Blogs

The Exodus from Egypt: A Model for Future Liberations

Each Shabbat from January 10 through January 31, 2015, the Torah portions recited in synagogues recount how God liberated the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. For those who are oppressed, Jews and non-Jews alike, the Exodus recalls the determination of slaves to be free and the compassion of God, the Liberator.

Belief-The First Step Towards Liberation

Before the Exodus, no slave had ever escaped from Egypt. Many Israelite slaves, even as redemption neared, succumbed to despair. An important first step towards liberation is realizing that God is not limited by what we humans may consider "the impossible."

Jewish Disability Awareness Month Is Coming: Share YOUR Voice!

At the New Normal, we know that creating a more inclusive Jewish community is a year-round effort, but we also recognize that Jewish Disability Awareness Month (JDAM) in February is a chance to come together as a national community to raise disability awareness and support inclusion efforts. JDAM is a time when we can focus our attention on providing meaningful inclusion and full participation of people with disabilities and their families in Jewish community.

Ancient Master Of Glass

Long before the acclaimed Seattle glass artist Dale Chihuly exhibited his colorfully light-infused work in a highly popular installation in Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum in 1999, another master glass blower was well-known in the ancient city: Ennion, who lived and worked in the coastal region of Phoenicia in the  early part of the first century C.E. 

Two-handled jug (amphora) signed by Ennion. Roman, 1st half of 1st century A.D. Ardon Bar-Hama

From Darkness To Light: Opportunities For People With Disabilities

When I was a little girl I would dream about what other little Jewish girls would dream about. I played house with my dolls and I would dream about growing up, getting married and having children. But as I got older – as a 12-13 year old – I got stuck in an institution and that was society’s way of telling me that my dreams were not realistic.

Society, back then in the 1960s, was very different than it is today. To lock someone away in a prison-like environment because they’re mentally challenged was common back then.  It was horrible. Places like that don’t exist anymore, Baruch Hashem.

Phyllis Lit

Alan Gross To Be Obama Guest At SOTU

The Maryland man who spent five years in a Cuban prison for smuggling internet equipment for the Communist nation's tiny Jewish community will be a guest of President Obama at tomorrow night's State of the Union Address. 

Alan Gross, who was freed as part of a deal restoring relations between Cuba and the United States, will get hearty applause from Members of Congress, including those who think Obama made a bad deal with the Castros.

Balanced Budget Blather

President Obama's proposal to raise taxes on the top 0.1 percent -- that's 1 percent of the top 1 percent -- to give tax breaks to the middle class was quickly denounced by Republicans as "counterproductive."

He'll unveil his plan public in Tuesday's State of the Union Address but the opposition wasted no time in letting him know it is a non-starter.

Young Jews Through A Russian-Speaking Lens

Chabad on the Bowery recently played host to a group of young Jews, some wearing kippot or long skirts, others less clearly Jewish-affiliated. What made this event singular was that most of its attendees were speaking Russian or Russian-tinged English.

Men's evening learning program in Makarov Kollel. Anna Chana Demidova

Exciting New Initiative For Jewish PreSchoolers With Special Needs

Editor's Note: We were thrilled that Alison Auderieth Lobron's blog on "The New Normal" helped her make an incredible connection and launch an exciting new pilot program for Jewish preschoolers!

This blog originally appeared on The View Through Autism Glasses.

For the last few years, I’ve been teaching a Social Pragmatics curriculum at the small, family-run preschool in our neighborhood. For the first couple of years, it was a great job. S was a student there, and our expectation was that G would soon follow. I was teaching about social development, emotional regulation and solving problems with friends … all while using great children’s books to support the lessons. Life was good.

Eventually, S graduated preschool and moved on to elementary. Because of G’s special needs, he only attended the neighborhood school for 2 months.

The author and her family. Courtesy of Alison Lobron

Ruderman Foundation Calls On CNN To Apologize For Anchor's Disparaging Tweet

Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation and a national leader on disability inclusion issues, has called on CNN to apologize for a derogatory remark toward people with disabilities made by CNN anchorman Jim Clancy.

In a bizarre Twitter exchange, CNN Anchor Jim Clancy responded to a critical Tweet with “Get a grip, junior. It’s my Friday night. You and the Hasbara team need to pick on some cripple on the edge of the herd.”

Courtesy of The Ruderman Family Foundation

People With Disabilities (And Their Families) Have Dreams, Too

When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his inspiring “I have a Dream” speech in August, 1963 the civil rights movement for people of color had come of age.  I have listened to recordings of the speech too many times to count.  It inspires every time.  And it is emblazoned on our collective psyche. We all know the story of Rosa Parks, an African-American woman who refused, in 1955, to give up her seat on a public bus and move to the back so that a white person would be able to sit where she had been sitting.

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