Does inclusion come at the cost of limiting ourselves for the sake of accommodating the needs of only a few individuals? Pamela Schuller challenges this assumption by presenting a new framework for inclusion as... the beginning of a humorous and holy improvisational process—a process innate to our very tradition. Reflecting on her experiences growing up with Tourette’s Syndrome, Schuller examines the pitfalls and successes she's encountered in the Jewish community's attempts at inclusion, while also outlining what the future of inclusion could look like for the Jewish community. See lessSee more
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(JTA) - I have Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary movements and noises called "tics." My Tourette's is relatively mild at this point, but I went through a turbulent adolescence when Tourette's was the most defining thing about me. Between the constant movements and the loud, uncontrollable noises, it was incredibly disruptive.
"He was like my best friend and my soul mate," he said. "We did everything together. We spoke about Diet Coke. He gave me strength." His father wore a suit and a tie to work every day, Mr. Levy remembered, and for the b'nai mitzvah he will wear his father's wedding tie.
Long before Amy Poehler became famous for her comic roles as Hillary Clinton on "Saturday Night Live," and as indefatigable bureaucrat Leslie Knope on "Parks and Recreation," she was a college freshman looking for something to do outside class. During her first week on campus, she auditioned for the school's improvisational theater group, "My Mother's Fleabag," and discovered a passion.
Inclusion Specialist, Comedian, and the Regional Director of Youth Engagement | URJ
Pamela Schuller is a nationally known inclusion advocate. Her extraordinary personal story of growing up with the most severe case of Tourette Syndrome in the country, and turning that challenge into professional and personal success, is engaging, funny, a little bit heartwrenching, and deeply meaningful. Schuller works as Regional Director of Youth Engagement for the Union for Reform Judaism, and is also a stand-up comedian and founder of www.StandUpInclusion.com. She holds a BA in Psychology and Youth Outreach Through the Arts from Knox College, and an MA in Child Advocacy and Policy from Montclair State University, where she focused her studies on creating improvisational theater programs as a tool for youth with disabilities to improve self-advocacy skills.