This blog post struck a real chord with me. I hope all of those who are committed to the Jewish values of inclusion, accessibility, and human dignity read this piece from a colleague that I do not yet know.
The sad thing is…I have had this taste of rejection. My daughter with Autism has been welcomed and included at URJ Camp Coleman. They have gone out of their way to make sure that she is a part of the community with minimal additional supports. However, our local Reform Jewish day school changed its policies to prohibit any acadmic inclusion by the students in a special education program that was partnering with the day school. We removed her that program, and our other daughters from the day school.
So I feel this father’s pain.
I hope and pray soon that our Jewish institutions will recognize that in order to be an authentic Jewish program, we need to be accesible and inclusive of all.
For the rest of the story, see part two of this post here.
My almost-16 year old blind son, Solomon, was supposed to spend 8 weeks in the second-oldest Aidah (age group) at Camp Ramah in Canada, a Jewish camping program affiliated with the Conservative movement. My wife and I went to visit him and our 12 year old daughter this week. While there, the camp director told us that he was sending Solomon home four weeks early at the session break because “the camp is not able to accommodate Solomon’s needs for the full 8 week session.”
This is Solomon’s fifth year at camp. Sol went for one session each summer for the previous four years, but this year, called the “Magshimim” year, required campers to enroll for the full summer. Solomon was thrilled to go for both sessions. He loves camp, and for the first four summers…
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