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.

Posted: Wed, 10/01/2014 - 07:01 | Posted by: Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer | The New Normal
Jewish Funders Network

The Jewish Funders Network disabilities peer network, made up of funders who are working to build more inclusive and supportive communities, is commissioning a guidebook on how to use Jewish texts to talk about disability rights and inclusion. JFN plans to distribute the guide to Jewish and international human rights communities.

Posted: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 08:20 | Posted by: Alison Auderieth Lobron | The New Normal

The leaves are changing.  The air is crisp, with a hint of a chill.  The sweaters and long pants are coming out of storage.  No doubt about it.  Fall has arrived. 

And with the change in season will come changes in routine, changes in activities and changes in expectations.  All the things that fill the heart and gut of a special needs parent with fear and dread.

My son Gabe is six years old, and he has autism.  He is charming, and funny, and very very smart.  He also exhibits behavior at times that is unusual, challenging, and unpredictable.