As part of Jewish Disability Awareness Month 2012, my daughter Shaina, now 11, addressed a group of third through sixth graders at Temple Israel Center in White Plains. This is what she said:
“Hi, my name is Shaina and I am 8 years old. I have a brother and his name is Avi. He is 11 years old. Avi loves to play like all other kids but he plays in a different way. He loves the things that other kids love, like music, videos, games and other things. But Avi behaves differently and learns differently because he has autism. This means that his brain works differently and it is hard for him to make friends and understand like other kids his age.
Tu B’Shevat in New York requires some imagination, in order to picture these snow-covered trees in their spring finery. Here are three last-minute ideas to celebrate the new year of trees, engage all of the senses, and give thanks.
Editor's Note: This blog originally appeared on www.jkidphilly.org
Most stories about inclusion in the Jewish community don’t involve singing in a Baptist church, but this one does.
For the last 25 years, members from my Conservative shul Beth Am Israel have come together annually with our local counterparts from a Reform temple and a predominantly African American Baptist church to sing in fellowship as the Unity Choir. We honor the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy together for the holiday weekend, but our collaborative partnership endures throughout the year.
Carnegie Hall on a Sunday afternoon. A young child sits next to an old man, while a young couple slides in next to a pair of stately aficionados. There are a few out of town visitors, but this afternoon’s presentation by the New York City Choral Society of Mendelssohn’s rarely performed “Saint Paul” is for us: the citizens of this great, and diverse city.
Ever gone on a long car trip with your children when one of them breaks the tedium of the road by piping up, “Are we there yet?”
The adorableness of this tyke wears off after they have asked the question three or four times. Your first response, “No honey bug, we’re not,” quickly morphs to a teeth clenching “No!” before you realize that little ones can’t read road maps or the GPS, and really, they are bored, tired of being in the car and maybe a little excited about getting to the destination.
I try to avoid books about the Holocaust, especially those about children of survivors. As a member of the latter group, I find the books either too painful and too familiar or insufficiently painful and somehow not enough.
The events of my son’s Bar Mitzvah day don't begin to tell the story of how Max arrived at this moment. Nor do they tell the story of the special connection that he, and we, have developed with the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue congregation, and the gratitude we feel toward this place.
Same as many young adult Jews, I hadn't felt the urgency to choose a synagogue until we knew that we were going to be parents. But once we did know, I diligently did the full tour of upper Manhattan's Reform synagogues and settled on Stephen Wise.
Max was born on Erev Rosh Hashanah. Having arrived over five weeks premature, Max spent the first nine days of his life down at Roosevelt Hospital before we could bring him home.