I am Judy Pearl and I am the Director of Special Needs Services for the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston. On Sunday, April 21, I took a group of 20 adults with varying abilities to Rubin’s Kosher Deli in Brookline.  

Among the eager diners were two individuals who use large electric wheelchairs for mobility. They are unable to speak so they used their loud, energetic voices to utter their joy at being able to enjoy a meal at a local restaurant. Everyone was very excited to order Rubin’s deli food. After a brief conversation on Kashruth, we were chatting and waiting for our lunch. The two individuals, although not able to fully contribute to our conversations, clearly made it known that they were looking forward to their meal in their unique way. I was concerned that the waiters or owner might ask me to quiet down the individuals who were making these loud noises. In truth, the exact opposite happened. The wait staff were unphased, smiling and very attentive. The owner, Allan Gellerman, will be at the top of my mensch list forever. As we were preparing to leave, Allan said to me “Feel free to call me anytime. You’re always welcome here.”

For the past 25 years as Director of Special Needs Services at the JCC, part of my job is to educate the community about disabilities, inclusion and how we’re all more similar than different. To my knowledge, Allan Gellerman has never attended any of my seminars. But he and his restaurant staff were more than inclusive and understanding of our group. For that, they have our utmost respect and our repeat business!

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