A Jewish Reaction to an Autistic Child Being Denied First Communion

A few days ago, there was a news article about a little boy being denied the first communion at his Catholic church. It was because he is nonverbal and cannot understand right from wrong.  I am Jewish so, I am not well versed on what first communion is but I know it a rite of passage that children go through.

Just because someone is nonverbal, does not mean they do not understand. I was that nonverbal child until I was 5 years old. I understood more than my family gave me credit for.

The church back-peddled when they received a lot of backlash. It was not a misunderstanding, they got caught.

I am writing this to show that not all religious organizations are like that. The synagogue we belong to has been really accepting of my family.  I married a goy (non-Jew) and he is an accepted member of the congregation. He calls up the rabbi when he ha a real issue that he needs to talk about. My MIL who was a Catholic Italian was welcome there as well. None of my children are typical. I am going to outline each of my children prepping for their bar mitzvahs. I change the names or use initials to protect their identities because the bleach cult does not care who they hurt.

My oldest child was just Bat Mitzvahed a few months ago.

J is 13 and is my husband’s half-sister and non of her biological parents are Jewish. When it came time for her bat mitzvah, they did a conversion Mikvah (ceremonial bath) at the beach. He, the cantor and her husband who is also a rabbi came to perform it for her. They all know J from when she was 9. Thats the age we won custody. They wanted to make sure that it was done before the Bat Mitzvah so no questions would be asked. She has anxiety from her past in foster care and what her mother put her through. She also has ADHD. They went slow and were so good with her. She loves all of them.

Leading up to the Bat Mitzvah, the Rabbi and Cantor called my husband and me in for a meeting. This meeting was going over each child’s history and needs. They both wanted to make sure that they were accommodating each child appropriately. We were in the Rabbi’s office for over an hour.

The rabbi took notes on each child.

The questions on each child:
1. age
2. what disability/medical conditions
3. fears
4. how to best accommodate them
5. favorite things
6. favorite holiday

The cantor told me there was one boy who was bar mitzvahed and he didn’t even say a word during it. He did not have to read any Hebrew because he could not. That did not stop him from becoming a Bar Mitzvah.

Roo is my 11 year old son. He has ADHD and has very low self esteem. We try to raise it. We know how great he is. I tell him he is the miracle child all the time. (He was the first one where the fertility drug worked) The rabbi and cantor worked with him on his Maccabee award with boy scouts. They have him participate and make sure he is happy. They will be giving him extra time for his bar mitzvah to make sure he is comfortable.

Two of my sons are 6 months apart. They are both 9.  A is 6 months older than N. A is my husband’s half brother. They are going to be Bar Mitzvahed together. N has been telling me off since he was 20 months old and A does have some trouble with verbal communication. They are doing this so they can back each other up. A is my diabetic. They are keeping a frosting packet under the podium just in case of a low sugar event.  When we are at temple, the rabbi sometimes says the only beeping he wants to hear is from A. I love it.

Bug is 10. His bar mitzvah is in 2 years. He is very shy and has severe anxiety. They are starting to working with him early to make him comfortable. He started religious school in kindergarten because he went to preschool at the autistic school. The teachers go slow with him and let him go at his own pace.

D is 6. He has what is called environmental delay. This is being delayed due to surroundings or treatment. His biological mother was very negectful and this is the cause. He is my husband’s half brother. He was not speaking and toe walks. His toe walking was due to him being left in a pack and play and standing on his toes to peer over to see what was going on. He is very sweet and loves hugs. He is making great progress. He loves going to religious school. When he gets older, we will figure out what accommodations he needs for his bar mitzvah.

They really bend over backward for our family. They are constantly giving us Publix gift cards and we never ask for them. We are too proud for that. Besides scouts, they are the only people who really make us feel belonged. There are events that are paid and they offer us to go for free. They are really good to us.

When I hear of other places of worship being discriminating against people who are different, it really makes me sad because of how good our Synagogue is to us. If they can do it, they all can do it. We are all made in G-d’s image and everyone needs to be treated as such.

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