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Making Philly’s Jewish Community More Inclusive!

The month of February is Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance & Inclusion month and the initiative that I work for in Philadelphia, Whole Community Inclusion, has just launched a new campaign to raise $10,000 during February to support our work.

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Based on national statistics, we estimate* that there are well over 7,000 children with disabilities in the Philadelphia Jewish community. While many important strides have been made to meet this tremendous need, we know that there are still thousands of families in the greater Philadelphia community who have not found support for their children’s needs in Jewish communal spaces.

Jewish Learning Venture’s Whole Community Inclusion (WCI) works tirelessly to advocate for and serve children with disabilities in the Jewish community. Your gift will be generously matched dollar for dollar by the Lasko Family Foundation. Contributions will go toward programs for families, professional development for educators and clergy, and one-on-one consultations for professionals and parents.

*This estimate is based on national statistics that show 20% of the population are individuals with disabilities. 

I am most grateful to everyone who supports our campaign!

The Little Gate-Crasher is on a blog tour!

I am SO grateful to the amazing Rachel Gilbey for setting up a 3-day blog tour for The Little Gate-Crasher.

What that means is that from today (August 28th) through Thursday (August 30th), lots of book bloggers and reviewers are featuring The Little Gate-Crasher through reviews and interviews.

And the really FUN part is that we’re giving away a copy of the book! When you read a review, it will take you to a chance to enter. Enter as often as you’d like and share this link with your book-loving friends!

If you are on twitter, follow me and I’ll share each review link as it’s live.

Thanks for your support!


Your Spiritual Wedding: Online Workshop

I’m so excited to have discovered this new platform and am teaching an interactive workshop for couples planning weddings:
Your Spiritual Wedding
an online workshop with JOH officiant and author Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer
May 14, 2018
Planning a wedding can be fun, stressful, exciting, exhausting…and also an opportunity for spiritual growth for you and your partner. Wedding officiant and author of “The Creative Jewish Wedding Book” Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer shares resources and ideas for every couple to grow closer, emotionally and spiritually, as you envision and bring to life your wedding ceremony. This class is great for couples of all faiths, secular and/or interfaith couples. LGBTQ-friendly!
Join Gabby from the comfort of your home with the “Learn It Live” platform.
Workshop fee includes worksheets, video and more resources!
To register:
Special Discount Code: V492RMRS

Omer Day 11: Endurance of Discipline

I was very excited to be invited to blog as part of Ritualwell’s Omer series. See the original post here.

Netzach of Gevurah – Endurance of Discipline

Many people ask me how I have the time to write. I never know how to answer that question. We all have time and need to make conscious choices of how we use our time. Sure, I procrastinate and go through periods of not writing but mostly I carve out time to write—early in the morning before my kids wake up, evenings when I’ve finished other work or in chunks of time that I sometimes claim for myself on a weekend afternoons.

I write because I need to—writing is how I process the world. When I’m walking my dog, I’m often writing an article or a story in my head. As I fall asleep, I think about characters. This is how I’ve been since I was a child—I had a teacher in third grade who saw my spark and encouraged me to keep writing. In my teen years, there was no social media to post my feelings on (thanks goodness) but I filled thick journals every few weeks.

I don’t think of myself as an especially disciplined person—my writing process and practice come from an intuitive place. I don’t often start out with a project or plan in mind. But as I get older and see that my writing practice has been part of my life longer than anything else I’ve done, I recognize that I have learned discipline through my writing.

Even more than prayer, meditation, study, or any kind of Jewish ritual, writing is the way that I connect to my soul and to what I experience as the Divine. Writing feels good. That is the secret of my discipline: I write, I make time to write, because nothing else makes me feel as grounded in and connected to what I experience as God.

Maybe in that is a secret to discipline in general: to find that process, that practice that energizes you and sustains you. I know that for many of my friends it’s exercise, making art, cooking, worship. For me, it’s waking early, walking my dog, putting the coffee on, and opening my computer to the blank page. What emerges might be messy and frustrating and may take years to become something that I share with others, or never share. But it’s my commitment to opening the page and starting that keeps me engaged.

In this Omer season, on what can feel like a lonely journey through the wilderness, I invite you to take time today and consider: what is it in your life that you must do? Follow it into the early morning or the quiet hours of night. Claim it and don’t let anyone make you feel selfish for taking that time. All we have are moments and we never know which moment will be the last of our life. If some practice brings you joy and connection and depth, do that thing as much as you can.

Supporting “Whole Community Inclusion”

Dear Friends,
February is Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month (JDAIM) and I’m excited that our Whole Community Inclusion initiative has been given a matching grant of $25,000 to go towards our efforts to advocate for and serve children with disabilities in the Jewish community.
During JDAIM, we have set a goal of raising $10,000 and doing to do our first crowdfunding campaign:
If you are able to make a gift towards our campaign, I would be most grateful! 
How your donation will help: A signature initiative of Jewish Learning Venture, Whole Community Inclusion strives to ensure that every family raising Jewish children with disabilities are warmly welcomed and included in Jewish community.

Making a donation is super easy! Simply visit my campaign page and click donate. Any amount makes a difference!

Many thanks,


Kitchen Classroom Cooking NOW on Kindle!

Parents and teachers–I am SO excited that my 2010 children’s cookbook The Kitchen Classroom is now available electronically!

Over 500 color images and step by step directions for yummy, kid-friendly GFCF recipes. When the book was released, it was just pre-ipad days and came with a CD-ROM. NOW (for only $5.99!) you can get the kindle version to open on your ipad or laptap while you cook with your kid.

Check it out and let me know about your cooking adventures!

Headed to the Ruderman #Inclusion2017 Summit!

I’m excited to head up to Boston this morning to attend the Ruderman Family Foundation #Inclusion2017 Summit. I’ll have the chance to share about Jewish Learning Venture’s  B’nai Mitzvah Tutoring Training this afternoon and look forward to connecting with colleagues in the disability inclusion movement from across the globe.

If you’ll be there, shoot me a message so we can meet–and if you’re not, you’ll be able to livestream through the conference!


18 Little Gate Crasher Events in 2018!

My family has just celebrated the Jewish New Year, Rosh HaShanah, and are now at the beginning of the year 5778. Whether you celebrate Rosh HaShanah or not, fall is a time of new beginning for all of us on an academic calendar and I hope if you have school-age kids that they are settling in to a great new school year.

While it’s 5778 in Jewish time, it will soon enough be 2018 on the Western calendar. In Jewish tradition 18 is a special number whose value in letters spell out “chai” meaning “life.” To honor the coming “Chai” year, I’ve decided to hold 18 more Little Gate-Crasher book events through the year! I already have a number of events scheduled~and would love to join your community for one of the 18!