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Shachar And Kuti: A Book About Love And Acceptance
The New NormalBlogging Disability

Shachar And Kuti: A Book About Love And Acceptance

For her 10th birthday, Shachar Edry wrote a powerful book about learning to accept her own difficult birthmark.

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer directs Jewish Learning Venture’s Whole Community Inclusion which fosters inclusion of people with disabilities through the Philadelphia Jewish community. She loves writing/editing for “The New Normal” and for WHYY’s newsworks. Her latest book The Little Gate Crasher is a memoir of her Great-Uncle Mace Bugen, a self-made millionaire and celebrity selfie-artist who was 43 inches tall and was chosen for this year’s Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month Book Selections. She’s recently shared an ELI Talk on Standing With Families Raising Kids With Disabilities and has released a journal designed for special needs parents.

Shachar and Kuti. Courtesy of Harry Karten
Shachar and Kuti. Courtesy of Harry Karten

Shachar is having her 10th birthday, but she’s not celebrating alone.

Kuti is celebrating with her — one of many beauty marks decorating Shachar’s whole body.
The problem with Kuti is that she’s located inside Shachar’s head, which causes all kinds of problems.
“Sometimes, I want to ask her why she chose me, or what brought her to me, but I know that’s not important… because she did choose me, and she’s with me now.”
That’s why Shachar wrote this book — a book about love and acceptance, for yourself and also for those who are different.
–From the back cover of Shachar and Kuti. 

During Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month, Jewish educators and advocates around the world are focusing attention on helping children–and adults–learn to understand and accept the differences that are part of the human condition.


Now a new book Shachar and Kuti written by 10-year-old Shachar Edry tells a powerful story about love and acceptance, for yourself and also for those who are different from you.

The book teaches about acceptance and understanding through Shachar’s true story.  Shacher was born with one giant nevi and many other smalls nevis, which are referred to as satellites, which appear as beauty marks along her hands and legs.

Shachar was born to a religious family, next to her grandparents, who live in a strong community, in a village next to Jerusalem. Her uncle Harry Karten explains, “Grandpa, who is the Rabbi of the village, was a great role model. He spread that with a deep belief in Hashem, full hope and prayers, one can overcome anything. The community instilled in Shachar the strength she needed to overcome her physical difference, with love, hope and happiness. Shachar loves herself and taught her group of friends to accept her and love her. She had to overcome the obstacles and the doctors removed the giant nevi from her body. They left the one nevi located in her brain. Shachar, at her early age, learned to live with the headaches and in her book she mystically describes how. She gave the nevi in her head, the name, ‘my friend Kuti’, who never left her.”

The book ends happily on her 10th birthday, when it was discovered that Kuti had shrunk and would no longer would bother her with headaches.

Shachar’s book is a wonderful way to teach children about the Jewish values of inclusion during JDAIM–and all through the year.

The book is available here and will soon be distributed through PJ Library in Israel.

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer edits The New Normal: Blogging Disability. She directs Jewish Learning Venture’s Whole Community Inclusion, where she works with synagogues and schools across the Philadelphia Jewish community.

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