When the Jewish Federation of North America hosts the GA in Jerusalem this week, there will be one session on inclusion of Jews with disabilities. The speakers are terrific and I urge all participants to attend. But this panel discussion will be one in a long line of “too little, too slow” actions by JFNA to embrace inclusion of Jews with disabilities.
On November 2, the conclusion of Shabbat will be followed immediately by the beginning of a new Hebrew month, Kislev. When this Shabbat-New Month sequence occurs, our sages decreed that a special Haftarah is chanted instead of the regular Haftarah for that Shabbat.
We here at the New Normal are very excited to say that tonight will be hosting Eustacia Cutler, Susan Nussbaum and Dr. Nancy Crown at "Understanding Difference," a public discussion about disability and inclusion.
We in the disability community encounter standards and measures at every turn. We often hear phrases like "high functioning," "developmental delays," "battery of tests," "number of paraprofessional hours required," "attention span," "degree of socialization," "progress in daily living activities," and "work readiness." Such measurements are often helpful and sometimes crucial, but it isn't necessary to use them to compare one human being to another.
It is important for parents of children with special needs to not feel like they are isolated from their peers with typically developing children—and it is equally important for parents raising typical kids for them to find ways to teach their children about disability without fear or anxiety.