President Barack Obama is in Israel. Our television screens are re-running Charleston Heston’s “Ten Commandments” and we are cleaning our kitchens for Seders. Soon, even Obama will celebrate Passover with Jewish members of his staff. It’s the perfect time to learn lessons from the original disability activist -- Moses -- on how to impact public policy.
I confess: I am hooked, and was - almost from the beginning. Recruited by Linda Burger, CEO of Jewish Family Service in Houston, to develop an online Guide to Disability Services, I embarked on a journey that has been life-changing. I had no background in what, at the time, was euphemistically referred to as "special needs." I had neither training nor personal experience in the field. Yet, intrigued by the challenge, I agreed to take on the job.
My biggest source of wisdom for how to deal with a bad date doesn’t come from advice columns, magazines or books. In fact, it comes from someone who has never really been in the game of dating advice: Ron Ben-Israel. Yes, I learned the fine art of polite, articulate rejection from Ron Ben-Israel, the sweet genius himself. If you’re not familiar with him, allow me to babble a bit about one of my special interests: Ron Ben-Israel is a famous Israeli pastry chef based in New York. He’s known to me as the host, judge and overall master of the Food Network reality show, Sweet Genius.
Last week, the New Normal ran two posts by Rabbi Rebecca Schorr, who is very nervous about the coming summer. Her son Ben, who has Asperger’s, learned recently that his beloved self-contained summer camp, Round Lake, is moving to become part of a campus that contains four other camps. Ben and his buddies will still have their own bunks, but they will spend much of the day in mainstream activities and social settings. Rabbi Schorr concluded that the Jewish community needs both self-contained and integrated summer camps. Now, we’re publishing a Q&A with Shelley Cohen, one of the architects of the change and also a mother of a child with a disability. She spoke with the blog about why Round Lake is making this change and how they determined they are to make it work for Ben and his friends.
Todd Morrison is an exceptional communicator -- who happens to be deaf. I met Todd through my networking in the deaf community, which I undertake as a recruiter who is committed to giving the best IT opportunities to all job seekers, including people with disabilities.