Each year, Oceanside Jewish Center (OJC) on Long Island hosts a special Inclusion Shabbat to focus upon issues and challenges affecting adults and children with disabilities in the synagogue and Jewish community as a whole. The weekend is named for and honors, Harriet Seifman (wife of the co-author), who worked with children with special needs her entire career, both as a teacher and as an administrator.
According to clinical psychologist Esther Altmann, writing on the MyJewishLearning website, "Anorexia and bulimia are most prevalent within upwardly mobile demographic groups, and are amongst the most emotionally and physically devastating disorders affecting young Jewish women. The Jewish community has become increasingly aware that eating disorders are a serious health concern and, in some cases, a life threatening condition."
Like many in North America I was saddened by the recent suicide of Rutgers University freshmen Tyler Clementi. I feel for his family and friends. May their memories of him be a comfort.
As I have been reflecting on the events that led to his death and discussing it with my family, friends, and colleagues, a few thoughts come to mind. I'd like to share them with you because I know you are also thinking about this tragedy.