Emily Ladau is a Jewish disability rights activist, writer, storyteller, and digital communications consultant. We sat down with Emily to chat about how Jewish values inform her work and what employers, employees, and coworkers can do to proactively affirm people with disabilities in the workplace.
Our tradition teaches that once someone has converted to Judaism, they are as Jewish as a Jew by birth and we are not to speak of it again with them, or with anyone else. It should be as if they have always been Jewish. To not speak of it is to fully honor the person who chose Judaism by not making any distinctions between them and the born-Jewish members of our communities.
"Tell me a story" is a constant refrain for those of us with children in our lives. Almost as often, when the last page is turned, the child looks up and asks, "again?" Sometimes, this is a joy. Sometimes, re-reading, and re-reading some more, becomes a burden.
In the many years (57 to be exact) that I have been in an interfaith marriage, I felt somehow removed from antisemitism. I was raised in a Roman Catholic family, and, while there were a few comments from aunts and uncles when I got engaged, it was the 1960s, and I was in love. I believed we would figure it out as we went along.
We sat down with Rabbi Joseph Meszler, author of "The Sukkah in the Storm: A Sukkot Story," to discuss the ways this story teaches children about strength, resilience, community, and asking for help.
As I boarded the plane to Israel in the summer of 2002 for my first year of rabbinical school at HUC in Jerusalem, my mother said, "Please, just don't meet an Israeli." As soon as the plane touched down at Ben Gurion airport, I knew that I was home. A few months later, I met that Israeli. From our first conversation, he understood that I was studying to be a rabbi, and I understood that he wanted to live only in Israel.
I am vegan because I am Jewish. Everything that led me to a vegan practice came from my childhood where I kept kosher, learned by asking thoughtful questions, and practiced daily rituals like hand washing and reciting brachot that brought intention to aspects of daily life.
As we look out from the pulpit, we know there are good reasons that some faces that were familiar before March 2020 are now missing. We have embraced technology at every opportunity. The quality of our livestreaming worship, even in smaller synagogues, is excellent. Many congregants have grown accustomed to praying from the comfort of their couch.
This time of year, we hear again and again about how much emphasis Judaism places on the nuances of how to address harm of all kinds. I am convinced that the steps of repentance and repair outlined by the medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides make sense not only in our individual lives when we harm our coworkers, friends, family, and intimate partners, but also in reference to the communal, cultural, and national levels.