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Blind Congressional Candidate on the next Marlaina Program

April 13, 2008 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

"I'm a concerned citizen running for office, and I want to hear from you! We
in New Jersey's 5th Congressional district need to work together to bring
about real change and a return to common sense."

Now, those words may not seem much different from what we are hearing around
the United States these days during this year of fascinating politics. So,
why do I quote them? Because the person who speaks them is totally blind.

On the next Marlaina, meet Dr. Dennis Shulman, a psychologist and ordained
rabbi from New jersey who is running for a seat in the Congress of the
United States of America.

Dennis Shulman, renowned author, educator, and clinical psychologist, has
dedicated his life to serving all segments of the community.
Blind since childhood, he has overcome significant obstacles to earn an Ivy
League diploma and rise to the top of his profession – and become an
ordained rabbi.
Dr. Shulman is running for Congress in New Jersey's Fifth Congressional
District because he believes fundamental change is needed in Washington.
"I am running for Congress not as a career politician, but as a concerned
citizen,"
says Shulman. "I believe that Congress could use more candor and more people
with diverse life experiences. We keep sending career politicians to
Washington and what do we have to show for it? A big mess. It may very well
take a blind man to show Congress the light."
Dennis has spent his entire life confronting challenges – and surmounting
them. Growing up working class and losing his sight at a young age, some
predicted that Dennis would never graduate high school. During high school,
Dennis worked in a toy factory to help his family pay the bills. However,
neither he nor his parents accepted that anything would keep him from
achieving the American Dream, and Dennis' success in high school led to
acceptance to college.
He graduated from Brandeis in the class of 1972 Magna cum Laude and Phi Beta
Kappa.
That same year Dennis' volunteer activities on behalf of the developmentally
disabled earned him a Special White House Commendation for Outstanding
Humanitarian Service and The David Aranow Award for Outstanding Achievement
in Social Welfare.
Dennis next moved to Harvard University to begin work toward a Ph.D. in
Clinical Psychology and Public Practice. Just two years into the program
Dennis won a Training Fellowship from the National Institute for Mental
Health and married his college sweetheart, medical student Pam Tropper. He
also began what has become an extended series of teaching positions,
professional publications, postdoctoral studies and speaking engagements.
Graduating from Harvard, Dennis began his career as a clinical psychologist
and as an educator, including more than a decade at Fordham. In 1997, Dennis
founded the National Training Program in Contemporary Psychoanalysis at The
National Institute for the Psychotherapies, which he continues to serve.
In 2003, Dennis was ordained as a Rabbi. That same year he published his
book, The Genius of Genesis: A Psychoanalyst and Rabbi Examines the First
Book of the Bible.
In addition to continuing to treat patients in his psychological practice,
Dr. Shulman currently serves as the Associate Rabbi of Chavurah Beth Shalom,
a synagogue in Alpine.
Dr. Shulman has lived in New Jersey's Fifth Congressional District for more
than 25 years. He has been married to his wife, Pam, an obstetrician, for 33
years. They are proud parents of two adult daughters, Holly and Julie.

I have known Dennis since 1968, when we spent a summer together at the
Carroll Rehabilitation Center just outside Boston in a summer youth program.
some of you got to know Dennis through his speech at ACB's recent
legislative conference. On the next Marlaina, Dennis will spend time with
us, and will respond to your questions and comments. Believe me when I tell
you, Dennis is a vibrant, warm and caring person whose perspective on life
is like a breath of spring air.

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Marlaina

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