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Jodi's Blog (210)

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…


Added by Jodi on May 25, 2015 at 2:38pm — No Comments

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.   



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.…


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…


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…


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…


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

Tomorrow is another day to make dreams come true

I recently liked a cute Facebook post, “Tomorrow is another day to make dreams come true”.

I went on a tiyul that visited communities in the south of Israel.  These border communities endured the war this past summer where they had to run for the bomb shelters up to forty times a day. One kibbutz had more than forty missiles land within their grounds and sadly they lost a beautiful 4 year old child in one of the…


Added by Jodi on February 3, 2015 at 4:30pm — No Comments


Anyone who has ever been to Israel knows all about Israeli chutzpa. Chutzpa is a word that is impossible to translate adequately – it’s a combination of outright audacity and the refusal to accept “no” for an answer, but it’s even more than that……

A few months ago we were at the Dead Sea and we wanted to make a barbecue. There were very clear signs all over advising that campfires and barbecues were forbidden yet there were many groups enjoying a campfire and/or barbecue. We asked a…


Added by Jodi on January 19, 2015 at 2:30am — No Comments

Feeling Like an Outsider

A few nights ago Gavin and I attended a music concert in Jerusalem.  There were not many Anglo's there and I felt completely alien in the environment. At the end of the concert Gavin confessed he felt the same.

We have been struggling with culture shock. We spent 8 summers in Israel, countless trips and I lived here in my gap year. Frankly we are both surprised that we are experiencing culture shock.



Added by Jodi on January 7, 2015 at 2:41am — 1 Comment

That kid should not be here

On Friday night I was in synagogue. After services a teenage choir performed for the community. A cute little kid went on stage and started dancing. While he was adorable, his father realized that he was stealing their thunder and whisked him off stage.
This kid was not happy and lay in a heap on the ground having a melt down as the father battled to pick him up and take him…

Added by Jodi on December 22, 2014 at 7:38pm — No Comments

Funny Face

A few weeks ago, we spent Shabbat with friends who also have a child with Down syndrome. At the end of Shabbat Caily looked at this child who is a few years older than her and said "You have a funny face!"  We all cracked up at the irony of the situation and I wanted to ask Caily "have you looked in the mirror recently? – You may see a similar “funny” face.”

We recently had a few situations that made me think about what we teach our kids. Caily was squabbling with another…


Added by Jodi on December 1, 2014 at 4:57pm — No Comments

Showing our Strength

“A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it's in hot water.” Eleanor Roosevelt


I read the above quote a few months ago and thought about all the moms of special needs kids. None of us knew our strength until the day we heard a diagnosis that changed our lives forever changed and tested our strength. Anyone going through trauma, tragedy or major change will no doubt agree.

On Tuesday Israelis yet again had to deal with tragedy.…


Added by Jodi on November 21, 2014 at 2:30am — No Comments

Just do it

Gavin and I met in Israel 23 years ago, we were engaged 6 months later and have always dreamed about getting back to Israel where our story started. Over the years, we left South Africa, moved to New Zealand, then Australia and finally New York where we lived for the past 13 years. But we never gave up on our dream of going to Israel and were fortunate to be able to spend a couple of months in the summer there for the past 8 years. Then in September several things just suddenly fell into…


Added by Jodi on November 2, 2014 at 9:00am — No Comments

How One Family is changing the Way we see Down syndrome

Recently an article was written about my family on Living the Treaty Life.

Imagine for a moment, selecting a preschool for your child. You go through all the options, make enquiries and schedule…


Added by Jodi on October 20, 2014 at 3:57pm — No Comments

Have You Heard Our Exciting News?

You may have heard our exciting news… The Samuels family is moving to Israel. Gavin has accepted an offer to work there for the year. We are moving this week so the kids can maximize the school year.

This has all happened very suddenly as we only found out on Sept 19th that we would be able to go so soon. This is fitting though, as it is typical “Jodi Style” … 23 years of talking about living in Israel, spending entire summers in Israel and then…


Added by Jodi on October 4, 2014 at 5:00pm — No Comments

All Down Syndrome Babies Should Be Killed

Mid-August to October is the hardest time for any special needs mom.  It’s the time when one starts fighting for the services from the Department of Education that are mandated for your children, but have to be fought for anyway. It’s the time when you feel the indifference of the bureaucracy, yet to you and your family, every decision and every choice means so much to the special soul that you are advocating for.…


Added by Jodi on September 14, 2014 at 12:00pm — No Comments

A Real Disconnect

We have just concluded our 10 week summer vacation to Israel. We also stopped in Cypress, Berlin and a short side trip to Poland so that Meron can try meet his goal of 30 countries before his Barmitzvah  next year.

Yesterday we were on a train packed with backpackers.  It brought back lots of memories from my free spirited and crazy treks in Europe.  The good old days when I thought I was anonymous in society and that my actions had no consequences.  I have crazy…


Added by Jodi on September 2, 2014 at 4:15pm — No Comments

A Broken promise

Last night I was standing with Gavin watching a concert in Tzefat.  We are here for the Klezmer festival one of our favorite summer activities.

We were sitting on a low wall on the side when a group of religious guys came up to Gavin.  The one guy started explaining something to Gavin and I could see gesturing and nodding and then they left and Gavin had a smile on his face. I asked Gavin what they wanted. Apparently one of the guys had made a promise that he…


Added by Jodi on August 19, 2014 at 2:30am — No Comments

My Israel

I have been in Israel for seven weeks now and I have been struggling with a blog post. My struggle has been around the fact that I have so many ideas and so much to say that I could not find just one topic to focus on. I have experienced a country of unprecedented unity, a country at war, country mourning its dead and a people so resilient that life goes on no matter what the challenges.

Today, I read a heartfelt letter from a NY acquaintance that has spent 7 months in Jerusalem. She…


Added by Jodi on August 6, 2014 at 4:30pm — No Comments

What I Love About Israel

It’s been surreal being here through the sirens. After each siren I marvel how people just continue with life. It so Israeli – and I can only imagine the contrast in any US city if there was just one rocket. The city would be in lock down with mass hysteria.

There are many more subtle things that I appreciate too. This issue closest to my heart is how much more integrated special needs people are in society. I only have to reflect on my experiences dealing with summer camp. The answer…


Added by Jodi on July 15, 2014 at 3:05pm — No Comments

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