Rubio's 'Bibi' Amendment

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who is about to announce his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, thinks he has come up with a clever way to sabotage any nuclear agreement with Iran, drive a wedge between Jews and Barack Obama and raise money for his campaign.

This three-birds-with-one-stone strategy is an amendment to a Senate bill intended to require congressional review of any deal with Iran.

Sam Gelfand: Speaking Out On Asperger Syndrome, Bullying and Jewish Community

Editor's Note: I was delighted to be an audience member last spring when Sam Gelfand, a teenager from Florida, presented to a group of Jewish educators at Boston's Hebrew College about his experiences living with Asperger Syndrome. In the last few years, Sam has spoken to schools, synagogues, camps and other Jewish organizations, sharing his first-hand experiences of living with Asperger Syndrome. Sam is an incredibly engaging speaker and would love to share his powerful message with your community.

NN: Sam, since you were 12 years old, you have been speaking to communities about what it's like to live with Aspergers. Were you initially afraid to speak in front of audiences? What got you through it?

SG: Believe it or not, I have never gotten stage fright. If anything, I feel that the pressure of speaking in front of a live audience actually forces me to do better.

Autism, Aggression And ECT: A Mother's Story Of Hope

This month, many inspiring stories will be featured in the media in celebration of Autism Awareness month, such as one I just read about a young autistic basketball player who recently sank his thousandth half-court shot, or another about the teen who performed a duet with Weird Al Yancovic at the recent Comedy Central benefit. While these victories should unquestionably be celebrated by everyone touched by autism, it’s important to realize they don’t reflect reality for a significant chunk of the community.

The author and her son Jonah. Courtesy of Amy Lutz

Jeb: Soy Un Gringo

Jeb Bush is so anxious to position himself as the Republican presidential candidate who can bring Hispanic voters back to the party that he listed himself as Hispanic when he registered to vote in Florida in 2009.

Is Schumer Bibi's Point Man In The Senate?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has launched a major two-pronged lobbying campaign in Washington to block a big power nuclear agreement with Iran. Track one is killing the deal it outright, and track two is enact legislation giving Congress the power to stop it.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) just announced he is sponsoring the bill introduced by Republican Sen. Bob Corker (Tennessee), which will force the administration to submit the agreement to Congress for approval.

If They Hate Washington So Much…

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is the latest Republican to declare he hates Washington so much that he is prepared to spent billions of dollars – of other people's money, naturally – to win a four-year lease on government housing and become the personification of Washington and government.

The Freedom Of Nature: Making Hiking Accessible To All Students

This past winter, LOTEM - Making Nature Accessible organized a hike for both Plagim School's Keren Or (Ray of Light) special needs class and fifth grade regular education class. Two students, one with special needs (Rom) and one from the regular education class (Gal), shared their experiences in a conversation with LOTEM on what going out to nature means to them.

Participants on a hike in Israel. Courtesy of Lotem

Dancing In The Aisles

Carnegie Hall has had many memorable performances, from Benny Goodman’s legendary Jazz concert of 1938 to Andy Kaufman treating the audience to milk and cookies in 1979. But Tuesday night’s National Yiddish Theatre – Folksbiene gala may be the first time the audience rose en masse and danced in the aisles.  

Itzhak Perlman and friends at Carnegie Hall. Kate Hess

All Are Welcome At The Seder

In your mind’s eye, look around at those with whom you have celebrated past Seders. 

A contemplative girl is full of questions: How could a respected family in Egypt so quickly become an enslaved nation? Why was Pharaoh so stubborn?

There’s the "Squirmer." If he doesn’t declare outright that he’d rather not be at the Seder, his body language clearly broadcasts the message.

Seated next to each other are two frustrated guests. One is always losing his place in the Haggadah, and the other’s eyes often stray to the kitchen.

During its recounting of the Exodus from Egypt, the Haggadah “pauses” to consider Seder participants resembling those described above. They are portrayed as four sons: one wise, one wicked, one simple and one who doesn’t know how to ask. 

Rabbi Michael Levy

The Four Children, Without Judgement, In The New Gateways Haggadah

Rachel was, by turns, enthusiastic, grumpy, silly, listless, sunny and full of pre-teen attitude. As the result of her childhood stroke, she used a bright pink wheelchair to get around, and she communicated through hand gestures, vocalizations, facial expressions and a communication device called a Dynavox (also pink). Rachel’s love of Judaism was unmistakable, but her parents told us they had always hated the Four Children in the Hagaddah.

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