The Torah reading for Shabbat July 6, Matot Ma-asei, includes a travel section (Numbers 1, 1-38.) It recounts the 42 places which the Israelites visited during their 40-year sojourn in the wilderness before entering the land of Israel.
Editor's Note: With this essay, New Normal contributor Paula Fox made us realize that a ramp to the bima is a wonderful thing, but not enough. The bima itself can and should be made more accessible: to people with disabilities, to children, to the short, to the tall. With the publication of Paula's post, we are launching the New Normal's Bima Project, which will aim to work with a synagogue to create and install such a bima. We look forward to sharing the Project's progress with you and of course invite your questions, suggestions and thoughts.
Until recently, I never thought of myself as a Torah reader.
Yesterday marked the official launch of RespectAbility USA, a non-profit organization whose mission is helping the 57 million Americans with disabilities achieve the American dream. In RespectAbility’s version that dream, Americans with disabilities are respected members of the workforce and wield significant political power. The current reality, according to RespectAbility, is that 70 percent of working-aged Americans with disabilities are unemployed.
Editor's Note: Molly Mittman is a second-year camper from Temple Shalom in Dallas. She is 9 years old and going into the 4th grade. Find the rest of her essay here.
My name is Molly and I am a camper at Greene Family Camp. I was born with Cerebral Palsy (CP). My CP mainly affects my balance because the muscles in my legs get tired easily. Even though I have CP, I am still just a regular camper. I have goals for myself that I want to accomplish by the end of the session.
During my seven summers at Ramah Wisconsin’s Tikvah program, I learned that my bunkmates from other cities struggled to be included with their Jewish peers in their own communities. Many of my disabled peers often had their only Jewish education and Jewish peer interactions during the summer at Ramah, while I felt very fortunate to have had a strong group of Jewish peers and a regular Jewish education at my own synagogue, B’nai Amoona in St. Louis, MO.
Ever since 1956, when the very first convention took place in New York City, the Jewish Deaf Congress (formerly known as the NCJD – National Congress of Jewish Deaf) long ago earned a cherished place in the hearts of Jewish deaf people in the United States. It is the address where everybody can meet up with former classmates and reminisce about the old days. It is also the place where so many Jewish deaf singles have found their matches – among them, my parents.