So, Jewish life after Bar Mitzvah… It is hard to believe that there is life after Bar Mitzvah! Since our son Avi was diagnosed with autism as a toddler, we have been very goal-driven. What did he need to achieve his goals? How can we maximize his potential? What will his role be in the Jewish community, if any? Until quite recently, this was very much a blur. Some days the answers seemed clear; other days, we had no idea.
As a doctor who regularly diagnosed children who have autism, Ross was heartbroken to hear stories of social isolation from the families whose children she was treating. Because many children with autism become overstimulated in loud, crowded or new environments, parents often opt to keep the family home rather than experience fun family outings, like going to a ball game. But Dr. Ross knew that isolation didn't serve her patients with autism well in the long run.
Frequently, I hear congregants complain that their rabbis are not inspiring or that they never take clear stands on issues of importance. That's why the ongoing discussion about rabbinic independence that has erupted again at B'nai Jeshurun, covered very fairly by The Jewish Week (“B’nai Jeshurun Defections Fuel Debate,” Feb. 28), transcends any single congregation and any one subject. It is a contemporary case study about two issues facing the congregational world:
My grandma Sadie lived in the town of Droghobych in Ukraine until she was 13. Nearby, there is a dirt road through a forest leading to the mass graves where the town’s last Jewish population lies buried. It is barely marked — if you did not know to look for the large slabs of concrete between the trees, you would have a hard time finding it. As a human rights lawyer who has spent a lifetime documenting atrocities, I was not prepared for the effect of this visit a few months ago. I broke into tears.
By now it’s old news: Baby boomers are redefining aging, Jewish boomers are disengaging from community life, and the Jewish community is not well-prepared.
The salient question: Is the Jewish community ready to define our future by creating a just society that reflects Jewish values and respects the aging boomer population? Or will we simply allow the December 2010 Pew Research report, “Boomers Approach Age 65 Glumly,” to become a self-fulfilling prophecy?
When I hooked up my kids' new Nintendo Wii a couple years ago, I noticed that each player has to create their own Mii. The significance wasn't lost on me (or is it Mii?). As I set up this new video gaming device, I wondered if it would promote community or promote loneliness.
Would other kids join my children in the basement as they all took turns participating in an activity that prioritizes the Wii... or would each child find himself "bowling alone" with an interactive television in the basement thereby prioritizing the Mii?
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.