In the opening of Fiddler on the Roof, Nahum the beggar asks Lazer the butcher why he was giving only one kopek this week when he gave two last week. Lazer replied that he had a bad week, and the beggar responded, "Just because you had a bad week doesn't mean I should, too."

Disability Language Is A Guidewire

At New Jersey’s Camp Marcella, where many blind children spend a few weeks each summer, I used to sprint down the track, with no fear of veering into trees or other obstacles. I held a rope suspended vertically from a loop on a wire high above, which followed the course of the track. If I began to stray, the rope, zipping along the guidewire, would steer me back onto the track. 

Rabbi Michael Levy

Lasting Ephemera

Dr. Ira Rezak collects objects of Judaica that were never meant for permanent collections. He’s an authority on “ephemera,” items usually discarded after use: tickets, campaign buttons, posters, coins, old magazines.

From the collection of Dr. Ira Rezak

"Special Needs" And Relational Inequality

This is the second blog advocating against the term “special needs” that I’ve posted on the New Normal blog.  I’m writing a second article on this subject because I’m speaking on behalf of the majority of disability activists who agree that this term actually defeats our cause. I will take every opportunity to discourage its use until it’s no longer part of our vocabulary, because “special needs” separates us out from the mainstream (special) and it reinforces the charity model (needs) against which the disability community has been struggling for many decades.

Sharon Shapiro-Lacks

I'm Not Your Mitzvah Project

Editor's Note: Last summer, we were delighted to share an exclusive interview with Pam Schuller. Now we are proud to share her powerful Op-Ed:

by Pamela Rae Schuller

(JTA) — I have Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary movements and noises called "tics." My Tourette’s is relatively mild at this point, but I went through a turbulent adolescence when Tourette's was the most defining thing about me. Between the constant movements and the loud, uncontrollable noises, it was incredibly disruptive.

I now work in the Jewish community as an inclusion advocate, as well as in youth engagement.

Pamela Rae Schuller

'16 Candidates & Israel

Beyond the swagger and machismo about carpeting bombing the s**t out of ISIS and making what already is the strongest military in the world the strongest military in the world, there's been little substantive discussion of foreign and defense policy in this campaign beyond staff-written position papers posted on the candidates' web sites. 

And to see those documents you often have to give your name and email address so you can be deluged with press releases and appeals for contributions.

'Special Needs,' 'Inclusion,' 'Disability' Or None Of The Above? Why Labels Matter

I've often thought about the question of the terms we use such as “Special Needs,” “Inclusion,” or “Disability,” and which words are best to open lines of communication? I do not have any hearing in my right ear. I also have a noticeable facial discoloration on parts of my right face that leads some people to think that I have had a stroke, and, over the years, I have used several orthotic devices and sometimes a cane for balance.

"Label Jars Not People." Courtesy of Jay Wilson

Bridging Middle Eastern And Western Cultures Through Art

The nomadic Caravan exhibit “The Bridge” has stationed at St. Paul’s Chapel, showing the work of 47 Arab, Persian and Jewish contemporary artists from 15 countries. Their art addresses the theme of “what bridges us” to each other.

Ambassador Ahmed Farouk, Consul General of Egypt in New York, at the opening of “The Bridge.” Caroline Lagnado

The Language Of Prayer

Synagogues are opening the doors to participation by people with disabilities in large numbers. New buildings and remodeling projects follow the requirements provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Many synagogues have greeters stationed at the doors to welcome people and direct newcomers to coat rooms, washrooms and the sanctuary. Trained ushers know where assistive listening devices are located and can seat people who use wheelchairs with their family and friends.

Visual icon for Jewish prayer. Courtesy of Gateways: Access To Jewish Education
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