The New Normal

Everyone is welcome in The New Normal, a Jewish blog about disability. We're a source of information, inspiration and a challenge to received wisdom.

A Summer Camp Counselor Turns Tears Into A Heart-To-Heart

Editor's Note: Each year, the Jewish Agency for Israel sends a group of young emissaries (shlichim) to serve as counselors and specialists at Camp Ramapo, a summer camp in Northern New-York, Dutchess County, for children with special needs. A non-profit established in 1922, Ramapo gathers a wide spectrum of special needs children under one umbrella. The shlichim at Ramapo bring a cultural perspective that has become a special part of the Ramapo experience. Shaked Karp, 24, came to Ramapo three years ago after completing her service in an Israeli army intelligence unit and has has returned every year since. She explains why here.

The Israelis at Ramapo. Shaked Karp is the fourth from the right in the back row. Photo courtesy Jewish Agency for Israel

A New Survey Reveals 'A Distance Between Words And Deeds'

Almost 100 percent of the 2,607 relatively engaged Jews polled by RespectAbilityUSA and Jerusalem U agree that “Jewish events and organizations should be as welcoming and inclusive of people with disabilities as everyone else,” with 89 percent of the sample agreeing strongly.

Donn Weinberg and Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, founders of RespectAbilityUSA. Photo courtesy RespectAbilityUSA

Best. High Holiday Service. Ever.

I have always looked forward to attending synagogue services on Rosh Hashanah. Hearing the shofar often felt like a spiritual cleansing: a reminder that this was the time of year to think about your wrong doings and ask God for forgiveness.

Frances Victory

The Book Of Life And Prosperity: Employment In The Disability Community

On Shabbat and holidays, we refrain from praying to God about financial concerns.  We concentrate instead on the spiritual dimension of our lives.

Rabbi Michael Levy

5 Synagogue Inclusion How-Tos For The Holidays

Ready or not, the High Holy Days are upon us!

Recently, Jewish Learning Venture hosted a webinar on “High Holiday Inclusion” as part of outreach to clergy and lay leadership in the Philadelphia vicinity. We are sharing some tips that we hope your community can utilize, either this year or in the future, to make your synagogue truly a house of worship for all people.

Clergy and synagogue staff can easily and cheaply do a lot to make services a happy and calm experience for everyone. Fotolia

Lucy, Grade 2: 'I'm Okay,' And 'I Need Help'

For the first time in 115 years, Rosh HaShanah occurs just after Labor Day and coincides with the beginning of school for children and teachers in many states across the country. While Rosh Hashanah is always a time for reflection, this Jewish New Year provides us with a unique opportunity.

Meredith Englander Polsky

High Holiday Resources From 'Gateways: Access To Jewish Education'

Gateways is a Boston-area organization that provides special education services, expertise and support to enable students with diverse learning needs to succeed in Jewish education settings and participate in Jewish life.

Towards this goal, we have created for the community a range of High Holiday resources: tools for educators and parents of young children and students with special needs.

Gateways has created special needs resources for the High Holidays, including season-specific blessings. Image via JGateways.org

Nitzavim-Vayelech: I Also Have A Dream

August 28, 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington, a landmark event in the struggle for civil rights for blacks and economic opportunity for disadvantaged Americans. At the conclusion of the event, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. rallied the participants with a speech that has come to be known as "I Have a Dream." He longed for the day when all Americans could proclaim "free at last."

Rabbi Michael Levy

Breaking News: New Disability-Sensitive High Holiday Service In Brooklyn!

East Midwood Jewish Center’s High Holy Days schedule of services and events grows this year with the addition of a new service sensitive to persons with a variety of needs. Their Sunday, September 8th service is between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, from 11:00 to noon. Cantor Sam Levine, with the assistance of friends from the EMJC community, will lead a lively and engaging service of prayer, Torah, song, story, music-making, and shofar blowing in a supportive atmosphere full of holiday joy.

Head to Brooklyn for a high holiday service designed with people who have disabilities in mind.

Seeking Respondents With Disabilities For Survey On Jewish Identity And Israel

Hello people who care!

I am writing for your advice on Jewish identity, Israel and more. RespectAbilityUSA is partnering with JerusalemU for this online survey and we want to be sure that the sample has enough Jews with disabilities and their family members. Can you please fill this out AND send it to all the Jews you know who have disabilities or a family member with a disability? So far 1800 Jews have filled out the survey, but not nearly enough of them are from the disability community. We want your voice to be heard!

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
Syndicate content