Dear Jerry Seinfeld

Dear Jerry Seinfeld, I write this letter through the lens of a true fan. I am a Jewish Educator and Inclusion Advocate by training and passion and watch and analyze episodes of your sitcom over and over like it’s the Torah (don’t tell my Rabbi. Or my mother). I memorize lines and weave them into…

“That Word”

I recently attended a birthday party for a friend. There were sixteen people at the party — I knew four of them — one’s a very close friend of mine. We were all sitting down to eat when somebody used the word retard. Of course, I’d heard it, but seeing as the guests were mostly…

Elections Should Be Equal!

Israeli law allows every citizen 18 and up, the right to vote in government elections. A key element regarding elections is that they should be equal. This is a fundamental constitutional right, given to every Israeli citizen without reservation. A right that of course, is also offered to citizens who have disabilities: physical, intellectual, emotional,…

Shutaf: The Best Place To Be

In one room, four pre-teen girls closely followed the complicated sequence of Zumba steps their teacher, Lisa, was doing in time to the music.  In an adjacent room, a small group of children, aged 6-13, sat in a circle petting a variety of animals brought in by Aryeh, a staffer from Jerusalem’s Nature Museum who…

Camp Shutaf: An Intern Reports

Stepping through the open doors of Camp Shutaf is like entering into a whole new world. Shutaf is a world filled with laughter and playfulness and love.  A world that brings about smiles and glowing faces, created for the sole purpose of spreading happiness.  Everywhere campers pile onto their beloved counselor’s backs, and make themselves…

More must be done for kids with disabilities

February is Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month, a time when Jews around the world come together publicly to raise awareness and support for people with disabilities and their families. In Israel as well as worldwide, families and children are isolated and marginalized by disability; in their synagogues, schools, neighborhoods and workplaces. Fear, inadequate education, as well…

Committed to Inclusion

Camp Shutaf, an informal education program, fills a niche for children with special needs. Beth Steinberg moved to Jerusalem from Brooklyn with her husband and three sons in 2006. She knew she’d have to fight an uphill battle for her youngest, Akiva, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth. Education for children with special…