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16 October 2014
BBC NI - Eyewitness

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Dr Natham ben Chaim Kripz is a freelance broadcaster, writer and social commentator Image of Dr Natham ben Chaim Kripz

As a disabled person I have to encounter all the prejudices and discrimination of any disabled person - but as a Jew I encounter further prejudice within my own religion. Fortunately I am a member of a progressive shul, but within the Orthodox tradition there are all sorts of strict rules - such as, for example, no wheels on a Shabbat or Yom Tov, Sabbath and holy days, so no wheelchairs. To use crutches and walking sticks, you need a special dispensation from a rabbi. To go in the Bimah, to read from Torah, that is something I cannot do in the Orthodox tradition, because I am incomplete in that I have no legs. And if I have open sores, such as for example when my legs were amputated, and at a time when I needed spiritual succour, I was asked not to come along to the synagogue because of my condition. So this is something which causes obviously a great deal of hurt, and makes one wonder why on earth, in this day and age, these rules are still adhered to.

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