the power of faith
By Shana McNally
HAVING TWIN TODDLERS is a blessing—and a
challenge. Which is how the Klein family regards
most things: If it’s not very challenging, it’s probably
not going to end up being a blessing.
Rebecca and Stuart Klein met on a blind date in
2001 at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons Hotel and
found they had three things in common from the
get-go: they were ready to settle down, they were
Orthodox Jews—and they were in wheelchairs.
Stuart is quadriplegic and Rebecca is paraplegic.
Horsing around with friends while in college,
Stuart fell off a couch and was paralyzed from mid-chest down. He has some sensation in his arms and
wrists, but no motor movement in his legs.
Rebecca was paralyzed from the hips down by
polio as a 14-month-old. Her parents decided to
move the family from Jerusalem to New York, and
then finally settled in Los Angeles in search of better
“I thought there was not love at first sight, but
that there was a possibility,” recalls Stuart. “We
started out with something in common—she knew
where I was coming from. She’s very sweet and definitely worth a second date, I thought.”
Rebecca embraced their similarities, but did
have misgivings about their 15-year age difference:
He’s 43, she’s 29. Despite that, the two married in
2002 after six months of dating and a whirlwind six-week engagement.
“It was an adjustment, but a good one,” Rebecca
says. “I better appreciate what I am capable of, especially in comparison to his limitations.”
One year after they got married, the couple consulted with the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis on
how to deal with their spinal-cord injuries and how
to live a more comfortable and fulfilling life. (The
Miami Project is a research center that is dedicated
to finding more effective treatments and, ultimately,
a cure for paralysis.) The Kleins also sought help in
researching options for conception.
“Some people asked us if we were crazy to start
a family, but we had a goal and our faith, so we knew
that nothing would stand in our way,” Rebecca says.
PHOTOS COUR TES Y OF THE KLEIN FAMILY
Stuart and Rebecca Klein do not just cope
with their immobilizing injuries, they thrive
as the parents of twins Yaakov (left in
the inset) and Yosef.
Less than two years later, Rebecca gave
birth to twins. Yosef Netanel and Yaakov
Aryeh, who turned 2 in July, differ not
only in looks but also in personality.
“Having the kids is our biggest triumph,”
Stuart says. “Day to day we’re able to pull
Pulling it off is hectic, to say the least. Though
they employ a live-in nanny and a daytime aide for
Stuart, and Rebecca is a stay-at-home mom, apartment living in Los Angeles with twin toddlers and
two wheelchairs is tough.
Rebecca notes that their motorized wheelchairs
(they use non-mechanized ones on the Sabbath) are
like toys to the kids, who ride along themselves in a
double stroller with a specially equipped side handle.
Both boys are described by their parents as
happy and mellow kids who like to be read to and
included in everything. But Yaakov takes after his
mother, is very logical and likes to study things, while
Yosef takes after his father and is more of a daredevil.
Even though Stuart can’t get down on the floor
and play with the kids, he can smile, sing, interact
with them and even learn from them. “The whole
day is great,” says Stuart, who works from home as a
graphic designer, creating Judaic art on the computer, and as a tutor, teaching Jewish meditation.
“There are no guarantees what the next day will
bring, but if you’re smiling and connected spiritually, you either choose to do your best or your life
goes downhill,” Rebecca says, summing up their
Adds Stuart, “We have an acceptance that no
matter what happens it is for the best. There’s a reason things happen.” C
Shana McNally is a writer in Costco’s Marketing
Stuart and Rebecca Klein
Members since: 2000
To see a video of
the Kleins, go to
Comments about Costco:
The Kleins frequent Costco
for health and beauty aids,
food items and children’s
apparel, as well as indulgences such as potato chips