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Jodi's Blog (224)

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- www.jicny.com. 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. …
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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…
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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…
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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…

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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…
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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...…

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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…

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

Shabbat of a Life Time

We recently started hosting Shabbat guests through an organization called Shabbat of a Lifetime. This organization provides an authentic Shabbat experience through host families for Jewish and non-Jewish groups visiting Israel. It is a unique opportunity for these visitors to experience the warmth and beauty of a family Shabbat experience.

In the last 3 weeks…

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Added by Jodi on June 23, 2015 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Right in Front of You

For the last few months I have encountered an interesting business challenge. I devoted so much head space to thinking what changed in the market. In addition I did hours of research. It simply did not make sense why this established business was suddenly having challenges.

This week a client asked me a question and I suddenly realized where the issue was.  My entire body shuddered in disbelief. The answer was as simple as…

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Added by Jodi on June 10, 2015 at 12:10pm — No Comments

You Have Something on Your Nose

I recently flew to NY for work.  I had a crazy schedule planned which included hosting 9 events, speaking to 5th year Medical students about being a parent of a child with Down syndrome and a few very important meetings. 

The night I arrived I went to the doorman to collect packages.  I was holding 3 big boxes and with no hands to spare I tried to use the corner of a box to push the elevator button. Instead I bumped my…

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Added by Jodi on May 25, 2015 at 2:38pm — 1 Comment

Through My Eyes

Temira is 10 years old and had always shown maturity beyond her years.  She is reading a book about a girl who has a special needs sister and this inspired her poems.  I feel that I want to share her thoughts.   When Caily was born we were not sad, we were not mad.  I only had one big fear  - how would having a  sister with Down syndrome impact Caily’s siblings.   

 …

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Added by Jodi on April 20, 2015 at 1:30am — No Comments

The Things I Love About Travel

The more I travel, the more I want to travel. In fact I am passionate about travel and I am always scheming or planning my next trip. I now have a spread sheet tracking how many countries I have been to as it just became too hard after 60 to keep counting.…

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Added by Jodi on April 7, 2015 at 3:30pm — No Comments

Real Inclusion

Last week I read an email from the head of a NY Jewish organization about inclusion in the Jewish Community.  The irony for me was huge as this person had been instrumental in blocking my daughter's attendance to a community day school. 

The same day I attended a very big concert in Jerusalem for a popular singer.  There was at least a bus load of developmentally disabled adults sitting near us.  Many were acting…

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Added by Jodi on March 31, 2015 at 2:07am — No Comments

7 Special Years I Wouldn't Change

Caily you are seven years old today and I clearly remember the day you were born and so much since.

I remember before you were born that I had an overwhelming feeling that something was…

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Added by Jodi on February 25, 2015 at 12:00pm — 1 Comment

Beyond frustrated

It's North American  Disability Month and an opportunity for me to reflect yet again just how far behind the Jewish world and Orthodox community is when it comes to inclusion of people with special needs.

I know that there are many who work tirelessly in this field advocating and fighting for inclusion but the reality is the needle has not moved much.  Certainly in the 7 years that I have been part  of this world there has…

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Added by Jodi on February 15, 2015 at 1:50pm — 2 Comments

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