This afternoon I attended “Opening The Gates of Torah” Including People Who Have Special Needs In The Jewish Community.
Wow. Talk about an onslaught of information! My head was spinning but my heart was beaming all at once. Here was a sanctuary filled with Jews or friends of Jews who had interest in special needs kids. There were only three of us from our synagogue – but that was ok. All that mattered was that we were there.
The keynote speaker was Dan Gottlieb from Voices in The Family on NPR. As the MC put it – what a mensch! He was witty, profound and deeply moving. I found myself crying one minute and laughing the next. What I most appreciate about Dan is his brutal honesty – that we are all human. That we all have prejudices and that it’s chemical. We can’t help it. What we have to do is open our hearts and hopefully let some meaningful wisdom in. He is an inspiration. Dan did not want to go on after his accident, but did because he had an epiphany that he was still useful in this world.
I think that this blog and my new mission in life is what is leading me to go on. Not that I was ready to give up, but I was close. I discussed some things that needed to be addressed at our synagogue with another mother from the congregation. I know she will be a great partner and asset! We are going to form a task force of special needs families, and hopefully make some new friends and lend some support along the way.
Dan Gottlieb taught me that there must be something useful I can give to this world. I am going to do just that. I am going to help my synagogue become more accessible to Special Needs children. And I am also going to help everyone else with not so special needs understand them. All I need is for everyone to open their hearts and try to accept. I think my child can show people that. You can’t help but be captivated by him, he is an exceptional human being. He has taught me that love is so much more than I ever thought it was. Both of my boys have taught me that NOTHING ever goes completely according to plan. So you change your plans.
And I’m about to change mine…. stay tuned!