blindness

Not So Special: My Bar Mitzvah Year, 50 Years Later

In 1965, the phrase “special needs” hadn’t yet been coined. I felt just like the other 15 students — excited about our Bar Mitzvahs, but bored by the four hours of preparation each week.

The Broken Sidewalk: A Mother's Day Tribute

Even when I was only 5, my mother, Etta Levy, encouraged me, her blind son, to explore the area near our house.  She didn’t allow me to cross the street, but there was still plenty to discover.

The tree roots, searching for water underground, had cracked the sidewalk in many places.  The slight downward slope followed by the large upward bump informed me that I was in front of our basement window.  At the eastern edge of the property, I felt the pavement change to a different texture of concrete.  Farther along, the recently repaved sidewalk by Anthony’s house was miraculously smooth. 

Etta Levy, z''l. Courtesy of Michael Levy

How Children View Disability: A Refreshing Perspective

While I waited to donate blood at my local firehouse, I was introduced to a friend’s five-year-old daughter.  I covered my face and said “I’m shy.”

The Truths My Father Taught Me--A Father's Day Tribute (Part 2)

Editor's Note: In honor of Father's day, Rabbi Michael Levy shares this loving tribute to his father. Click here to read Part 1, which ends with a doctor's discovery of a spot on his father's lung.

My parents tried to cover up this health crisis like all the medical problems of the past.  This was especially so because my wife Chavi and I were expecting.

In September, all four of our parents helped with our "big Sunday." We moved and arranged furniture from morning until evening.  The file cabinet made its way from the "second bedroom" into ours. A bed disappeared downstairs into the storage area. 

A big empty space appeared along one wall of the second bedroom, waiting for a crib. I didn't see my mother's tears when my mother-in-law caught her off guard with the question "How's Aaron?"

I learned about the spot on Dad’s lung only as they were preparing him for the operation. The bicycle ride of so many years ago came to mind. The collision had happened. 

Rabbi Michael Levy

The Truths My Father Taught Me--A Father's Day Tribute (Part 1)

Editor's Note: In honor of Father's day, Rabbi Michael Levy shares his moving tribute to his father. Part two will be posted on Sunday.

"Look, a two-headed bike!" said a kid passing by. This confirmed for me that Dad and I, on our tandem bicycle, were invincible.

Riding on the two-seated bicycle with Dad, I didn't think about being blind. I did what everybody else did on the back seat of a tandem, no steering, just pedaling.

Doing what everybody else did. That’s the kind of childhood my parents gave me. If you feel included and valued by your family, then no future obstacles in your path will deter you.

Amazing Grace

05/28/1999
Associate Editor
I used to enjoy your articles,î says Lavi Greenspan, ìbut now that Iím blind I canít read them.î That and flying a rocket is all he canít do, and heís getting along just fine. Greenspan, 28, who lost his sight nearly 18 months ago after the ìsuccessfulî removal of a benign pituitary tumor destroyed his optic nerve, has since graduated Fordham Law, passed the bar, traveled to Israel by himself, and is about to graduate Yeshiva Universityís rabbinical school.
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