There's a reason why the autism community logo is a puzzle piece. Actually there's a number of reasons, but one of them being that there is a myriad of puzzle pieces to this life of disAbility. And while the puzzle piece also signifies the remaining enigma of autism, all of our disAbility brothers and sisters have many pieces in the complex puzzle picture of their lives. Finding a spiritual home is one of the too often missing pieces. Simple you'd think. Not so. Seventy-five percent of families that would attend a spiritual center do not because they are not welcome, misunderstood, asked to leave, feared and in too many cases simply cannot get in the door because the lack of physical accessibility.
Nashville native Thomas Boehm comes from the Jewish tradition and now celebrates life as a Christian/Messianic Jew as well as a father of a child with Down syndrome. He knows the complex picture and is passionate, with his small organization, Faith For ALL, about completing the picture with accessible faith communities.
In conjunction with February-National Jewish Disability Awareness Month and because "Faith for ALL works to accelerate congregation accessibility so people with special needs can have deeper access into the community life of a congregation," the multiple film-festival award-garnering film "Praying with Lior," will show Wed. Feb. 23, 6:30 p.m. at the Gordon Jewish Community Center (GJCC).
"Praying with Lior" is an engrossing, wrenching and tender documentary film that introduces Lior Liebling, also called "the little rebbe." Lior has Down syndrome, and has spent his entire life praying with utter abandon. As Lior approaches Bar Mitzvah, the Jewish coming-of-age ceremony different characters provides a window into life spent "praying with Lior." The movie poses difficult questions such as what is "disability" and who really talks to God? Told with intimacy and humor, "Praying with Lior" is a family story, a triumph story, a grief story, a divinely-inspired story.
I am disappointed with the use of the "R" word in this video. I believe in PeopleFirst attitudes and respectful langauge about those who, like my daughter, have "intellectual disabilities." Nonetheless, I believe this film and this trailor has great merit otherwise and deserved to be shared here.
Have you experienced inclusion or exclusion within a faith community because of disAbility? Do you belong to an inclusive faith community?