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Planning a Special Bar/Bat Mitzvah

URL: http://www.jewishjournal.com/bar_and_bat_mitzvahs/article/planning_a_special_barbat_mitzvah_20000811

In 1987, when Joel Hornstein stood before over 200 congregants, family members and friends to recite his Bar Mitzvah Torah portion in English and Hebrew, he had only been able to speak for a few years. No one expected a child with autism, or any other significant disability, to undertake the rigorous training in a foreign language needed to prepare for this significant Jewish rite of passage. Jewish special education was almost nonexistent. Yet Joel's family wanted to provide him with the opportunity to declare his value and dignity before God and their community, and celebrate his journey out of the solitude of autism.

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