A Vegetarian on Israel Independence Day

  My dad was ahead of his time. He chose to become a vegetarian in the 1930′s, no doubt influenced by Harav Kook’s philosophy of vegetarianism as an ethical way of life. My dad believed that being mindful of what we eat together with daily exercise was the path to a healthy body, mind and…

Distraught and Isolated

In the Western world we place great store by a person’s intelligence. We have the greatest respect for people who are ‘brilliant’. We can even feel more comfortable with someone with a disability if they have normal intelligence. Here in Israel you hear the term ’emotional intelligence’, referring to people who can connect with another…

Informal Education? Not in Israel.

How do you explain the importance of informal education to someone who has no experience or point of reference, someone who has never participated in a professionally run camp or after school program.And how do you explain why informal education is so crucial for kids with special needs. The importance of structured after school activity…

A Pure Heart

In this soul searching season, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’ve changed my attitude towards parenting when it comes to Adina. For so many years – about 15 – I worked tirelessly to get her every possible therapy, work with her at home on building her skills and for a while I was…

Special Teens

When is a teen with special needs being a “teen” and when is s/he being “special”? That is a quandary that many parents of teens with special needs find themselves in. Think about it – teens can be moody, unpredictable, in their own world, extreme in their responses – different.   When you add special needs…

Embracing Independence

I almost can’t believe it. Adina is taking the Jerusalem city bus home from school. For a 16-year-old girl with Down syndrome, this is a HUGE step and can only happen if she has been properly prepared and taught how. That’s where Shutaf comes in. Adina has been part of the Shutaf Teen Explorers’ program…