It was the winter of 2004 and he’d dreamed of becoming a Jew for years. Following many months of formal study he was ready to go before the beit din, the group of rabbis who would hear his journey and proclaim him ready for the final conversion ritual. He did meet with these rabbis; they were touched by his sincerity and dedication to the Jewish people.
Larry’s problem was that he was paralyzed from the waist down.
Emily Seelenfreund was diagnosed at birth with a disease that made her vulnerable to broken bones, and was enrolled in physical therapy at 6 months. By the time she was 5, the Hoboken native was outfitted with a wheelchair that helped her get around and was an active competitor in track and field events for the disabled. By the time she was 11, she began playing wheelchair basketball.
We have been referred to, and refer to ourselves, as the “People of the Book.” Actually, we seem more to be the people of the question. The Torah is filled with questioners, challengers, activists. The Talmud: more questions, clarifications, debates, arguments over every word, nuance and point.