When you write a blog, there are some posts that get lost in the mix over time. It is hard work to continually bring each one back to the front. But there are some posts which are just too important to let fall by the wayside. This is one such post.
This Winter I lead my first Birthright trip. I say first, because I have every intention of leading another! I mentioned my motivations here and was not at all shy about sharing that I had the "ulterior motive" of learning how we (the Reform Movement and Kesher Birthright) might offer accessible and inclusive trips. With first-hand knowledge and experience behind me, I can say with certainly that this will be no easy task. BUT IT IS NECESSARY. It is important.
And that is why this post has not lost its relevance. It is a reminder of what is possible and it inspires me to keep the goals of inclusion close every day.
There’s a buzz in the Jewish Disability World. Can you feel it? A few weeks from now will mark the beginning of yet another Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month; affectionately known by those who love acronyms as JDAIM. It can be a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness while highlighting the many great resources and opportunities that already exist within our communities. Personally, I always hope that it will lead to the opening of new doors that were once closed.
I have wondered aloud (and in writing) about the difference between using the word disability and the phrase special needs.
While I prefer the term disability as I think it is clear, understandable and not in any way derogatory, I have been approached by parents of students in my school who have asked me to use the language of special needs because they find it gentler.
But here’s the thing: Don’t we all have needs? And aren’t we all special in some way?
We can be our own worst enemies.
Too many of us push ourselves to do more and more, never quite slowing down to appreciate what we have accomplished. And we are our own harshest critics when we haven’t reached the impossibly high standards we set for ourselves.