On the Tree of Life and Healing the World

In Uncategorized on November 3, 2018 at 3:33 pm

I was appalled, but not surprised when I heard that The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh was an inclusive synagogue and that two of the martyred congregants, David and Cecil Rosenthal, were brothers with intellectual disabilities.

As this beautiful article by Ronnie Polaneczky in the Philadelphia Inquirer recounts, David and Cecil were not known for their diagnosis, but for their Jewish faith, congregational volunteering, and friendships in Squirrel Hill.

You may have heard this story already, but you may not know the catalytic role the Boston Jewish community plays in connecting people with disabilities to careers and employment.

Since I served at one organization for over eleven years, my perspective is limited, but I can tell you that in our organization alone:

  • Stan Black, one of our key Board Members, helped sustain the organization through thick and thin through his personal gifts and incessant promotion of the organization. In addition to his generosity, Mr. Black employed people with disabilities in the community
  • Mort Ruderman and the Ruderman Family Foundation not only consistently invested in the organization but took their advocacy to the next level by founding the Transitions to Work program at JVS Boston – which itself is a remarkable vocational organization that brilliantly serves people of every faith – and hosting the Ruderman Inclusion Summit that brings self-advocates, philanthropists, nonprofit leaders and entrepreneurs together to create and enhance disability inclusion in every sector of society
  • Our evidence-based, national award winning IMPACT:Ability abuse prevention program never would have happened without Jewish philanthropic organizations like The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation and the The Klarman Family Foundation as well as the mission focused leadership of Jewish professionals like Jason Israel an Marjorie Glazer

I am overwhelmed with grief for the loss of our Jewish brothers and sisters at Tree of Life. At the same time I am deeply grateful for the vital role this synagogue and the entire Jewish community has played in creating a more whole, healthy, and holy inclusive world. May the memory of the martyrs and the love of this synagogue be a blessing.




Dead Duck*

In Uncategorized on October 29, 2018 at 4:03 pm

I just took a moment after a fascinating conversation to catch a quick smoke (yeah, I know. Please spare me the reinforcement of a truth I already know) outside of the 70/30 Partners office.

While hiding under a tree from a cold rain I saw a Canadian Goose get run over and I watched it wiggle out the last moments of its life. In these parts Canadian Geese are a nuisance that I harbor very little affection for.

Yet that moment was affecting. In the thirty seconds that one webbed foot went from frantic to frozen, I realized that I have also been lying in the middle of the road for almost three months. In early August I was unexpectedly invited to leave the pond that I loved. I knew that pond so well. My body was in sync with its waves, the water below felt no different from the air above and every contour of weedy bottom and undulating shore felt like home.

Yet, wild goose that I am, when compelled to leave I waddled away with purpose, quickly shaking the water off my back and quacking confidently about my new destination. Then, BAM! Sideswiped by loss. Everything from the purposeful light that woke me in the morning to the company of the beautiful, yet gangly gaggle that flew so well in formation was gone.

Three months on and I hope my last foot is finally going from frantic to frozen. I loved the pond. I was nourished by its grasses, cooled by its waters, warmed by the way it captured the light.

But my longing for the pond won’t do a damn thing to get me off of this road.

So here I am. Knowing that parts of me will nourish new life and others will be discarded. At the end of a life, partially disassembled, but still enraptured by the dream of flight.

* I realize it is a mixed metaphor. Sue me.


It’s Not Me, It’s You (or, You’re Ross, I’m Rachel)

In Uncategorized on April 28, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Submitted By: Kevin Smith Clark

Dear Cleveland Browns,

I need a break from us.  We’ve been going steady for several years now, and just when I think you’re ready to commit, you break my heart.  You use me (Gerard Warren with the #3 pick over LaDanian Tomlinson in the 2001 Draft).  You tease me (remember 9-7 in ’02 and 10-6 in ’07)?  You ignore my needs.  I need the offense and the defense to be good in the same season.  I need you to play all four quarters.  I need you to pick a QB and stick with him (I’m one of the five people in America who thinks Colt McCoy is the guy for the job).

You think you know what I need…should I point out the crappy gifts you’ve given me: Courtney Brown, Gerard Warren, Jeff Faine, William Green, Kellen Winslow, Jr., Braylon Edwards.  Just because you’ve strung a few good ones together (Joe Thomas, Alex Mack, Joe Haden, and Phil Taylor), it’s not going to cut it.  Like Renee to Brodie in Mallrats: “The effort was too little, too late.”

I look around at how other fans are treated.  The Pats fans are happy.  The Lions fans are happy.  Even the stupid Bengals are turning things around, and they’re a train wreck of an organization.  When three teams from AFC North make the playoffs in one season, and we’re the only girl not asked to prom, it sucks.  And you’re to blame.

So, I’m telling you this now.  Before the draft.  So you can’t go in and grab Trent Richardson or Justin Blackmon (you know, someone you could use, an offensive player who can make an impact) and tempt me in believing your lies for another eight months.  You passed on Julio Jones last year, and then complained that Colt had no targets. Nope.  We need a break.

But I’ll make you this promise: I won’t find another team this year.  You won’t find me wearing black and gold, or purple, or green.  I think there’s still good in you…you’re like Anakin Skywalker (Sebastian Shaw, not Hayden Christiansen).  But I can’t take this relationship any further right now.

I won’t watch you this year.  At all.  I’ll give you a chance to win back my affection.  And since I’m making this public declaration, I’m sure you’ll pull off one of those shocker seasons, pull a 10-6 or (Lord, help me) 11-5, sucker me back into your clutches, and start this vicious cycle all over again.

I’m just going to spend the 2012 NFL season watching teams like the Patriots, Packers, Niners, Texans, even the old Browns over in Baltimore, and wonder what it’s like to be their fan.

Call me in 2013.


Moving On in Wauseon

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