In Judaism, we have a blessing for everything, which is great because the sages told us to say 100 blessings every day. Isn’t it wonderful to feel gratitude 100 times a day? There is even a wonderful blessing that thanks G-d for making people different:
Baruch atah Adonai elohaynu melech ha’olam mishaneh ha’briyot. Blessed are You, O Lord, our G-d, King of the Universe, who makes people different.
We are supposed to say this blessing when we see someone who looks different and when we see someone with challenges. It gives us an opportunity not only to be thankful for what we have but thankful that we can know people who look at the world differently.
On Sunday, May 7, at 2 p.m. in the Zale Auditorium of the JCC, we invite the community to see a very special musical revue by a very special group of actors. Our troupe is called Habima Theatreand is a joint project of CHAI, Inc. and the J, which promotes dignity, respect and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities. Our performance is the wonderful culmination of the Habima Theatre workshop which began in January. During the course of the workshop, the participants stretch and grow in many ways. Each member of the cast and crew is empowered and enriched by the accomplishment of the group. Twenty-two adults with developmental delays are the actors in this special production. In addition, we have teen and adult volunteers who have been working with us. This will be our 21st year of performances although we missed two years due to COVID-19 so we are excited to be back together again.
So why should you come and bring your children? The excitement and joy shown by each of our performers makes this a very special event. As you sit and watch the struggles and accomplishments, the important Jewish concept of “b’tzelem Elohim — being created in G-d’s image” comes alive. We recognize that each of us brings something special to the world and we are truly fortunate that we can be in a community with so many different people.
Laura Seymour is Jewish experiential learning director and camp director emeritus at the Aaron Family JCC.