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Posted: Thu, 07/24/2014 - 15:08 | Political Insider

Hamas reminds me of that old commercial for Timex watches when the announce would intone, "It takes a licking and keeps on ticking."

Posted: Wed, 07/23/2014 - 07:07 | The New Normal

Last week, I found myself wearing an oversized camp T-shirt, sitting on the back of a bus headed up to the mountains for a field trip with a bunch of squirmy but excited campers. It was a bit of an "How did I get here?" moment. After all, I am a full time occupational therapist working in early intervention, not an educator looking to bring in a summer salary. I paid my dues working as a junior counselor, then a counselor at numerous camps … but that was 18 years ago. I have two children of my own now, both campers themselves. 

It is my commitment to inclusion for Jewish children with disabilities and differences of all stripes in all aspects of religious life that led me to pack my own water bottle and sunscreen and venture onto "the field," so to speak. 

Posted: Mon, 07/21/2014 - 23:34 | Political Insider

Towards the end of a report on the Nightly News Monday evening NBC Anchor Brian Williams read a statement from Hamas accusing Israel of "murdering" hundreds of civilians and denying that his group had ever targeted Israeli civilians.

Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan did not appear on camera, as he has on other networks, but Williams read his statement:

Posted: Mon, 07/21/2014 - 13:48 | The New Normal

Editor's Note: Yesterday we featured another voice from Israel, "Sleepless in Jerusalem." We appreciate Miriam and Beth bringing us their perspectives during this very hard time.

This summer, noises make me jumpy. “What if I miss a siren,” I wonder to myself, thinking of a friend who lives in a neighborhood where she depends on friends to SMS her when the siren blares. The loudspeakers just don’t work right.

What if I’m not near Akiva, our youngest who has special needs, when the siren blows? Happily, he’s coped, even one Saturday afternoon when the siren blew during B’nai Akiva, the local youth movement not known for its organization and planning.

Posted: Fri, 07/18/2014 - 16:45 | Political Insider

If you're like me, you've been closely following the latest fighting between Israel and Hamas, and trying to dig out from under a flood of urgent appeals -- phone, snail mail and email -- from Jewish groups urging you to "show your support" for Israel.

How to show support? Send money, of course.

Some are soliciting for Israel Emergency Funds, as in prior crises, but most are collecting for their own coffers.

Posted: Fri, 07/18/2014 - 07:39 | The New Normal

Editor's Note: Miriam's reflection originally appeared on the Shutaf blog. We want to share the experiences living through the sirens for people with disabilities and will feature another voice from Jerusalem next week.

Parents of children, teens and adults with disabilities see the world through a very different prism – a unique prism of worry. We worry about different and more things than the rest of you do. The things that are obvious, attainable and easy for typical children can be huge obstacles for a child or young adult with special needs. Other 18-year-olds are moving on to a new stage in life – completing a gap year, going into the army or national service. At our house, we’re trying to get Vinnie to serve herself lunch.

This latest surreal situation in Israel is scary, especially for Israelis in the south. I can’t imagine. While Jerusalem has been relatively quiet, Vinnie was outdoors during one siren and the loud noise freaked her out. She’s been uptight since then, has had trouble falling asleep and bad dreams.