Posted: Thu, 07/17/2014 - 11:03 | Posted by: Rabbi Yehoshua Soudakoff | The New Normal

It was everywhere. Madrid, Paris, New York, Moscow - everyone was watching. I’m talking about the FIFA World Cup, of course. According to statistics, a full 1/9 of the planet watches the proceedings of this tournament. We’re talking here about hundreds of millions of people. From distant corners of the globe, people watch the same ball bouncing on the screen and cheer for their favorite teams.

Well, there's another global event coming up, though not on the scale of the World Cup. Next month, boys are flying in from Israel, from Russia, from Germany and from all over the United States to New York City. What for, you ask? To participate in a Jewish camp. For many of them, it will be their very first time living and experiencing Judaism among their peers.

I am proud to be behind the planning of this unique program for Jewish deaf boys between 8-16 years old.

Posted: Wed, 07/16/2014 - 20:53 | Posted by: Shelley Cohen | The New Normal
Shelley Cohen

Editor's Note: The name of the student written about below has been changed to protect his privacy.

Congratulations to Germany on winning the World Cup! For those full-hearted soccer fans, I hope you enjoyed the World Cup with all the attention and talk it garnered.

As for me, I started to lose interest when I could no longer watch the amazing Tim Howard, Team USA’s goalie, after the United States team lost. But I have to admit it was more than soccer itself that kept me glued to the televised USA matches. It was the amazing story of Tim Howard and how he played with such incredible prowess and timing while having Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary tics and vocalizations and often the compulsive utterance of obscenities.

Posted: Mon, 07/14/2014 - 11:03 | Posted by: Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer | The New Normal
Debra Cohen, JFS President, and Becky Cisneros at the opening of “Houstonians with Positive Exposure.” Courtesy of Meredith Sega

The Ruderman Family Foundation announced today the five winners of the third annual Ruderman Prize in Inclusion. The Prize honors organizations worldwide who operate innovative programs and provide services that foster the full inclusion of people with disabilities in their local Jewish community.

Posted: Thu, 07/10/2014 - 14:43 | Posted by: Rabbi Michael Levy | The New Normal
Rabbi Michael Levy

Part One

Time:  About 2245 on the Jewish calendar (3500 years ago.)
Place:  Hebron, Israel

Poor Dan!

Eleven of Jacob’s twelve sons had two or more children.  Benjamin had ten!

The twelfth son, Dan, had one son, Chushim, who was deaf.  Like many parents today, Dan might have worried, “What will be the future of my disabled child?”
 
The phrase “special needs child” hadn’t been invented yet.  On his own, Chushim, trying to be ordinary, would communicate “What’s going on?” when he didn’t understand a situation.

Posted: Wed, 07/09/2014 - 16:56 | Posted by: Efrem Epstein | The New Normal
Efrem Epstein

Much ado was made last November, when the rare overlapping of Thanksgiving and Channukah captured the fascination of the Jewish (and much of the secular) world.    Some of us soaked up every ounce of the hype, while others found it overwhelming but when it was over a certain remorse was felt over the fact that it would be 57 years before the two holidays would overlap again (and thousands of years before the two days would overlap in their entirety).

Far less heralded or noticed than Thanksgivukkah has been the quirk in the Jewish calendar that will make this Sabbath (July 12) a "last time for a generation" occurrence.   In most years, Parshat Pinchas falls during the three weeks leading up to the 9th of Av which means that the assigned Haftarah is superseded for a special seasonal reading.