|The author with a member of Special in Uniform, which integrates Israelis with disabilities into the IDF. |I watch my son, confident and tall Sharing memories of his Jewish experiences Praying at the Western Wall
Standing under the chuppah
And my heart fills with joyThe Jewish mother's dream l'dor v'dor The son whose words are locked in silence The son who will not marry Who will have no children to carry on his name With a sense of sadness, I ask why But we are not alone, we mothers of the "different" child Although the differences are many, the sadness is the same The sadness of lost hopes, lost joy, and guilt But faith in Judaism gives us a foundation Our faith gives us a "family" To look beyond lost opportunities To find new ways to look at the world Our faith in Judaism provides solace, comfort, and support Adonai, please bless us and give us the courage and Strength to meet life's challenges and to always find comfort in the embrace of our Jewish faithAs part of our focus on improving the quality of life in Israel for all its citizens, Jewish National Fund is ensuring that no member of Israeli society is left behind. The fact that nearly 13% of Israel’s citizens are considered physically or mentally challenged is an opportunity for us to live our values. We believe passionately that the inclusion of people with disabilities and special needs should be woven tightly into the fabric of Jewish life. All the more so in Israel.
Through a variety of initiatives and partnerships, JNF is providing state-of-the-art rehabilitative services, special education and medical care in areas where they were previously unavailable. Beyond the medical, we are also ensuring that recreational facilities, including forests, parks, picnic areas, playgrounds and nature trails, are inclusive for visitors of all ability levels. Join us in this special work. Your donation to Disabilities & Special Needs will help make Israel a more inclusive and more loving community.
To honor Jewish Disability, Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month, every gift made till the end of February 2020 will be matched, up to $1 million, thanks to generous donors. Donate today!
Lynne Merriam is the president of the JNF Tampa Bay Board and president of the JNF North Florida Region.