Shachar is having her 10th birthday, but she’s not celebrating alone.
During Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month, Jewish educators and advocates around the world are focusing attention on helping children–and adults–learn to understand and accept the differences that are part of the human condition.
Now a new book Shachar and Kuti written by 10-year-old Shachar Edry tells a powerful story about love and acceptance, for yourself and also for those who are different from you.
The book teaches about acceptance and understanding through Shachar’s true story. Shacher was born with one giant nevi and many other smalls nevis, which are referred to as satellites, which appear as beauty marks along her hands and legs.
Shachar was born to a religious family, next to her grandparents, who live in a strong community, in a village next to Jerusalem. Her uncle Harry Karten explains, “Grandpa, who is the Rabbi of the village, was a great role model. He spread that with a deep belief in Hashem, full hope and prayers, one can overcome anything. The community instilled in Shachar the strength she needed to overcome her physical difference, with love, hope and happiness. Shachar loves herself and taught her group of friends to accept her and love her. She had to overcome the obstacles and the doctors removed the giant nevi from her body. They left the one nevi located in her brain. Shachar, at her early age, learned to live with the headaches and in her book she mystically describes how. She gave the nevi in her head, the name, ‘my friend Kuti’, who never left her.”
The book ends happily on her 10th birthday, when it was discovered that Kuti had shrunk and would no longer would bother her with headaches.
Shachar’s book is a wonderful way to teach children about the Jewish values of inclusion during JDAIM–and all through the year.
The book is available here and will soon be distributed through PJ Library in Israel.
Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer edits The New Normal: Blogging Disability. She directs Jewish Learning Venture’s Whole Community Inclusion, where she works with synagogues and schools across the Philadelphia Jewish community.