“Are These Sufferings Dear To You?” My Disability, Its Isolation, and My Journey

“When I look back now — many years later — on this physical, emotional, and existential re-enlivening, it feels to me like a resurrection. And yet, unlike resurrection as we tend to imagine it — magical, instantaneous — this coming back to life was messy, extended, incomplete. I never returned to the physical ease I’d experienced as a child, but I learned how to live well with a new kind of physicality — one that involved more physical limitations and assistive technology than I’d been accustomed to previously. Additionally, I was emotionally and existentially transformed in ways that took me many years to understand and integrate — especially into my religious life.

Now 28, I have spent years involved in disability activism as well as serious Jewish text study. I have slowly found ways to articulate the emotional and spiritual dimensions of my experiences with illness and disability, and to link those experiences to Jewish teachings. This path began in my first semester of college, and has led me as well through some texts that have been especially powerful for me in thinking about recovery from illness.”

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