Posted: Thu, 08/29/2013 - 13:48 | The New Normal

East Midwood Jewish Center’s High Holy Days schedule of services and events grows this year with the addition of a new service sensitive to persons with a variety of needs. Their Sunday, September 8th service is between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, from 11:00 to noon. Cantor Sam Levine, with the assistance of friends from the EMJC community, will lead a lively and engaging service of prayer, Torah, song, story, music-making, and shofar blowing in a supportive atmosphere full of holiday joy.

Posted: Thu, 08/29/2013 - 12:16 | The New Normal

Hello people who care!

I am writing for your advice on Jewish identity, Israel and more. RespectAbilityUSA is partnering with JerusalemU for this online survey and we want to be sure that the sample has enough Jews with disabilities and their family members. Can you please fill this out AND send it to all the Jews you know who have disabilities or a family member with a disability? So far 1800 Jews have filled out the survey, but not nearly enough of them are from the disability community. We want your voice to be heard!

Posted: Tue, 08/27/2013 - 19:40 | The New Normal

“Your son is crying down in the playroom,” my friend offered helpfully.  “I know,” I responded. “He’ll let me know if he needs me. “ We continued our meal at the Shabbat table as she looked uncomfortable and I internally debated my response, partially driven by my parenting philosophy, and partially by my pain level.

Posted: Mon, 08/26/2013 - 11:44 | 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 - 11:59 | 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 - 14:58 | 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.