Posted: Mon, 08/26/2013 - 12:44 | The New Normal

Editor's Note: When Paula Fox last wrote for the New Normal, her tale of learning to read Torah only to struggle to reach the reading table inspired us to create the Bima Project. The idea was that we would help an interested synagogue create a more fully accessible bima that included an adjustable table. Paula and the folks in her shul are moving rapidly toward this goal on their own and it's thrilling to watch. They and we will keep you posted on their progress.

When I read Torah at Adath Jeshurun Congregation for the first time last May, I found it a very exciting experience, something that I wanted to continue doing – even though I could not see the congregation and they could not see me. I use a wheelchair, and the scrolls had to be held up for me because the reading table in the sanctuary was above my eye level.

Posted: Fri, 08/23/2013 - 12:59 | The New Normal

After Shabbat next weekend, synagogues everywhere will conduct Selichot, the penitential prayer services. We will acknowledge God's sovereignty, confess our shortcomings yearn to be close to our Creator -- and we wil recite the "Shema Kolenu" prayer.

Posted: Thu, 08/22/2013 - 15:58 | The New Normal

A child with developmental delays has a major impact on his siblings' lives.

An obvious statement, right? How could other siblings not be affected by the amount of attention and focus on the one with bigger needs?

Except that’s not what I mean.

Posted: Tue, 08/20/2013 - 08:41 | The New Normal

We are in the midst of the final month of the Jewish year, Elul, when it's customary to review one’s shortcomings and make plans to do better in the coming year.

Posted: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 13:05 | The New Normal

The 2009 film, “Adam,” turns its twenty-nine-year-old hero, a man with Asperger Syndrome, into a Manic Pixie Dream Girl:

“The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is there to give new meaning to the male hero's life. She's stunningly attractive, high on life, full of wacky quirks and idiosyncrasies (generally including childlike playfulness and a tendency towards petty crime), often with a touch of wild hair dye. She's inexplicably obsessed with our stuffed-shirt hero, on whom she will focus her kuh-razy (sic) antics until he learns to live freely and love madly.”

Posted: Fri, 08/16/2013 - 09:05 | The New Normal

A passage from this week's Torah portion, Ki Taytzay, calls for honest measures in business:

"You must not keep in your pouch two different weights, one large and one small. (Similarly,) you must not keep in your house two different measures-one large and one small. You must have a full honest weight and a full honest measure. If you do, you will long endure on the land that the Lord our God has given you."