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Jodi's Blog (247)

My Aliyah Journey - The 101 Things I wish I Knew Before (Part 2)

The end of summer is peak time for new Olim arriving in Israel and I am reminded that I promised part 2 of my blog “101 things I Wish I Knew before I Made Aliyah”

I often wonder how previous generations made it in Israel. I am not talking about the idealistic pioneers who drained the swamps, survived war, lived without air conditioning, endured shortages while the miracle of the State was becoming a reality. I think of the people just five years before us who made aliya without…


Added by Jodi on October 3, 2018 at 6:33am — No Comments

Secrets to a 25 Year Love Story

Many of you would have heard the story of how Gavin and I met on a street corner in Israel.  Gavin was lost and I gave him directions, he heard my South African accent and we started talking. Gavin jokes that I have been giving him directions ever since. That was 27 years ago and we are celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary this week. I'm sure you've also heard Gavin’s playful complaint that they give you less than 25 years for murder! He also always jokes that someone should build a…

Added by Jodi on August 8, 2018 at 2:57am — No Comments

Why I Love Traveling

I have just finished a five-week journey to Thailand, Australia and Myanmar with my three children traveling without my husband. I admit that it’s not common for an Orthodox Jewish woman to travel to exotic locations with three kids one of which has special needs. If you think you are surprised you should see what the locals think to see a white woman on her own with three kids. We travel to see the locals and in the end we are as much the entertainment for the…


Added by Jodi on July 23, 2018 at 8:00am — No Comments

Celebrating the Impossible

Several weeks ago, we were invited to an adults-only BBQ. It was Lag B’Omer when every teenager in Israel is out until 3am and there were no babysitters in the whole country. We declined the invitation because we knew it would be impossible to find a babysitter and our older kids would be out all night but our friend insisted we come and allowed an exception to the no-kid rule so for Caila  because she is so well behaved.



Added by Jodi on June 27, 2018 at 7:33am — No Comments

לחגוג את הבלתי אפשרי

לפני מספר שבועות הוזמנו למדורת ל"ג בעומר שתוכננה למבוגרים בלבד. …


Added by Jodi on June 27, 2018 at 7:33am — No Comments

The Crazy Mom

My kids think I am crazy. Probably also quirky, obsessive and a scatter brain. I guess I am all of these!

Those of you who know me probably think of me as a responsible, capable and passionate person who can do whatever she puts her mind to. Those who know me a little more know that I am actually quite shy, and I really have to leave my comfort zone to be a public personality. I guess I am like a musician who can perform on stage in front of a crowd even though…


Added by Jodi on April 17, 2018 at 3:30am — No Comments

My Aliya Journey - the 101 things I wish I knew before

Standing in a very long line to get my phone registered so that it could work while exploring Ethiopia made me realize just how efficient and first world Israel actually is.  Now, to be clear,  I am not suggesting that I have gotten used to Israeli bureaucracy it’s just that relative to Africa things are MUCH better.

When I first made aliya some people told me it would take 3 years to settle in. Others said 7 years and some said 20 years. Now that I am 3 ½…

Added by Jodi on March 29, 2018 at 2:30pm — No Comments

The Real People

I have this mental vision of Caila’s days at school - it’s of someone standing on tipped toes and stretching their arms out. The person does this for hours on end. I am pretty sure this describes Caila’s experience trying to keep up in an inclusion environment.

Many professionals have told us over the years that Caila should also engage with people who have special needs as well. Twice a week she attends an afternoon program with kids who mainly have Down…


Added by Jodi on February 7, 2018 at 3:55pm — No Comments


The past few weeks have been busy for my children and all their peers involved in the Bnei Akiva Youth Movement. My kids eagerly wait for Chodesh Irgun - the month when the leadership transitions to the next group of 15 year old madrichim. The whole month is defined by fun activities and the culmination of this excitement and sleep deprivation is a big weekend that goes from Thursday night to Sunday morning.

Our local Bnei Akiva recently started a group for people with special needs…


Added by Jodi on November 27, 2017 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Real Jewish Mothers

I have always been a working mom. I went back to work when my first child was 6 weeks old. I worked literally until my second child was born. I was so adamant to finish a project that Gavin sat in my office in Manhattan timing my contractions and we went straight to the hospital and I answered emails on my blackberry a few hours post birth.…


Added by Jodi on November 6, 2017 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Twist of Fate

I started writing this blog August in Cuba and we are now in Czech Republic and the same ideas resurfaced. 

Street child or rich kid? Communist or capitalist? Living in war torn terror or an American life of pleasure?…


Added by Jodi on October 15, 2017 at 4:30pm — No Comments

למה בכיתי היום כיפור הזה

ביקשתי כיסא מאוד ספציפי בבית הכנסת. כיסא במעבר אבל עם קו תצפית לחלון.

אני צריכה שתהיה לי אפשרות להשגיח על קיילה, בתי בת ה-9 עם תסמונת דאון, כשהיא משחקת


תמירה, בתי השנייה, בת ה-15, מחליפה איתי משמרות שמירה על קיילה כל 15 דקות, לכן אנו

זקוקות לגישה נוחה אל חצר בית הכנסת.

בכל פעם שהבטתי החוצה מהחלון, ליבי יצא אל קיילה. היא עמדה או ישבה לבד, והפנים שלה נראו

עצובות כל כך. התפקוד של קיילה גבוה במיוחד…


Added by Jodi on October 6, 2017 at 1:30am — No Comments

Why I Cried This Yom Kippur

I requested a very specific seat in shul - an aisle seat but in line with the window. I need to be able to keep an eye on Caila, who is 9 years old with Down syndrome, while she plays outside. Temira, my other daughter who is 13 and I take turns every 15 minutes to go check on Caila and so we need easy access in and out.…


Added by Jodi on October 1, 2017 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Incredible Caila

Caila finished second grade in Israel this week. School has always been challenging for us. Integrating a child in a regular class is hard work. From fighting our way into schools, convincing the schools that Caila has a right to be there, teaching the schools about inclusion and finding the right support staff and professionals. That's just the beginning you then need to deal with curriculum modification, behavior strategies, social integration strategies and educating the administration,…


Added by Jodi on June 28, 2017 at 11:00am — No Comments

Living in the Era of Prophecy

Our Rabbis teach us that Prophecy ended more than 2,000 years ago in the era of Ezra and Nehemiah and it is always surprising and confusing to me how many people today seem to think that they are somehow plugged in to the deepest secrets of the universe and how free they are in sharing in a profoundly authoritative way, how we should interpret events that occur in our lives.


Many years ago we were looking to buy the apartment next door to ours in New York City.  We heard from…


Added by Jodi on May 28, 2017 at 3:23am — No Comments

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

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