Visual artist and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Julian Schnabel has donated one of his limited edition “Blind Girl Surf Club” surfboards to a charity auction in California for Surfers Healing: A Foundation For Autism.
The black surfboard, which has a picture of a girl with a purple mark over her eyes on one side and “Blind Girl Surf Club” written on the other, is listed with an opening bid of $20,000 on the Surfers Healing fourth annual Holiday Surfboard Auction website. The fundraiser is sponsored by The Ritz-Carlton and Laguna Niguel’s Community Footprints program.
Earlier this week, Tom Fields-Meyer wrote about reading and thinking about books and took a look at autism and God. His blog posts are being featured this week on The Arty Semite, courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:
Not long ago, I had the pleasure of speaking at an event to benefit my children’s summer camp. In the midst of a lovely discussion, the rabbi who runs the camp offered a question: “What’s your book’s Jewish message?”
I stammered and stumbled a bit before I came up with an answer. But afterwards, I kept thinking about the question. I tend to come up with much more articulate responses the next morning, on my jog, than on the spot. (That’s why I’m a writer and not, say, a White House spokesman.)
Following Ezra tells the story of raising our middle son for the decade from his autism diagnosis at age three through the day of his one-of-a-kind bar mitzvah. It’s loaded with Jewish content: there’s the awkward, hilarious conversation he had with a neighbor on the walk to synagogue one Shabbat; there’s the wonderful conversation when Ezra learned about the Eighth Commandment (the hard way); and of course there’s the last chapter, detailing the days surrounding my son’s bar mitzvah celebration.
But what’s the Jewish message?
On Monday, Tom Fields-Meyer took a look at autism and God. His posts are being featured this week on The Arty Semite, courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:
EachSaturday morning, I ask my son Ezra the same question. As our family prepares to head out for the walk to synagogue, I stop Ezra with five words before he gets to the door:
“Do you have your books?”
This sends him to his bedroom to fill his red backpack with a handful of volumes: the “Pixarpedia,” a detailed taxonomy of Pixar’s animated movies; a 600-plus page animal encyclopedia; and sometimes a canine almanac called “The Dog Breed Bible.”
It’s an unusual selection, but Ezra, who is 15, is a singular kid. High-functioning autism makes it difficult for him to sit in one place, whether that place is his math classroom, a restaurant booth or the pews of our neighborhood synagogue. Since he was young, the one thing that could get Ezra to sit still was a book.
Tom Fields-Meyer is the author of “Following Ezra,” a memoir about learning from his autistic son. His posts are being featured this week on The Arty Semite, courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:
I was a guest on a radio talk show last week when the interviewer offered a question that caught me off guard. In the midst of a discussion about raising my son Ezra, who has autism, she asked: “With a person who is so comfortable with things that are very concrete and predictable, how do you explain a concept like God?”
As it happens, God comes up in conversation quite a bit in our household. My wife is a rabbi who teaches Jewish texts at a Jewish community high school. We attend synagogue every Shabbat, and our family life revolves around the Jewish calendar.
“Modern Family” and “Mad Men” may have come out the big winners, but prominently thrown into the mix at this year’s “Primetime Emmy Awards” was one of the country’s best-known defenders of kosher slaughter.
Temple Grandin, the inspiration for the year’s top TV movie, earned her own enthusiastic applause during an onstage appearance at the August 29 ceremony, held in Los Angeles. Portrayed by Claire Danes in an HBO biopic bearing her name, Grandin gained fame by overcoming obstacles related to autism, eventually becoming an expert in animal husbandry and a best-selling author. Now a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, 63-year-old Grandin (who celebrated her birthday the night of the show’s airing) may be best known professionally for designing a humane system of herding animals to slaughter, a project that plays a central role in the HBO movie.
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