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Jodi's Blog (232)

India Musing

Traveling India is not for the faint hearted. It's magical and mysterious.  It's full of sights and sounds and color.  You are exposed to filth, poverty and masses of humanity. Each new place you arrive in feels like a different country. It tugs on your soul, inspires you and awakens adventure. Our family has a hunger for travel and thirst for information and India provides never ending…


Added by Jodi on April 23, 2017 at 1:00am — No Comments

It's All Perspective

We are on an epic journey with the family in India.  What makes India so special to travel in, is that you are constantly inundated with sights, sounds and colors.  In a small town on one street you will find a Buddhist Monastery, 3 different Hindu Temples all dedicated to different gods and a Sikh Temple.  

We went into a Monastery where hundreds of young Monks were chanting mantras, we were part of thousands walking into the Sikh Temple and we watched hundreds of…


Added by Jodi on April 13, 2017 at 1:00pm — No Comments

A Father's Response to having a Child with Special Needs

Between February being disability awareness month and March 21 being World Down Syndrome awareness day we get lots of people ask us about parenting a child with special needs. A journalist asked my husband for his perspective and this was his response:

Nine years ago, Caila came into our lives. Jodi (my wife) and I had decided not to do invasive prenatal screening and so it was only on her fourth day of life that we leant that Caila has Down syndrome. It was a defining life…


Added by Jodi on March 22, 2017 at 5:00pm — No Comments

Celebrating another year of our amazing Caily

Every year I write a blog for Caila's birthday and I always mention my amazement regarding her achievements. As she gets older my admiration grows more.

Each year it's harder to be Caila:

It's hard to be in a world where there are always such high expectations.

It's hard to be in an adult…


Added by Jodi on February 23, 2017 at 5:30pm — No Comments

Surviving 2 Years in Israel

Today is our two year aliya anniversary. Our kids made a cake and woke us up singing. It's definitely a mile stone worth noting but there is a lot to the story of an idealistic family with a special needs child relocating to a new country with a foreign language and culture.  Meron's comment this morning said it all. "Imma I was worried that you would not appreciate the cake and you would remind us all how hard it is here and how you wish you could go back to New…


Added by Jodi on October 7, 2016 at 5:30am — No Comments

Oh The Places You'll Go

I have travelled far and wide.

Often with my family by my side.

I have slept in hammocks and a hard bed.

I have slept in tents and a bed with a crucifix above my head.

I have slept in the back seat of a car and budget airlines traveling very far.  

I have tried to sleep on a beach, with music blaring all night at a screech. 

I have slept in a park where I was fearful of the dark.

I have slept in overnight coaches and a train station…


Added by Jodi on August 31, 2016 at 9:57am — No Comments

Us and Them

Since moving to Israel in 2014 with my family I have been "living" between 2 countries and 2 cultures.

We recently went on a cruise to Alaska and on a day trip I could not help but notice the Purell culture. Basically everywhere you go in the US you see Purell. The message washing hands prevents spread of germs. I can't help but contrast this with Caila's first day of kindergarten in Israel. I mentioned to the teacher that she does not always wash her hands after…


Added by Jodi on August 22, 2016 at 2:50pm — No Comments

The Birthday Question

It's not my birthday but we had a thought provoking speaker Michael Cedar,, speak to the JICNY emerging leadership board this week. He ended the presentation with the birthday question.  "What do you want to be different than 365 days ago?"

My blog has been missing in action for the last few weeks. I was swamped by my daughters bat mitzvah, all the family coming in, then packing up my Jerusalem…


Added by Jodi on July 27, 2016 at 3:30pm — No Comments

Eyes Wide Open

My husband and I are co-founders of an organization that targets young professionals in NY and now Israel called Jewish International Connection New York- We pride ourselves on making over 100 matches from our events.  Last night a friend sent me an email with the  subject line "remember this guy?" I proceeded to read the link she sent. …

Added by Jodi on May 12, 2016 at 3:16am — No Comments

Traveling with Eyes Wide Open

We are presently traveling in India. It is really amazing, so unfamiliar yet so spectacular. People warned us about the poverty, the dirt and the chaos. I guess that because we are from Africa, and having travelled so much including Africa, we had seen poverty and filth. What makes India so intense and interesting is the different religions living side by side - each with millions of followers adhering to norms of dress, prayer, diet, customs and community. Yet each religious group is sure…


Added by Jodi on April 25, 2016 at 3:30pm — No Comments

An Unsung Hero

I was recently in New York for work.  I went to friends for Shabbat lunch and another family I know was there.  The wife said, "I was just talking about you last night." She told me that the discussion at the Shabbat table was about families that have made the big move to Israel and she was telling people that we are an example of a family that made a seamless transition and are happy. I laughed; I guess all those positive Facebook posts can be deceiving. I certainly have not found the move…


Added by Jodi on March 12, 2016 at 7:17pm — No Comments

Lots of Dirty Secrets

Recently my social media feed has been filled with posts about the failings of the Jewish community to effectively include people with special needs.  The confluence of the recent annual Jewish Day school conference and February being National Disability Month has contributed to the rhetoric. Sadly, I have been a passionate advocate for inclusion of special needs people for 8 years and I cannot say that the needle has moved much.

Having lived and advocated for inclusion in…


Added by Jodi on February 18, 2016 at 2:02pm — No Comments

Unresolved Issues with My Special Needs Child

I was recently talking with one of Caila's therapists.  I was feeling frustrated over problems we are having with Caily.  She asked me if it is possible that I have unresolved issues about having a child with special needs.

When Gavin and I stood under the chuppah we did not pray or wish for a special needs child. During my pregnancy I, like all expecting mothers, implored G-d to give me a healthy baby. Yes we were shocked when Caily was born and we received the diagnoses of…


Added by Jodi on January 11, 2016 at 4:30pm — 1 Comment

What is that smell?

When we are on long car rides invariably one of the kids will pass gas. This starts a commotion of denial and each kid says mine does not smell this bad.


Living in Israel  the last 4 months with the ceaseless violence it has been interesting to watch people's reaction. I will have friends from Raanana say they are scared to come to Jerusalem even though brazen attacks have happened on the main streets  there in broad daylight. Similarly there have been attacks at the Tel Aviv…


Added by Jodi on December 25, 2015 at 2:00am — No Comments

Blind to Differences

After watching this heartwarming clip where an orangutan adopts orphan tiger cubs, I wondered what the world would be like if we could all be blind to differences. 

Each year when Caila starts in a new class we have to go about educating the parents and teachers about who she is and what she is capable of. The first…

Added by Jodi on November 4, 2015 at 5:00pm — No Comments

Reality - Living in Israel

My adventure so far...

After 23 years of talking about living in Israel we decided to try it out. Perhaps we would land up fulfilling an age old a Jewish dream of returning to Zion, or perhaps it will be a fantastic experience taking our family abroad for a year, immersing them in foreign culture, learning the language of our ancestors and indulging in great food.

The reality of living in Israel is a reality like no other.  People ask me, "is it really so…

Added by Jodi on October 20, 2015 at 1:30pm — 1 Comment

Happiness is Living a Life with Purpose

We have been hosting hundreds of people for Shabbat and holiday meals each month for the last 20 years. Over Rosh Hashana and the preceding Shabbat, we decided to go to Tel Aviv as there is a huge demand for people to host the many singles and a shortage of people who are able to host them for Shabbat and holiday meals.  One night a guest asked if I knew all the people at the table.  He was astounded when I said I only knew one person.  This promoted the usual question "Why do you do…


Added by Jodi on September 20, 2015 at 3:09am — No Comments

The Five Hour Trip to Nowhere

The Samuels are on the road again.  We are in the spectacular Canadian Rockies and my research suggested we go to a small unknown national park 5 hrs from Lake Louise.  The reviews of the park were amazing, extolling the fact that it's not crowded with tourists, teaming with wildlife, unbelievable beauty and one of the most scenic drives. Sounded like a perfect two day trip for the Samuels.

The drive in was average with endless prairies, certainly not the most scenic…

Added by Jodi on August 22, 2015 at 3:30pm — No Comments

From The Mouth of Babes

I admit we travel a lot. We use all our spare money on budget travel. It's not always easy but it's always an adventure. For example we pulled into our hotel 20 minutes before Shabbat to find out they could not find our reservation, even though I had a confirmation, and the hotel was full...…


Added by Jodi on August 5, 2015 at 3:30pm — No Comments

Who do our kids look up to?

I often think about the fact that modern children don't have role models. We have past presidents of the most powerful nations and future Kings of England accused of adultery. Headlines scream out the failings of politicians, business men and superstars. When Ben Gurion imagined that Israel would be a real country with bureaucracy and prison service, I am sure he never imagined that the "inmate population" would include a past president, past prime minister and…


Added by Jodi on July 23, 2015 at 11:44am — No Comments

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