A Life Not With Standing: Reflections on Judaism and Disability
Members of the Jewish community know what it's like to be in the minority. Jews who happen to have disabilities know what it's like to be a minority within a minority. Drawing upon personal recollections as well as song lyrics, this lecture examines prejudices faced by people with disabilities. It also explores how we can transform our community into one of genuine inclusion.
Mommy, What's Wrong with That Lady?: An Interactive Workshop on Disability
We've all seen it happen: A child spots a person in a wheelchair, points a little finger and cries out, "Mommy, what's wrong with that lady?" We've all seen the standard parental reaction as well: a tug on the little one's hand, a quickening of footsteps, a reminder that it's not polite to point and, more often than not, complete avoidance of the question.
Chava Willig Levy certainly has seen it happen: she is that lady.
As a professional trainer who gets around in a motorized wheelchair, she shattered many stereotypes in the corporate world about people with disabilities. As a writer for national magazines she has been privileged to touch millions of readers with a refreshing outlook on living life with a disability. But some of her most delightful experiences have involved acquainting young people with her disability and, as a result, watching their instinctive withdrawal turn into wonderment.
"Mommy, What's Wrong With That Lady?" has delighted hundreds of young people, ranging in age from four to fourteen. Complete with music, Mommy, "What's Wrong With That Lady?" intrigues as it entertains, informs and transforms.
Chava Willig Levy is a New York-based lecturer, author, editor and advocate with a particular interest in childhood, parenthood, Judaism, disability and the quality of life.
Millions of people have read Chava’s articles, featured in national publications including Family Circle, Woman’s Day, McCall’s, Ladies’ Home Journal, Parents magazine, Jewish Action and Stagebill.
Her essays appear in several books, including Total Immersion, The Complete Guide to Employing Persons with Disabilities, Bigger than the Sky, American Business and the Public School and Bread and Fire.
As a person who gets around in a motorized wheelchair, Ms. Levy has shattered many stereotypes about people with disabilities in the workplace, in the community, in the classroom and on the college campus.
An internationally known motivational speaker famous for her humor, passion and compassion, Chava has captivated audiences ranging in size from 50 to 3,500. Her interactive workshop “Mommy, What’s Wrong with That Lady?” has delighted hundreds of young people. Sensitive to the ways in which prejudice touches the lives of many Americans, she champions causes distinct from disability awareness. Her acclaimed program about the legendary Paul Robeson is a case in point.
Ms. Levy received a B.A., summa cum laude, in French literature from Yeshiva University and an M.A. in counseling psychology from Columbia University. She pursued doctoral studies at New York University. Her positions at City University of New York, the U.S. Department of Labor and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, respectively, include vocational counselor, management trainer and communications consultant. She heads her own communications consulting firm, Lucidity Unlimited, with services ranging from writing brochures, résumés, speeches and marketing materials to editing books.
Chava lives in Woodmere, New York, with her husband and children.