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.

Vayikra: Parenting And 'Perfection'

After Moses anoints the Tent of Appointed Meeting and the Priests who will officiate there, God speaks to him:

Explain to the sons of Israel the ways of bringing offerings to God. There will be offerings of animals and grains and fruit. Animals for sacrifice shall be male and without blemish. These animals shall be killed and washed and burned so each shall smoke on the altar in the Tent of Appointed Meeting. This will be for an ascent offering, an offering made by fire in expression of compliance to God and to make atonement before God.

AIPAC: Where Are The Sign Language And Captions?

Today, when Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a vital speech in front of 14,000 people at AIPAC on the threat of Iran and the need for a successful lasting and secure peace, there was no sign language interpreter or live captioning offered. There were more than 40 massive screens around the room showing the speech – yet not one of them enabled someone with a hearing impairment to follow the program.

At AIPAC, speakers showed up on huge screens but none offered captions for the hearing impaired. Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi

A Completely Unremarkable Story

A few weeks ago I attended our synagogue’s Kabbalat Shabbat service. This once-a-month service has an earlier start time than our traditional service and is followed by a congregational potluck dinner. The shorter service is ideal for many: Our youngest children who aren’t ready to be out past their bedtimes; teens who want to go out with friends later in the evening and adult members who don’t want to be out past their bedtimes after a full week of work. Our Kabbalat Shabbat is also a wonderful fit for an adult member of our congregation with developmental disabilities.

Lisa Friedman

Ki Tissa: Awareness Is Necessary, Not Sufficient

God’s initial revelation to the Israelites at Mount Sinai, when He uttered the Ten Commandments, was accompanied by lightning, thunder and shofar blasts that inspired the soul. The inspiration lasted just forty days.

Rabbi Michael Levy

Tracking Devices: Where On The Web

For the last few months, New York City was filled with posters of a missing teenage boy with autism, Avonte Oquendo. This story affected everyone regardless of race, religion, gender or socio-economic status. A child was missing: A child with severe autism, who was non-verbal. Families of a child with special needs or anyone who works with children with special needs was affected even more.

Frances Victory

Lobbying During Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month And Beyond

The opportunity to sit down with your senator, to walk the halls of power from City Hall to the Capitol, even just to tell a congressional intern what you care about today – the privileges of democracy are thrilling, and they’re open to anyone.

Come on in: It's fun to walk the halls of power. Via wikipedia.org

After Birthright, Israel Is My Second Home

When I first heard of Birthright I wanted to go. I had many friends and cousins who had gone, too, and were all so excited after the trip. So finally this winter I was able to go. I wanted to see my history and see where Judaism came from because it is me.

Lindsey Cohen, floating happily on the Dead Sea. Courtesy Jewish Child Care Association

Seeking Nominations For The JW's 36 Under 36

Deadline: February 28, 2014-- HURRY!

Each year, The Jewish Week publishes in print and online a special section profiling 36 up-and-coming Jewish New Yorkers.This special issue will be published in print on June 6 and online June 4, 2014.

We look for individuals who, to paraphrase the sage Hillel, are for themselves but not for themselves alone, who are high achievers in their respective fields and who have gone above and beyond to help others.

Help us find this year's 36 Under 36!

ReelAbilities Film Fest: Watch Trailer, Tix Available

The JCC in Manhattan presents the 6th Annual Reelabilites Film Festival, the largest festival in the country dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities. 

 

 

The festival runs MARCH 6 - 11 in more than 30 locations through the city.

Tetzaveh: Everyone Can Help Build The Mishkan

The lighting of the menorah opens our parsha:

Command the Children of Israel and they shall take to you pure olive oil, beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn tamid, constantly. [Shemot 27:20]

The placement of these verses is curious, as the more appropriate place would have been in last week’s parsha, together with the making of the menorah.  The verse also stresses not just the lighting of the menorah, but the donating of the oil for that sake. In this way, it echoes last week’s parasha that opens with a command to donate various items to the making of the Tabernacle.

A menorah from the synagogue of Cordoba. Wikimedia Commons
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