Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Reader’s Response to: Hurting for my brother and niece
(Chronicles, February 3, 2023)



Dear Rachel,

Thank you for your heartfelt response to the families/friends who have children with special needs. As the mother of a daughter with Down syndrome, I so appreciate your support to those who have not yet fully realized the gift that Hashem has given to them.

I appreciate and affirm your two recommendations of and the outstanding book by Ahava Ehrenpreis, More Than Special. I would add to that list a subscription to the magnificent magazine “Down Syndrome Amongst Us” by Sarah Sender. You can read awe-inspiring stories and see pictures of these beautiful children.

I do have two points on which I would like to comment:

  1. You write of Down syndrome children. The proper (politically correct?) terminology is a child with Down syndrome. The point is that Down syndrome is one aspect of this child’s being, whereas a Down syndrome child describes the child by the diagnosis.

As an aside, I learned this from one of my editors at The Jewish Press who corrected one of my articles in “Building Blocks” a few years ago.

  1. The letter writer and your response make reference to the child as being “high functioning.” Whether a child is high functioning or not is difficult to assess, and aside from designating therapies, I am not sure of the relevance in adding that description. I consider my 27-year-old daughter as being very high functioning: she can sit in shul the entire service without making a peep, following every page, every tefillah. She frequently flies on a plane by herself (with gate passes). She remembers every Yachad counselor she ever met since childhood. She learns parsha twice weekly through Partners in Torah’s Lev L’Lev. Yet, she can’t cross a busy street by herself, and she can’t count money. Her neshama exudes such kedusha that descriptions such as “low functioning” would be an unfair prejudice for appreciating who she is or what her capabilities are.

Thank you again for your support and appreciation of our very special children.

Judy Waldman


Dear Judy,

You have humbled me to the core. Your touching portrayal of your extraordinarily gifted daughter evokes a vision in my mind… of an angel sent down by our heavenly Father Above to inject untainted goodness into our world’s contaminated atmosphere.

May the innocence of these pure neshamos awaken rachmei shomayim on behalf of all suffering souls and hasten the geulah shelaima. Thank you for taking the time to educate us in such a refined and beautiful way.


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