The “new normal” became a bit of a buzzword about five years ago, after the 2008 financial crisis. It was a way to describe the change in our economy, and seems to imply reassuringly that the chaos and upheaval were subsiding and would go away altogether.
But if you think about it, the combination of these two simple words is a paradox. Because if 2008 could happen, who’s to say something similar in magnitude — but equally shocking in substance — won’t happen again next year or 2022, or 2035, creating an entirely different and even newer new normal? “New” plus “normal” means that there’s really no such thing.
That’s why The Jewish Week has chosen “The New Normal” as the name of our latest blog, which will feature new content several times a week on our website. It will focus on issues of disability and strive to serve those that care about them while increasing broader awareness. Our mission: to strengthen our community by helping to open it up, because if nobody is normal, then everybody is. That’s a subversive notion for some, but a liberating one for many more. And if we can all act in that spirit, people who have needs — from a wheelchair-accessible bima to a job to a friend — will find them fulfilled, and we will all be the richer for it.
The blog will be a source of news and fresh ideas, a forum for debate and especially a place to share our stories, to give a voice to those who feel silenced, and to really hear them. We’ve worked hard to gather a diverse roster of contributors and advisers, and if you’d like to be a part of our work, or have suggestions about how we can make ourselves more accessible, we’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, please give “The New Normal” a read.