My Bubie believes that people can speak to us in our dreams. She says that there have been many times when her Bubie and Zada came to her in dreams to help her to calm down when she was worried about something. One time, her great Zada even came to her in a dream and spoke Yiddish to her and she understood and spoke Yiddish back to him! Also, one time, a girl who could not speak at all, whom my Bubie was helping to do a Bat Mitzvah, came to her in a dream and spoke to her. No one has spoken to me in my dreams, yet, but here is a story about children with disabilities who came and spoke to children while they were asleep and dreaming.
“Let’s go someplace fun today, it’s Rosh Chodesh (the first day of the month)”, demanded Usher Anshel Dovid. “Yes Bubie,” agreed his sisters, Sura, Basya Chaya, Sima and Miriam. “We want to do something fun!”
“Ok, ok”, said Bubie and Zada. “Maybe today we can go to a special playground, one that is found in a special place that you have never been before”. “Does it have rides, and cars and slides?” the children asked, each one imagining the activity that they wanted to do.
“Well, to tell you the truth, we have never been to this playground but we heard from friends that it is a fun place, so let’s try it!", said Zada.
All of the children piled into two cars, with car seats, seat belts, snacks and water. Riding in Bubie’s and Zada’s car was really an adventure, especially with Zada because he drives faster than Bubie!
When they arrived to the place called the Shalva Center they parked the cars and walked up the sidewalk to where they could see the playground. Outside the building were car seats lined up on the sidewalk. They were all different colors and sizes and the grandchildren wondered why they were all sitting on the sidewalk outside of the building?
From the sidewalk you could look into a big room which had windows looking out to the street. This means that you could look into the room and the people in the room could look out. There were many, many children playing and then, all of the grandchildren stopped to look more carefully. All of the children in the room had Downs’ syndrome. At least that is how they all looked. In their community Usher Anshel Dovid, Sura, Basya Chaya, Sima and Miriam had seen children who have Down’s syndrome but never so many children in one place at one time.
Shalva is a place where children and adults who have disabilities can come to learn and play. There are classes, swimming pools, gyms, music lessons and more. “Shalva is a very special place that encourages all people with disabilities to be the best that they can be and learn all that they can learn.”, said Bubie.
“What does it mean to have a disability?” Sima asked.
“We all have disabilities”, said Bubie. “It means that there are things that are hard for us to do that for many other people are easy. For example, I have one leg shorter than the other and I often walk with crutches. This is a disability; it is harder for me to walk than most other people.”
“Can you think of a disability that you have?” Bubie asked us. “I have trouble reading”, said Usher Anshel Dovid, “but with my Reading Rebbe’s help I am getting better!” “I also have trouble reading”, said Basya Chaya. Sura couldn’t think of a disability that she had but she was sure that there must be something. She just hadn’t discovered it yet.
“Some disabilities we can overcome”, said Bubie, “but some we are born with and we must learn to live with them the best that we can. Everyone needs help in life and sometimes people with very challenging disabilities need a lot of help from family and friends. Hashem created all kinds of people in this world. Every person, in addition to having challenges, also has gifts that Hashem gave to them to share with others and to make the world a better place for all of us. Let’s go play”, said Bubie.
Usher Anshel Dovid told Bubie that he had once seen someone in the store near their house walking with a stick in front of her. “She is blind”, explained Bubie. “The stick helps her to not bump into things in front of her. A blind person can learn to go places by counting the steps it takes to get from one place to the other. Sometimes they need help the first few times they go, but most of us need help the first few times we go someplace so that we won’t get lost.”
That night, after the children went to sleep, they all started to dream. Each of them had a similar dream. One of the children whom they had seen on the playground at Shalva came to them in their dreams.
Usher Anshel Dovid was on the slide and one of the children from Shalva approached him and said, “I want to play with you”. Usher Anshel Dovid didn’t know what to say. He remembered that earlier in the day he had seen this boy and he couldn’t understand anything he was saying, but now in his dream he was talking to him! “What do you want to play?” asked Usher Anshel Dovid. “I want to play ball and I want to run with you in a race and even try to beat you in the race!’ “Ok, let’s go!” said Usher and off they ran.
At the same time Usher was having his dream, Sura and Basya Chaya were also dreaming. Two little girls, whom they had seen on the playground that day with teenage helpers, walked up to them and said, “It is so hard for us when you stare at us. We know that we look a little different than many children but we also have feelings. We want to learn and play and have fun and not have people look at us or run away from us. We don’t have something that you can catch; we were born like this. We also have some very good things about us, if you will take the time to get to know us.” Sura and Basya Chaya felt very badly that they had been staring at these girls. They apologized and asked them if they wanted to play on the bars together and they offered them some of their snacks and drinks.
That night even little Sima and Miriam had dreams about the children whom they had seen at Shalva. They dreamed that they were in the room with all of the children playing, laughing, climbing and jumping. “This is so fun to be together with you”, said one of the little girls with Down’s syndrome. Usually, no one who isn’t in our class wants to come to play with us. We hope that when we grow up we will go to school with you, we will learn together and we will continue to play together and become good friends!”
The next morning the children all called Bubie on the phone to tell her that they had dreams and in their dreams, the children whom they had seen at Shalva, who couldn’t speak with them, were talking to them and expressing their feelings! “How can this be?” they all wondered.
“Hashem has a plan”, said Bubie. “He makes all of us different. Those children could talk to you in a dream because maybe their disability makes it difficult to talk to you when you are awake. Maybe when you are awake you are afraid to talk to them or you might not take the time to listen to them.”
Usher Anshel Dovid said that he told his new friend that he loved music and his friend said that he hoped someday to be in a band. He also loved music. “Have you heard about the Shalva band?” he asked Usher Anshel Dovid. “I never heard of the Shalva band, but he told me that they are musicians who all have difficult challenges but they all love music and they performed in the Eurovision contest and also for lots of other events.”
“Maybe”, Basya Chaya said, “we are put in the world to help each other and to make it easier for each other. Hashem gives us challenges, but together we can learn to face them with love and respect and hard work!”
If you want to learn more about the Shalva Center you can click on this link-
If you want to hear the amazing Shalva band singing at the Eurovision contest click on this link- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhRewe-uEIw&list=RDEhRewe-uEIw&start_radio=1&t=302