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Jodi's Blog (218)

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

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…


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…


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…


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.   



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

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