Regarding Rabbi Shammai Engelmayer’s Aug. 7 and 21 comments on the “three-dayers,” he is certainly correct in noting that many of them are bored stiff and uncomfortable at the service and can’t wait to leave. Why not give them something constructive to do? Even if one is not an observant Jew, one can agree that Jews need to have a secure place to worship. That is why I volunteered to be on my temple’s security team for the High Holidays. My fellow congregants with spiritual needs, who really want to be in temple praying, can do so knowing that fellow Jews are watching out for them. Meanwhile I am doing something concretely positive for the community, so everybody wins. Perhaps the best way for congregations to involve the three-dayers is to ask them to be ushers for an hour or two, help prepare the breakfast, help cover the security detail for an hour, etc. For someone who is not spiritually inclined or learned in Hebrew, this may be a more meaningful way of observing the holidays.
Regarding the reluctance of many private Jewish day schools to accommodate children with special needs, we should remember that some of our greatest leaders had disabilities, including Moses, with his speech impediment, and Akiba, with his not learning how to read until he was in his 40s.