Posted: Fri, 03/14/2014 - 07:20 | The New Normal

The Ruderman Family Foundation has announced the launch of the third annual Ruderman Prize in Inclusion global competition. The Prize recognizes organizations who have demonstrated their commitment to the full inclusion of people with disabilities into the Jewish community through innovative programs and services. The $250,000 prize will be split equally by five organizations.

“Our foundation is seeking to recognize and award excellence in the inclusion of people with disabilities in our Jewish community around the globe,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation.

Posted: Thu, 03/13/2014 - 17:25 | The New Normal

Purim is fun, and food, and noise, but there is also a serious side to Purim. Before Esther reveals her Jewish identity to the king, she hides behind a mask of anonymity, one of many in the harem. Only after she speaks as Esther, the Jew, does she speak honestly, with her own voice. Her power comes from the honesty in her own voice and not behind her mask.

Many of us, especially in the special needs world, learn to live behind masks.

Posted: Tue, 03/11/2014 - 19:07 | The New Normal

Young adults with disabilities do not often get to enjoy Shabbat on a college campus with peers, but that's exactly what happened in early February when five Ramah campers, and four staff members, reunited at Brandeis for a Shabbaton.

What made the get-together even more special was that they were joining a large gorup of Yachad members and advisors for the annual New England Yachad Shabbaton. Yachad is a program of the Orthodox Union, members of all Jewish denominations are embraced and have the opportunity to engage with Judaism in their own ways.

Posted: Mon, 03/10/2014 - 20:51 | The New Normal

Editors Note: Gateways in Boston offers programs and services to children with special needs and educational challenges in Greater Boston's Jewish day schools, congregational and community supplemental schools and Jewish preschools, as well as Gateways’ own Sunday school, B'nei Mitzvah preparation program and teen youth group. They also share free, downloadable resources. Here we are highlighting their Purim resources for children with special learning needs.

Posted: Fri, 03/07/2014 - 11:13 | The New Normal

After Moses anoints the Tent of Appointed Meeting and the Priests who will officiate there, God speaks to him:

Explain to the sons of Israel the ways of bringing offerings to God. There will be offerings of animals and grains and fruit. Animals for sacrifice shall be male and without blemish. These animals shall be killed and washed and burned so each shall smoke on the altar in the Tent of Appointed Meeting. This will be for an ascent offering, an offering made by fire in expression of compliance to God and to make atonement before God.

Posted: Tue, 03/04/2014 - 14:32 | The New Normal

Today, when Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a vital speech in front of 14,000 people at AIPAC on the threat of Iran and the need for a successful lasting and secure peace, there was no sign language interpreter or live captioning offered. There were more than 40 massive screens around the room showing the speech – yet not one of them enabled someone with a hearing impairment to follow the program.