web analytics
October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



To Dream The Impossible Dream


book-dont-judge

Ashira Greenberg is a pretty, talented and articulate young lady who, at the tender of age of seventeen, has just published a book.

Many of us dream of writing our own book, myself included, but how few of us actually do it.

I went to a recent book signing by the young author, held in the home of family friends Sima and Abe Ancselovics in Hillcrest, Queens. There sat Ashira surrounded by her loving parents, Robert and Dafna Greenberg, facing an overflow crowd. All of us wanted to hear her story. On the table in front of her was a pile of her book, Don’t Judge By What You See.

Ashira was born with cerebral palsy. For elementary school she attended the Yeshiva of Central Queens where the YESS program is located. YESS – Yeshiva Education for Special Students – works with each special needs child and successfully mainstreams many of them. Ashira was mainstreamed but never forgot all the help she received and became a volunteer, working with YESS children in her school.

Ashira loved writing and she dreamed of someday writing a book. In seventh grade she was going through a particularly hard time. “Here I was in a normal school, but I couldn’t do what the other kids could do,” said Ashira. “ So I started to think of writing.”

She was blessed with a very special teacher that year who encouraged her to write. In fact, when the teacher gave out a class assignment to write about “what makes you unique,” Ashira felt that the teacher had specifically picked that topic with her in mind.

She went home that Friday and sat down in front of her computer to write and all of her frustrations came pouring out in poem form. Every time her parents walked into the room she closed the screen. “ They must have wondered what was going on, so now I can tell them, it was nothing unacceptable, I was just pouring out my heart and I didn’t want them to feel bad.” She brought the poem to school that Monday and showed it to her teacher. The teacher was so impressed that she showed it to all the other teachers in the school. They all agreed that it was incredibly well written.

Summers for Ashira were spent in Camp Simcha Special. That summer she asked her bunkmates and fellow campers to write a few paragraphs dealing with their feelings about their disabilities. She discussed with them her dream of putting these essays into a book that would be published. The campers all eagerly complied. But when she sent the work off to publishing houses, rejection after rejection came her way. The common complaint was that the manuscript was too short and too heavy. “Short, we could fix,” said Ashira. “But heavy? This is our life and yes, it is a heavy load to bear.” So the dream of publishing a book was put on hold.

Ashira and her father

Some years passed and Ashira was now a student at Central, Yeshiva University High School for Girls (my alma mater) and managing okay.

One year at the Salute to Israel Parade in New York City she saw her former seventh grade teacher marching with her elementary school. All her dreams of writing a book came back to her as she saw the teacher who had inspired her to write.

Before Ashira began writing again, she and her parents contacted publishing companies to see if any of them would be interested in publishing a book about children and disabilities specifically geared to children. The Israel Bookshop Publishing Company answered in the affirmative and Ashira began to write.

The end result is a beautiful children’s book written in rhyming sentences. One of my favorite parts of the book is where the girl goes to a party in her friend’s backyard and sees lots of children in wheelchairs or with other noticeable problems. She stares and stares at them, thinking that if their arms or legs don’t work maybe their minds don’t work either. The lessons are gently brought home in rhyme, in a way that doesn’t make the reader feel bad. In fact, it is very much a feel-good book, which in itself is a remarkable thing.

The book is beautifully illustrated by Rachelli Edelstein.

What’s next for Ashira? Right now she is looking forward to graduating high school in June and then…”we’ll see what happens,” was her sweet answer.

It’s clear to see that a loving family – Ashira has two younger sisters – and parents devoted to helping her dreams become reality, will help this young lady continue to soar.

About the Author: Naomi Klass Mauer is associate publisher of The Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “To Dream The Impossible Dream”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Do you know where your vegetables grow?
Not So Kosher Shemittah L’Mehadrin
Latest Sections Stories
Nimchinsky-102414-Flag

This past summer was a powerful one for the Jewish people. I will always remember where I was on June 12th when I found out that Gilad, Eyal and Naftali were kidnapped. I will always remember the look on my sister’s face on June 30th when she told me that they were found. I will […]

Schonfeld-logo1

Avromi often put other people’s interests before his own: he would not defend people whom he believed were guilty (even if they were willing to pay him a lot of money).

Kupfer-102414

The Presbyterian Church USA voted to divest from three companies that do business with Israel.

How can I help my wife learn to say “no,” and understand that her first priority must be her husband and family?

My eyes skimmed an article on page 1A. I was flabbergasted. I read the title again. Could it be? It had good news for the Miami Jewish community.

Students in early childhood, elementary, and middle school were treated to an array of hands-on projects to create sukkah decorations such as wind chimes, velvet posters, sand art, paper chains, and more.

It is important for a therapist to focus on a person’s strengths as a way of overcoming his or her difficulties.

Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Though if you do have a schach mat, you’ll realize that it cannot actually support the weight of the water.

More Articles from Naomi Klass Mauer
Met-Protest-092614

“What we are seeing here in New York today is not an artistic expression that challenges the limits of morality, but a moral deformity that challenges the limits of the art.

Arnold-Fine-091214

We started The Jewish Press. Arnie was an integral part of the paper.

Home is Milwaukee where their congregation, Beth Jehudah, and community always await their return.

After they saw what happened in Gush Katif in 2005, they understood Judea and Samaria could well be next.

Abusive men are usually on their best behavior before marriage. But they do provide clues.

“It’s the one time and place where so many people can come together and tell the world that we support Israel.”

The new soldiers received a gun and a Tanach, in which the “deed” to the land of Israel is found.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/to-dream-the-impossible-dream/2012/02/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: