Posted: Thu, 11/20/2014 - 14:24 | Posted by: Zachary Wolf | The New Normal

When I was little I thought that becoming a bar mitzvah was about learning to read the Torah and putting on tefillin. But as it gets closer I realize it is also about taking on some important adult responsibilities, like thinking of others. So in preparation for my upcoming bar mitzvah this spring I decided to "twin" with a child with disabilities from Beit Issie Shapiro in Ra’anana, Israel.

I know a lot about Beit Issie because my parents have been involved there since before I was born. It’s not only a school for children with developmental disabilities, but also a place where they teach therapists from all over the world new things.

Posted: Mon, 11/17/2014 - 14:21 | Posted by: Shelly Christensen | The New Normal
Faculty members Sarah Blitzstein, Rabbi Lynne Landsberg and Shelly Christensen. Courtesy of Shelly Christensen

Editor's Note: This blog originally appeared at www.inclusioninnovations.com.

The second cohort of the Jewish Leadership Institute on Disabilities and Inclusion (JLIDI) convenes at the Pearlstone Center near Baltimore for four days of intense study this week. They will be treated to compelling and insightful presentations by our excellent faculty, bond with and learn from each other and have time to reflect on individual leadership challenges.

When I returned from the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities (NLCDD) Leadership Institute, on which the JLIDI is based, in 2009, I was inspired by the concept of Person-Centered Thinking, in which all people have positive control over the lives they have chosen for themselves.

Posted: Mon, 11/17/2014 - 14:12 | Posted by: Tali Cohen | The New Normal
Tikvah Family Shabbaton Participants. Courtesy of Tali Cohen

I am filled with the overwhelming feeling of gratifying exhaustion from running Ramah New England’s second Tikvah Family Shabbaton.

Posted: Thu, 11/13/2014 - 07:38 | Posted by: Rabbi Rebecca Schorr | The New Normal
Rabbi Rebecca Schorr

Last week's announcement by Jerry Seinfeld that he is "probably on the autism spectrum" has been met with mixed emotions by those of us who are connected to the autism community. There are those who applaud Seinfeld for being open about his struggles with social engagement and those who fear that his announcement will somehow diminish the struggles of those on the spectrum. Both sides are excoriating one another in the blogosphere, highlighting the division between the parents of low-functioning kids and the parents of the high-functioning ones.

Posted: Tue, 11/11/2014 - 14:46 | Posted by: Paula Fox | The New Normal

Gratitude is an essential part of my survival.  Let me introduce myself: I am a 67-year-old woman with a bipolar disorder, a spinal cord injury since 1975, an amputated left leg following a severe pressure sore in 2008, kidney disease requiring dialysis and breast cancer this summer that ruled out the possibility of getting a kidney transplant.