Archive for the ‘Calling All Jewish Educators!’ Category

‘Control’ Alternating With ‘Delete’

July 10, 2014

This article first appeared in June/July 2014 issue of Hadassah Magazine.

Illustration by Davide Bonazzi

Illustration by Davide Bonazzi

Lisa Samick was 35 when she watched her younger sister, a new mother, die of metastatic breast cancer.

Judah Schiller was 35 when he was left to raise three kids alone when his wife suddenly died of massive internal bleeding three days after giving birth to their third child.

Gabrielle Birkner was 24 when she got a call at work informing her that her father and stepmother had been murdered in a home invasion.

We all contend with loss, mourning and grief. Everyone confronts the death of a loved one at some point. But for some of us it comes sooner rather than later. While no one is truly prepared for loss, young adults in their twenties and thirties feel even less prepared. With few—if any—of their peers having gone through a similar experience, they are left charting their own course through the emotional and practical challenges that come in the wake of an immediate family member’s death.

Some young Jews find comfort in age-old Jewish rituals and in their local Jewish community. However, in the Internet age, when we live so much of our lives online, those experiencing loss often turn to Google in search of relevant and resonant resources. They may sit shiva but also reach out to their social media circles for support.

Click here to read more.

© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

 

Disney Movies Animate Jewish Writer’s Autistic Son

July 10, 2014

This article was first published in The Times of Israel.

Owen Suskind celebrated his graduation from the Riverview School in Cape Cod, MA in June with his parents and his brother Walter. (Courtesy)

Owen Suskind celebrated his graduation from the Riverview School in Cape Cod, MA in June with his parents and his brother Walter. (Courtesy)

Millions of young people love Disney movies, but few appreciate them quite like Owen Suskind. He has watched every Disney film umpteen times and can recite the entire dialogue from each without error. For Owen, who is autistic, Disney viewing is not merely a hobby; it’s a therapy.

Animated films like “The Lion King,” “Aladdin,” and “The Jungle Book” have served as a bridge for Owen to the world, enabling him to get in touch with himself, and interact with other people.

In “Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism,” Owen’s father, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Ron Suskind, has chronicled his son’s unique journey from a diagnosis of regressive autism at age three (when a child who seems to be developing normally suddenly stops communicating and reaching milestones) to his life today as a communicative and semi-independent 23-year-old young man.

Click here to read more and watch a video.

© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

 

Anti-Semitic Incidents Disrupt Silicon Valley Jewish Community

June 10, 2014

This article was first published in The Times of Israel.

Congregation Kol Emeth’s Rabbi Laurie Matzkin wants to address an uptick in anti-Semitism encountered by Silicon Valley’s Jewish students. (Courtesy)

Congregation Kol Emeth’s Rabbi Laurie Matzkin wants to address an uptick in anti-Semitism encountered by Silicon Valley’s Jewish students. (Courtesy)

The publication of a slight against a Jewish student in a Cupertino, California high school yearbook has brought to light what some see as an uptick in anti-Semitism among Silicon Valley youth

A student planted an insult against a student from a Jewish Israeli family in a caption beneath a team photo in the Monta Vista High School yearbook. The student’s changing the last three letters of the Israeli classmate’s name to “jew” went unnoticed by the yearbook advisor.

According to a report in the San Jose Mercury News, the school has not acquiesced to the Jewish family’s request that the run of 1,600 yearbooks be recalled, claiming that it is too late now that they have been distributed to students and have been filled with handwritten messages from friends and classmates. The Fremont Union High School District paid $64,000 to produce the yearbooks, and they were sold to students at $90 a piece.

Click here to read more.

© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.


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