In just a couple of days, nearly five thousand Reform Jews will descend upon the San Diego Convention Center for the 72nd Union of Reform Judaism Biennial Convention. Despite that impressive number, this experience has not been fully inclusive of those with disabilities.
The photograph was a fundraiser’s dream: a frail child in a gold-and-black dress struggling for balance on a walker. The caption accompanying the photo described her plight: “Ayalah [is] a beautiful five-year-old born with spina bifida and is paralyzed from the waist down.”
I’m torn, really. On the one hand, I really do not want to jump on the Pew Study response bandwagon. If I even the mention the study at this point I run the risk of losing a dozen readers right away. Please, stay with me.
Ever since our son was diagnosed with autism, at age two and a half, I'd been wondering about his bar mitzvah. I come from a family of shulgoers who lead services, read from the Torah, and sing. My husband does, too. He and I have been teaching b’nei mitzvah for decades, and the question of our son’s bar mitzvah loomed large for 10 years.
Before enlisting in the Israel Defense Forces, I put a lot of consideration into where I wanted to serve. I thought about how I would be able to make the most of my abilities and how I could best contribute. I understood that I would have to do something that I loved and felt connected to.
In these days of media saturation and instant connections, it sometimes seems, as Shakespeare put it, that the whole world is a stage. Everything must be dramatic. “What bleeds, leads,” and “What yells, sells.”