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April 21, 2015 / 2 Iyar, 5775
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Title: All Hashem’s Children: Inspiring Stories about Children with Challenges

Title: All Hashem’s Children: Inspiring Stories about Children with Challenges


Author: Compiled by Leah


Grangewood and Zeisel Blumenfeld (Mandelcorn)


Publisher: Targum Press


 


 


   “The world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming it” – Helen Keller

 

   All Hashem’s Children is a book in an oft-neglected genre in religious literature. It is full of inspiring stories featuring special children who overcome challenges and inspire, uplift and elevate those around them. These stories, told from a variety of points of view, feature the children’s families, neighbors, teachers and some people who still have a lot to learn from them. Whether they are struggling with a physical handicap, an emotional challenge or a learning disability, these children rise above their limitations to teach us what with faith and perseverance one is able to achieve.

 

Zeisel Blumenfeld, one of the book’s compilers, has two children with special needs. Fifteen years ago, she wrote a book entitled A Child Like That. As a parent of children with challenges, living in America, she was seeking literature to get ideas, knowledge and chizuk but found no such books for religious audiences. A Child Like That filled that void. All Hashem’s Children is its sequel.


“There are so many people who need it. It’s a mussar book but not only for people with children with challenges but for anyone with challenges,” says Zeisel, adding that “all children come with their challenges, whether it’s getting into a yeshiva or seminary or finding a shidduch or any number of issues that crop up at each stage of life. It’s just that with special needs children the challenges are more obvious much earlier on.”


Adds Zeisel, “I don’t feel like I’m facing a nissayon every minute.” Two of her eight children (her third and fourth) are special needs. Now ages 34 and 31, they work and attend shiurim and are independent, contributing members of society. One works at a home for the aged and the other learns in yeshiva and works at bookbinding.


An important message these stories transmit is that quality of life is not based on meeting some preconceived societal standard of perfection. Life can be full of joy even as it’s full of tests. “It’s important to have bitachon that Hashem is with you in everything,” says Zeisel. “We’re supposed to live the world that Hashem gave us.”


These 71 stories are about children who, along with their special needs, bring special gifts into this world: the unique lessons they teach us about what it means to lead a meaningful life in serving Hashem.


All Hashem’s Children is touching, moving, positive, upbeat and important for everyone to read because we are all facing challenges. The book also provides information about schools, organizations and programs that may be helpful to families with children with special needs.


   While we may long for a picture-perfect world, the real masterpiece is when we create a beautiful picture out of less than perfect lines.All Hashem’s Children is definitely a book that should be read by all Hashem’s children.

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