The New Normal Blog

Posted: Wed, 09/28/2016 - 14:11 | Posted by: Shelley Richman Cohen | The New Normal
Sign posted during construction. Courtesy of CSAIR

Posted: Fri, 09/23/2016 - 11:35 | Posted by: Rabbi Rebecca Dubowe | The New Normal
Welcome. Courtesy of the URJ

As I remember them growing up, our family’s yom tov (holiday) celebrations looked like this: With the dining room table covered in a beautiful white tablecloth, elegant china and silverware, and brightly polished candle sticks and Kiddush cups, it was ready for the matzah ball soup, the round, sweet, freshly-baked challah, honey chicken, and the rest of the festive meal. My brother and I, busy blowing our toy shofars, looked forward to dipping our apples in honey.

Posted: Tue, 09/20/2016 - 11:30 | Posted by: Howard Blas | The New Normal
Alex Cohen. Courtesy of Howard Blas

We are happy to share this interview between Howard Blas and Alex Cohen, a participant in a supported employment program at Camp Ramah in New England. Some graduates of the vocational training  program for young adults with disabilities are hired for positions at the camp and are supported by job-site supervisors and our director of staff support. The program also provides assistance to some staff members who have not previously attended camp but would benefit from a similar level of support. 

Posted: Thu, 09/15/2016 - 19:58 | Posted by: Shelley Richman Cohen | The New Normal
Community at Park Slope Jewish Center. Courtesy of Aileen Heiman

Since March of 2015, six New York area synagogues have been focused on tangibly weaving the inclusion of people with disabilities in the fabric of their communities. UJA-Federation of New York, with funding from the Leo Oppenheimer & Flora Oppenheimer Haas Foundation, piloted The Synagogue Inclusion Project, a groundbreaking 18-month pilot program to create a replicable, sustainable approach to integrating members of our community with disabilities. The pilot synagogue cohort included synagogues large and small, Conservative and Reform, urban and suburban. What bound them together was a stated desire to be inclusive of people with disabilities, but an underlying doubt that they were having the desired impact.

Posted: Wed, 09/14/2016 - 09:21 | Posted by: Nina Mogilnik | The New Normal
The author's son, Noah. Courtesy of Nina Mogilnik

I have feared the day the school bus stops coming for my son Noah for so long that I’m not sure I recall a time when that fear didn’t dog me. In fact, it feels as if I’ve held onto that fear as long as I’ve held onto him. The day is now officially a year away, since Noah started his last year of high school September 1, 2016. 

I recall vividly, with each of my kids, the promise embedded in each first day of school. I picked out their clothes, put little backpacks with some favorite character emblazoned on it over their shoulders, and walked with them to pre-school. Then I brought them to the bus stop for their first day of kindergarten. Everything felt so full of hope. One son graduated from college a year ago. My daughter just started her junior year of high school. Noah will finish his sixth year of high school this year and then go off a cliff.

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