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When Someone You Know Has a Disabled Child

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It's not uncommon to be uncomfortable around people with disabilities. Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer opens her recent ELI Talk by describing her own discomfort with the disruptive behavior of a child in her synagogue. When her own son George was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, Kaplan-Mayer wanted to help other people understand how to support families with disabled children.

Using the model of bikur cholim, the mitzvah to visit and assist people who are sick, Kaplan-Mayer helps guide well-meaning community members so they can be maximally helpful to their friends and neighbors who are raising a disabled child. Kaplan-Mayer is a writer and an educator. She blogs at The New Normal for the New York Jewish Week about the intersection between Judaism and disability.

Her 15-minute talk is raw and powerful.
 
 
ELI Talks presents important social and religious issues in video format with the goal of opening up discussion about issues of Jewish engagement, literacy and identity.
 
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What does the Torah have to say (if anything) about treating people with disabilities? See answers from Orthodox, Conservative and Reform rabbis here.
 
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