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Feb 27 2014

After Raising a Son With Severe Autism, I Have Redefined “Normal”

By at 12:52 pm
elaine-and-neil

Courtesy of Elaine Hall

 

As part of our month-long series dedicated to Jewish Disability Awareness Month, Elaine shares her journey of raising a son with severe autism, from toddlerhood through bar mitzvah age to where he’s at now, at almost 20 years old.

Our tradition dictates: “Be fruitful and multiply.” I couldn’t do either. Each year at Rosh Hashanah, where we read Hannah’s story of her inability to give birth, I cried Hannah’s tears. I prayed, “If you give me a child, I will give him back to you, to serve you all his days.” My prayer was finally answered when I adopted my son from an orphanage in Russia.

I had been raised in a religious ”Conservadox” family in a non-Jewish area of Southern Maryland and had felt different all my life. Now, I just wanted normal. I looked forward to returning to LA and beginning a normal life: car pool, little league, Tot Shabbat. On a blissful flight home across many continents, I had no idea what lay ahead of us.

Reality set in quickly. We discovered that our toddler son had liver toxicity, parasites, malnutrition, and he was spiking fevers of 105. He stared at his hands for hours at a time, spun around in circles, opened/closed and banged cabinet doors, made no eye contact, couldn’t speak, tantrumed for hours, and didn’t sleep. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 3 2014

How to Do “Fiddler on the Roof” with a Bunch of Non-Jews On an Island in Maine

By at 11:47 am

jamie

In the overlapping part of the Venn diagram of my childhood–growing up Jewish in a small village, obsessed with musical theater, and without many television channels–lies Fiddler on the Roof. We owned it on two VHS tapes, although sometimes we just watched the first one, turning it off at the end of the happy part of the wedding and skipping the “demonstration” at the end. (We took a similar tactic with The Sound of Music, which made it a show about up-cycling curtains rather than escaping the Nazi occupation.)

I first saw a live production of Fiddler when I was about 11 years old, at a beautifully ramshackle community theater just north of my town. I remember Tevye’s thick Maine accent (HOSS and CAHT) and the over-the-top gleeful macabre humor of the dream sequence. I acted in it the summer before I left for college in a more polished production at Interlochen Arts Camp. I played Shprintze and Grandmother Tzeitl, and was hoisted high in the air over another actor’s head to “fly” in maternal rage. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 30 2013

Free Stuff Alert: Tickets to Romantic Comedy, “Handle With Care”

By at 11:24 am

handle with care off-broadway giveaway on kveller

In need of a date night in NYC? We’re giving away three pairs of tickets to the new romantic comedy Handle With Care, an off-Broadway performance that tells the story of a young Israeli who reluctantly travels with her grandmother to America and falls for an American man.

Tony Award Nominee and Broadway legend Carol Lawrence from West Side Story leads the ensemble cast of four in the “hilariously funny” new play written by Jason Odell Williams. The show is at The Westside Theater in Manhattan.

To enter the giveway, fill out the form below and we’ll choose three random winners next Monday, January 6th. Tickets must be redeemed by 1/31/14, and available show times are Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Wednesdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m.

Break a leg!

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