Garbled Graggers – Purim and Inclusion #JDAM15

I promised earlier that I would come back to Purim with a focus on inclusion–it is, after all, still Jewish Disability Awareness Month. Among the communally celebrated holidays, Purim may pose some of the very toughest challenges for inclusion. I’m going to try to put on my thinking hat here to look at what the challenges are to an inclusive Purim celebration. My purpose in this is not to suggest that every problem can be solved for every person in every place and at every time. Rather, I want to put in one place thoughts on how the traditional ways in which we celebrate Purim can work exclusion, and to prompt thought about how we might overcome some of those problems.

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Jewish Disability Awareness Month

Did you know that it’s Jewish Disability Awareness Month? It’s also North American Inclusion Month.

(Also, did you know that JDAM stands for both Jewish Disability Awareness Month and Joint Direct Attack Munition, which is a kit that upgrades ordinary bombs into smart bombs? Lots of odd trivia today.) Continue reading


So this morning I had a moment of stark realization. My son has never attended a real Passover seder.

We’ve given ourselves some passes on this; a seder is long and difficult for adults to sit through, let alone children, and a kid with autism and non-stop chattiness…well, a seder just didn’t seem like a great fit.

Then I realized that Humanistic Judaism is perfect for constructing a meaningful Passover experience for a special needs child, because we don’t consider ourselves bound to the rules.

(I know, I know, I promised a series on a Pitch for Humanistic Judaism, and I’ll get back to that, though in a way this post will be a great pitch in itself.) Continue reading


Surely you’ve noted I’m in Indianapolis. This means that, for most of the week, we haven’t gone outside. Because COLD.

School has been closed since the Winter Break in December, and everyone with a kid who’s not yet been returned to school is probably noticing that said kid is getting a little stir crazy.

No doubt trying to help, after my wife mentioned the situation on Facebook, one of the folks who works for the local Jewish community chimed in with the wishing-to-be-helpful response that the local JCC was providing aftercare (after-school care) services starting at 9 a.m. today. Which is nice, unless you’ve got a kid with special needs.

My wife, showing the better side of–valor? something?–said somewhat obliquely that we haven’t used the aftercare program because the JCC doesn’t have the space or manpower to deal with our needs.

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