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What if anything do Orthodox communities do for profoundly-disabled 13-year-olds (bar mitzvah or similar)? has several close votes for "primarily opinion-based", but I don't understand why. The question asks what is done in Orthodox communities to solve a problem that is addressed in ways counter to halacha in liberal communities. A comment says:

I'm sorry, but I don't feel like this can be answered adequately on this site, because this entire thought really depends on the community, rabbi, and disabled boy involved, and could vary from congregation to congregation. – ezra

But isn't that true of lots of questions that we've accepted just fine? Questions about minhagim, about practices of different communities, about how to dress, about keeping kosher in a secular environment, most of the tag... all of these potentially vary by individual community, but the asker has no way to know that. We have room on our site for questions like these. What do I need to improve about this one for it to be acceptable to the community?

This shouldn't matter, but I'll tell you why I asked it. A dear friend's family has this situation. They belong to a Reform congregation and are having a heavily-modified bat-mitzvah celebration at a Shabbat service. I can see that inclusion, having an experience comparable to what the child's age cohort is having, is very important to the family. And I know that what they're doing would not fly were they part of an Orthodox congregation. As I find myself leaning heavily toward orthodoxy (I really don't belong in the Reform movement but...complicated), I wonder how I would answer the hypothetical question from this family: ok, how would your chosen community handle it?

I assumed the question is answerable because I see a lot of ahavat Yisrael and care for everyone in the community among my Orthodox friends. Sure I could go ask one of them, but we have a site for Jewish Q&A and I thought the question could benefit people other than me, so I asked it here. Was I wrong?

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  • Maybe the words 'if anything' removed from the wording of the question would iliminate the negative feeling of the question? I didn't vote to close. – gamliela Dec 20 '17 at 13:16
  • @gamliela thanks. I didn't realize that could come across negatively; I just assumed that "nothing, because it's about mitzvot not birthdays" was a possibility. I'll edit. – Monica Cellio Dec 20 '17 at 14:25
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    In general I think that all Stack Exchanges are too quick to close questions. I have never voted to close any question; I'm not sure I would even be allowed. Your question seems perfectly fine to me, except that I cannot imagine any answer to this particular question. It would seem obvious that all children must be accommodated with whatever set of talents they bring to bear, and the details would involve a lot of questions of taste and style, those of the child, the family and the community. – Chaim Dec 21 '17 at 18:37
  • I think that as a very general proposition, the major reason to close is that the stack exchange does not have much expertise relevant to the question. So maybe the participants in this stack exchange think that their studies and life stories give them valuable insights into your other, hypothetical examples (questions about minhagim, practices of different communities, how to dress, keeping kosher in a secular environment) but not into this one. – Chaim Dec 21 '17 at 18:41
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I personally +1'd the question, voted to keep open and feel it belongs here.

However I can see how some would see it differently though because there are myriads of individual situations of specific disabled children with different level of understanding and therefore ability to perform mitzvot. For having worked with disabled Jewish youth in the past, and having seen many in shul, I can say that no child is similar. So maybe some felt it was hard to answer the question in general.

I personally feel that, for a question of this type, it is perfectly fine to have multiple answers reporting different approaches. This is where the richness and diversity of the MY community could really shine.

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Had the question been "What is the Halacha in this situation?" it would make sense to consider the question Unclear, since there isn't a situation with clearly-defined parameters here, to apply Halacha to. However, the question wasn't that but "What do people do in these types of situations?" which is asking for experiences and observations on a more general basis. I agree with mbloch that the latter is indeed a valuable type of question for Mi Yodeya to handle.

It could be that some of the close-voters thought that the question was asking for Halachic analysis or (as some Yodeyans apparently do) that the only valid questions about practice on Mi Yodeya are those that seek Halachic analysis.

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I can possibly see this question being closed for "too broad", although, I think there is frequently overlap between "too broad" and "opinion". As mentioned by some of the other answerers, there are so many types of disabilities that, technically, what may be done differs on the problem. My answer to your question listed 3 different scenarios (well, actually two.) But the 3rd scenario links to an article that explains how so many shuls are already accommodating various disabilities that the "configuration" is technically limitless and up to the imagination as well as the willingness and ability to accommodate.

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  • Thank you, and thanks for your helpful answer. I did say profound cognitive disabilities; I wasn't trying to include every possible disability. But perhaps even that is too broad? – Monica Cellio Dec 20 '17 at 22:30

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