fbpx
Friday, April 3, 2020

Jordan O’Kelley: Creating Art for Special Needs

More Articles

A Moment in Time: If I am not for Myself, Who will be for Me?

Dear all, This entire week has been filled with one virtual conference after another. Conversations with our Board leadership, B’nai Mitzvah students, and staff. “Zoom”...

I’m a Rabbi and a Physician Assistant. This is Why I Want You to Stay Home.

“Stay home. Save lives.” These words blinked on the overhead electronic traffic sign as I sped down the highway. As a medical professional treating patients...

Shoah Foundation Head: Bigots Prey on Coronavirus to Incite Hate

As Americans adapt to the new normal of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, videoconferencing has become our lifeline. The likes of Zoom and FaceTime...

New Jersey Orthodox Town Accused of Spreading Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has spurred anti-Semitic chatter connected to Lakewood, a New Jersey township with a large Orthodox population, on social networks. New Jersey Gov....

Fourteen-year-old Jordan O’Kelley took a unique approach to his mitzvah project, roping in his twin 13-year-old sisters, Rachel and Macey, as well as his parents for additional support.

Jordan had his bar mitzvah in January through Vista Del Mar’s Nes Gadol program, together with four other special-needs teens. Nes Gadol is a b’nai mitzvah and confirmation program for children and teens of all abilities. Rabbi Jackie Redner leads the program and encourages her students to find meaningful projects.

Considered a “twice exceptional” or “2e” student, Jordan has autism and dysgraphia (difficulty or pain with handwriting). He was diagnosed when he was 5 years old. When he was 10, Jordan wrote a book called “O’Kelley Legendary Legends of Legend,” and for his mitzvah project, he adapted the book into monologues elementary and middle school students could perform. He also produced a play as a fundraiser for the organization
Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG).

Jordan’s sister Rachel was the assistant editor on the book, and Macey acted as personal assistant, doing whatever needed to be done (which included acting in the production) to create “O’Kelley Legends Monologues.” Jordan worked with casting and directing mentors to stage the play at the Actors Art Theater. He reached out to SENG to make the performance a fundraiser for his mitzvah project.

 “Being in Nes Gadol taught me compassion and understanding and to appreciate people for who they are, including myself.” — Jordan O’Kelley

“Being in Nes Gadol taught me compassion and understanding and to appreciate people for who they are, including myself,” Jordan said. “2e and gifted individuals perceive the world differently. These differences have value and need to be supported. That’s why I wanted to help SENG as part of my mitzvah project.”

“As Jordan’s parents, we feel beyond proud, extremely grateful and are constantly amazed,” his mother, Harri, said. “We feel compelled to follow Jordan’s lead, support his ideas and accelerate his education so that he can grow into his potential. He hopes his book will inspire other 2e students and their families to share their own journeys.”  

- Advertisement -

More articles

- Advertisement -

Latest News

‘Ask the Rabbi’ Online Class Zoombombed With Anti-Semitic Remarks, Nudity

A recent “Ask the Rabbi” online class for a private New York Orthodox girls’ high school was Zoombombed. CBS News reported on April 2 that...

Empire Kosher Closes Chicken Processing Plant for 2 Weeks After Employees Test Positive for the Coronavirus

(JTA) — Empire Kosher closed its processing plant in Pennsylvania after two employees tested positive for the coronavirus. But chickens are expected to be available...

Pakistan Court Overturns Conviction in Daniel Pearl Murder Case

An appeals court in Karachi, Pakistan, has overturned the murder conviction of the man sentenced to death for masterminding the kidnapping and beheading...

Swastikas Found on Maryland Synagogue

Swastikas and other slurs were found spray-painted on a Maryland synagogue on the morning of March 28. The Washington Jewish Week reported that the vandalism...

Adelson Says He Will Continue to Pay Employees During Shutdown and Urges Other Employers to Do So

Jewish philanthropist and GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson wrote in an April 1 New York Post op-ed that he will continue to pay all of...