Judaism and Disability
Portrayals in Ancient Texts from the Tanach through the Bavli
Publication Year: 1998
Published by: Gallaudet University Press
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Preface and Acknowledgments
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The past, they say, is prologue. In the case of attitudes about disabilities and persons with them in ancient Jewish sources, one hopes that this is so, for there is much that has yet to be thought through regarding the topic. The future has yet to be recorded. This book, ....
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If you were to stand at Lake Itasca in Minnesota, where the Mississippi River begins, you might doubt that so mighty a river could spring from so small a source. And yet, were you to follow a leaf that fell into the river at its headwater you would soon see how the river grows until it reaches its destination in the sea, some 2,350 miles later....
2 Priestly Perfection
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"The Few, the Proud, the Marines" is a phrase we associate today with exceptionally fit men and women who, because of their physical condition and training, are able to survive the most dangerous aspects of combat. The phrase implies that there is another group, "the many, the weak, the humble and forlorn"—that is, those who would surely perish...
3 Persons with Disabilities, Symbolism, and Collective Israel
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If the Statue of Liberty's light were to go out one day, we would expect that great pains would be taken to fix it, as, indeed, great trouble and expense were lavished on the statue's refurbishing some years ago. In many movies, the downfall of America is represented by the toppling of this statue, which symbolically embodies the country's best ideals. Human bodies frequently are made to bear such symbolic weight....
4 Disabilities, Atonement, and Individuals
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"Once upon a time..." This phrase raises our expectations that a story will follow in which good prevails and evil is punished. Such tales—fairy tales, literary tales, traditional narratives of every kind—can tell us much about the culture that produced them, regardless of how factual they may or may not be. In ...
5 Body, Soul, and Society
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Think of all the variety of glasses there are, and how each fits form to function. There are brandy snifters that hold the scent of the spirit, champagne flutes that conserve bubbliness, and shot glasses for efficient transfer of alcohol. What each glass is meant to contain affects its shape....
6 Categorization, Disabilities, and Persons with Disabilities
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The questions of the playground plague us for life. "Who's in?" "Who's out?" "Who's the prettiest?" "Who's the best athlete?" "Who's the last person to be picked for the team?" These questions of inclusion and exclusion, and the issues of categorization on which they rely, are extremely important ones for our sources with regard to persons with disabilities....
7 The River Flows On
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While our analysis of Jewish attitudes toward disabilities and persons with them stops at this point, Jewish tradition continued to develop and change. It therefore may profit us to close with a question that falls outside the limits of this study: What do all the texts we have studied, and the attitudes expressed in them mean today? Let us...
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Page Count: 304
Illustrations: 5 tables, 5 figures
Publication Year: 1998