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According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 out of 5 Americans lives with at least one disability. Whether that is the proper word or not, the bottom line remains that physical, medical, emotional challenges are a part of life. The only real question, until cures for all of them are available to all people, is how to deal with disability.
Beginning this week, a powerful and beautiful program called A Place For All: Faith and Community for Persons with Disabilities, will be airing nationally. You can find out when it will be on in your area by clicking here for a schedule of air dates and times.
These are moving stories of real people who can help us all to deepen our appreciation of the infinite dignity of all people, however challenged or different they may be. The Sages teach that one is obligated to recite a blessing when seeing a person with disabilities. The blessing praises God, “who creates many forms of creation”.
It’s a rich approach to dealing with disability, to imagine that our first response upon noticing something which we ourselves would almost certainly not want, is actually a source of blessing, and that without that disabled person being exactly who they are, the world would have less blessing in it. I believe that such challenges are meant to be overcome, but never at the expense of people being made to feel that they are anything but a source of blessing as they are and because they are.
The role of faith in dealing with the challenges in our lives, and the need of faith communities better meet the needs of those with disabilities are also explored with directness and gentleness. Bottom line, this is one for the whole family.
I am especially proud that among those featured in the show is Rabbi Darby Leigh, a Reconstructionist Rabbi and Fellow in Clal‘s Rabbis Without Borders program. This is a very special person, one whose openness and insight inform everything he does, from the music he loves to the Torah he teaches. A Place For All introduces you to Rabbi Darby and so many others whose own faith journeys will touch your own. Don’t miss the opportunity to spend some time with them.