a dozen talented deaf-blind actors. RespectAbilityUSA is an American non-profit organization devoted to empowering people with disabilities to be valued and respected for the abilities that they do have. Claudia Gordon works at the White House Office of Public Engagement where she serves as the Public Engagement Advisor to the Disability Community. All three joined together for a night of theater and exchange, when Nalaga'at performed at the Kennedy Center.
The stigma associated with all kinds of human difference pervades social awareness. Whether prejudice is based on race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, physical characteristics or disabilities, few possess the neutrality towards the other we espouse as a liberal ideal. Western democracies combat the inequalities stemming from such differences. By statute and judicial judgment, access to housing, jobs, education, transportation, and the right to vote have been mandated, but despite significant legislative advances over the past 30 years, few are satisfied that the goals of such laws have achieved their intended effects.
Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month (JDAM) ended in February, but the energy and intentions behind this national effort to raise awareness and encourage communities to take action to become more inclusive are going strong. #JDAM14 was full of dynamic, passionate programs locally and nationally. The voices of people in the Jewish community who are writing about disability and inclusion is also a big part of spreading the word.
At its recent plenum convening community, lay and professional leaders from around the country, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs passed its first resolution on inclusion and disabilities in the Jewish community. Founded in 1944, the JCPA creates a network of 16 national and 125 local independent partner Jewish community relations councils. The plenum is the JCPA’s annual, national forum in which members gather to prioritize and gain consensus on key social action issues both within the Jewish community and regarding matters that affect the general population, including poverty, gun control and immigration reform.
On a regular basis, parents of children who have autism come across numerous possible treatments options. Each child who has autism is unique and presents different behaviors, sensory and communication challenges and each child responds to therapies uniquely. Parents invest time and money finding the therapies that works best for their child and there is a lot of trial and error, energy, hope and frustration involved in the process.
A few weeks ago, I came across an article that talked about the "5 Scariest Autism Treatments," including “Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS).” I had never heard of Miracle Mineral Solution before and after doing some research on it I was shocked.
During the merry celebration of Purim this upcoming Saturday night and Sunday, children and even adults will wear masks and costumes. Masks echo the theme of concealment in the Purim story itself, which we will read in the Scroll of Esther.