Posted: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 07:19 | Posted by: Alisa Bodner | The New Normal

Alisa Bodner shares this blog written by the first employee with special needs that LOTEM, an Israeli agency making nature accessible for all people, has hired.

My name is Amichay Turgeman. I am 27 years old.  I am just completing my first year working with LOTEM.

Posted: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 10:07 | Posted by: Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer | The New Normal

Slingshot has released Slingshot '14 – '15, its tenth annual guide to North America’s most innovative Jewish organizations this week. Over the last decade, the Guide has become a go-to resource for volunteers, activists and donors looking for new opportunities and projects in the Jewish community.

This year, Slingshot did not produce a supplement focusing on disability and inclusion, but instead integrated a number of organizations whose mission includes supporting people with disabilities and their families into the main guide.

Posted: Mon, 10/13/2014 - 20:23 | Posted by: Yisrael Rothwachs | The New Normal

Permit me to challenge you to look at inclusion from a different perspective. 

I think it is time to stop viewing inclusion as a chesed — an act of selfless kindness — to benefit only the individual with special needs. I believe that the inclusion of people with disabilities into all aspects of mainstream life benefits society as a whole, and has a profound impact on everyone who takes part in it.

Posted: Wed, 10/08/2014 - 07:24 | Posted by: Rabbi Michael Levy | The New Normal
Rabbi Michael Levy

On Thursday night and Friday we will celebrate Simchat Torah. Amid singing and dancing, we complete the reading of the Torah and, without pause, begin the Torah reading cycle again. I have often marveled that, like a massive oak growing from a small seed, our religion has developed from a portable scroll. 

Posted: Fri, 10/03/2014 - 06:52 | Posted by: Shelly Christensen | The New Normal

During Yizkor on Yom Kippur, I remember my father, who always made us laugh and I also remember my best friend Carla Meyers, who used to say, “In humor there is truth.”

So when I recently came across this joke in the Joseph Telushkin book Jewish Humor, I recognized the sad truth buried within a joke that causes discomfort in me because it should be so far from reality. 

The joke: A Jewish mother is walking down the street with her two young sons. A passerby asks her how old the boys are. “The doctor is three,” the mother answers. “And the lawyer is two.”

We can laugh at the joke, but I do believe that we are ready to move beyond the thinking behind it.