Feb 25, 2020  By Lynne Merriam  Category: Special Needs,

A prayer for parents of children with disabilities

The author with a member of Special in Uniform, which integrates Israelis with disabilities into the IDF.

I watch my son, confident and tall
Standing on the bimah
Sharing memories of his Jewish experiences
Praying at the Western Wall

Standing under the chuppah
Naming his daughter
The bris for the son
And my heart fills with joy

The 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
And always asking why
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 faith

As 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.