This past Summer, I was honored to have the opportunity to present a workshop for my colleagues called, "What does it mean to be an Inclusive Community? A day of Jewish Special Education Learning". I partnered with Dori Kirshner, the Director of Matan and Felice Miller Baritz, the Religious School Principal at Congregation Kol Ami in White Plains, NY. Together we shared resources, strategies and stories to empower forty of our colleagues in their work as Jewish Educators. I was pleased that the day was very well received and that the feedback was both wonderfully positive & productively constructive. Little did I know that an off-hand suggestion would be the greatest gift of the day.
As we walked back from lunch, a close colleague said to me, "I have a very good friend named Ellen, and she writes a blog about her son, Max. It's called "Love that Max". You should check it out."
I'll be honest...Summer came & went with vacations, camp and the typical start-a-new-school-year work, and it wasn't until the holy days were upon us that I finally took the time to read Ellen's blog. And this is the article that was front & center: Love That Max: Why is it so hard to find a place of worship that ...
Some would say it was bashert (Hebrew for meant to be). My heart broke as a I read her words. I wanted scream out that this is exactly what I do, that of course what she wants is possible! I wanted to comment and say, "Come to my place!" I wanted to call all of the synagogues in her area and offer my services as a consultant. And I started thinking that maybe it really was time to start my own blog. Maybe my posting this now is bashert...maybe the right person in the right congregation is reading.
So here I am sharing her post because it still gets to me. I am frustrated on her behalf. I am bewildered by how many families are told, "no" by their faith communities. And I am ready to help make a difference.