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Posted: Sat, 02/14/2015 - 14:58 | The New Normal

In honor of Jewish Disability Awareness Month (#JDAM15), I had the privilege of interviewing Rabbi Robert Levine, Rabbi Benjamin Spratt and Rabbi Leora Kaye from Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City. These three amazing religious leaders plus Mrs. Gina Levine and Dr. Nancy Crown have worked together to develop Shireinu, holiday worship services for families of individuals with special needs.

The Shireinu program was started in June 2008 when Dr. Nancy Crown mentioned to Rabbi Levine’s wife that she felt her daughter with special needs did not fit in at Rodeph Sholom and therefore could only attend services on the high holidays.

Posted: Thu, 02/12/2015 - 19:23 | The New Normal

On a recent visit to a Pikud HaOref, Home Front Command base in Ramle, 14 miles southeast of Tel Aviv, a soldier tells me a very animated story about his role in Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s military operation in Gaza: “My job was to copy the papers for our soldiers to drop from planes over Gaza this summer!” The soldier, in uniform with his bright orange beret on his shoulder, happens to have Down Syndrome. 

He is very excited about his job in the base print shop. Another soldier with a visible disability proudly recounts the visit to the base the previous day by IDF Chief of Staff, Benny Ganz.  “We saluted him and gave him a present — olive oil that we made on the base!” 

Twenty five other soldiers with disabilities perform similarly important jobs each day on the base. If Tiran Attia and other visionaries have their way, Tzahal, or the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), may become a “game changer” in Israel for inclusion and for shaping attitudes about people with disabilities.

Posted: Thu, 02/12/2015 - 13:10 | Well Versed

Posted: Thu, 02/12/2015 - 12:31 | Political Insider

There is another part of the Brian Williams story getting too little attention.  It is when the million dollar New York celebrity anchors drop in out of the sky to "report" on the crisis du jour that they never really covered.

All it takes is a disaster, tsunami, massacre, war, hurricane and, of course, easy access for planes carrying their camera crews and makeup teams.  That's why you're more likely to see them in the Middle East or Europe than Africa or South America.

Posted: Wed, 02/11/2015 - 18:08 | Political Insider

Benjamin Netanyahu said he is coming to Washington next month, as he went to the memorial services in Paris, "as a representative of the entire Jewish people." 

Who anointed him?

I don't recall any election for leader of the Jewish people.  He doesn't speak for me or millions of other American Jews. I don't recall voting for him or for anyone leader of the Jews.

Posted: Tue, 02/10/2015 - 12:56 | Well Versed

The chair where she isn’t sitting. The second cup of tea untouched. The postcard she wrote, back when you could still smell her, that simply reads: “Come find me.”  The Memorabilia of Mourning.