Exploring And Interpreting Disability In The Bible: Clearly And Comprehensively, Part II

In Part I of Exploring and Interpreting Disability in the Bible, a "wide-angle" perspective showed that the Bible does not often segregate the disabled. If biblical models encourage integration, why are many of us with disabilities still segregated?

Exploring And Interpreting Disability In The Bible: Clearly And Comprehensively

In recognition of the Shavuot holiday beginning on Saturday night, June 11, we have invited Rabbi Michael Levy to share his perspective on Torah and disability. This is the first of two parts. Rabbi Levy dedicates his writing to the marriage of Motti and Zahava Sturm.

A young Jewish boy prays at a synagogue in downtown Tehran. Getty Images

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Suppose I asked you “What did you do yesterday?”

You list 19 activities, yet I counted 173 activities while videotaping you yesterday.  Why the discrepancy?

Writing our Own Story

Every day, we decide what’s important enough to remember. Over time, we weave our “story” from memories, feelings and interpretations of events that we have perhaps unconsciously selected. We tend to make our version of the truth into absolute truth. 

Rabbi Michael Levy

Women Studying Torah: Facts On The Ground

The RCA is trying to erase women's personal desire to affect the Jewish world through their Torah.

11/23/2015 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Sixteen years ago I was asked to stop learning Talmud because I am female. Here’s what happened: I was 25 and decided to try my hand at daf yomi, the practice of studying a folio of Talmud each day.

Lisa Schlaff

Sacred Texts On Everyone's Terms

The Misunderstood Schoolgirl

As an advocate helping Brooklynites to obtain social security, I once assisted a woman whose learning disability was quite severe. Her school records from the year 1958 labeled her as “lazy” and “emotionally disturbed.”

The misunderstood schoolgirl came to mind during Simchat Torah, when we completed the last book of the Torah, Deuteronomy and on the very same day began the cycle again with Genesis. I believe that our tradition obliges us to understand the differences in how people read and requires us to provide everyone with access to sacred texts on their terms.

Drawing The Tradition

In his ‘Visualizing the Bible’ show, David Wander makes the Torah his own.

07/07/2015 - 20:00
Culture Editor

David Wander makes books that might be 50 feet long, illustrating biblical and other stories with great artistic skill, creativity and appreciation of the text and its layers of meaning. One page leads to the next, and the handmade books fold up like accordians.

Wander in his studio: “Writing, burning, writing it again.” Courtesy of David Wander

The Violent Passion Of Pinchas

07/07/2015 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Candlelighting, Readings:
Candlelighting: 8:10 p.m.
Torah: Num. 25:10-30:1
Haftorah: I Kings 18:46-19:21
Havdalah: 9:18 p.m.

Jill Hausman

The Broken Tablets’ Eternal Message

07/01/2015 - 20:00

On Sunday, July 5, we mark the fast of the 17th of Tammuz. The fast commences a period of mourning of The Three Week, concludes with the fast of Tisha B’Av.

Women Of The Wall Pluck Torah Scroll Across Partition To Women’s Section

04/21/2015 - 20:00

Jerusalem - For the first time in its 26-year history, the feminist prayer group Women of the Wall managed to read from a full-sized Torah scroll Monday (April 20) after one of its members surreptitiously borrowed one from the Western Wall’s men’s section.

Jewish Disability Awareness Month: How To Keep The Message Alive

Last month, many people worked tirelessly to make congregations and communities across our country aware of the capabilities and aspirations of Jews with disabilities. What can we do to transform the message of Jewish disability awareness into meaningful changes that bring us closer to full integration into Jewish life the other eleven months of the year?

Dramatic and widely publicized events have their place, but how long will their message remain effective? The experiences of the Biblical stories of Moses and Elijah remind us that ongoing “small quiet voices” must be heard after the fanfare. Let’s look at some “awareness initiatives” from early Jewish history that can help to guide us.

Rabbi Michael Levy
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