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PRAYING WITH LIOR is not just a documentary film for diverse audiences. It's also the centerpiece of an ambitious outreach campaign to change the way people with disabilities are perceived and received by faith communities.

According to the National Organization on Disability, over 54 million Americans are disabled. Less than half of our houses of worship are handicapped accessible. This number alone speaks to the abandonment of the disabled in faith communities.

In a society that literally "worships" perfection and same-ness, individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities are dismissed and discriminated against everywhere. In the place where they should receive the most welcome and derive the most comfort -- their faith communities -- parents of children with special needs often hear "your child shouldn't be here."

Describing Lior's Bar Mitzvah, an editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer stated, "pre-conceived notions joyously explode."

Our goal for this film and outreach campaign is to create a sea change in the way we as a society value each individual. Lior's story presents a dramatic opportunity to demonstrate the contribution that every individual can make, no matter how "special." While society may view inclusion as the right or nice thing to do, Lior's example shows us that his presence actually enhances everyone else's religious experience. Lior's Bar Mitzvah is wonderful for him, but really, as one synagogue member says, "it's for us."

Each person, and each community, deserve the opportunity to spiritually connect, grow, and shine to the highest rung of their potential. We believe that this is most possible when our communities are truly whole, that is, open to everyone.

Almost nothing in our current culture has the power of film. In this climate, a film with humor, pathos, mysticism, and love about the impact of one youngster's spirituality, combined with a powerful outreach strategy can provide the impetus for enormous strides in understanding and systemic change.

Write to us or schedule a screening: prayingwithlior@hotmail.comSpeak to us: 212.791.1567