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Posted: Thu, 08/06/2015 - 08:14 | The New Normal

Over the last few weeks, our New Normal blog has been featuring reflections and perspectives on the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

We know that employment is one area in which people with disabilities are still struggling. Last June, The Ruderman Family Foundation, in partnership with The Jewish Week Media Group, proudly announced the recipients of the inaugural "Best in Business" Award. This national competition highlights North American businesses, large corporations and family-owned, who have shown exemplary practices in hiring, training and supporting people with disabilities.

“Everyone has a fundamental right to be included in our society and the best way to achieve full inclusion is through meaningful employment,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation.

Posted: Thu, 08/06/2015 - 06:59 | The New Normal

If you have been following The New Normal, or mainstream media, or even happened to do a web search on July 26th when the “Google Doodle” commemorated this day in history, you undoubtedly already know that we've recently marked the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

What could it look like if the Jewish community writ large created a Disabilities Act to address the rights of the 20 percent of American Jews who have a disability? 

True, we often bemoan the fact that the Jewish community lags behind when it comes to “equal rights” for people with and without disabilities. But 25 years is not a long time in the history of our country, and an even shorter amount of time in the history of the Jewish people. With that in mind, I choose optimism: There is time for us to catch up!

Posted: Tue, 07/28/2015 - 07:16 | The New Normal

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Legacy bus has been touring across the United States for some months as part of the 25th anniversary celebration. The bus travels with important displays about the history of civil rights of people with disabilities in the U.S.

The Legacy Tour bus made one of its stops in Atlanta at the end of May while I was attending the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability (SITD). The SITD participants, people involved in diverse faith community disability inclusion initiatives, posed for a photo with the bus.

Posted: Fri, 07/24/2015 - 06:58 | The New Normal

It’s the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Jews played a major role in this landmark civil rights legislation for people with disabilities. However, their story remains largely untold. All of these Jews have been and continue to be heroes to the civil rights of people with disabilities in our nation. While they don’t have the title of “Rabbi,” each of them is a model of Jewish values in action. A new book, Enabling Acts, details the complete ADA history, which includes people from a variety of backgrounds.

Posted: Thu, 07/23/2015 - 07:06 | The New Normal

Editor's Note: Over the next week, we will sharing a number of different voices reflecting on the 25th anniversary of the ADA. Be sure to follow and share!

Jubilation was in the air on July 26th 1990 when President George Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). “And today, America welcomes into the mainstream of life all of our fellow citizens with disabilities. We embrace you for your abilities and for your disabilities, for our similarities and indeed for our differences, for your past courage and your future dreams,” President Bush asserted.

At last we were recognized as a part of the fabric of American society, history, and potential. 

Posted: Sun, 07/19/2015 - 13:57 | The New Normal

Most people who are hard or hearing or deaf do well in conversation with one or two people in a quiet room. They wear hearing aids to amplify sound waves coming into the ear; or they use cochlear implants, which bring sound directly into the hearing center in the brain. At celebrations, where there are more people, music, shuffling chairs and clinking tableware, much of the conversation is lost. By the time they locate the sound, turn their head to read the lips or otherwise catch what one person said, a person with hearing loss misses what the second or third individual has said. While communication is fine in the first setting, the communication breakdown in the second setting can be confusing. Family members and the person with hearing loss themselves may not realize what is happening or know how to restore the social bond.