‘No-shush’ Shabbat to cater to special needs

Families with special needs children of any age (infant to adult) are invited to a “no-shush” Shabbat service and potluck lunch hosted by Congregation Or Cha­dash on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 10 a.m. The event is organized by the Jewish Special Needs Moms group.

The Dec. 12 gathering “is for families with similar needs and interests to get to know one another and offer support and friendship,” with a service designed to be welcoming and accommodating to all guests, says Joyce Stuehringer, who started the support group three years ago. Attendance at the service is not required and families may join in just for the luncheon. Chanukah art activities will be available.

The support group, which meets monthly, currently includes about 20 mothers and grandmothers of children and grandchildren living with a variety of special needs and challenges. It is facilitated by Carol Hollander, a family and marital therapist.

“Regardless of the specifics of our child’s disability or challenge, we have found that we share similar concerns for our children, their future and the issues we face as parents of a special needs child,” says Stuehringer.

According to one group member, “having a special needs child can be so isolating, lonely and stressful for the parents.” The group, she says, is “a godsend and a joy. It has been a life-saver. I only wish that I had found it earlier.”

For more information or to RSVP, contact Annette at 818-8843 or ahillman1601@gmail.com. Food for the potluck should be dairy. Families with special dietary needs can bring their own food. Please indicate if your child would like to participate in the service — there will be jobs for all abilities.