JDAIM 2017

February Was Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM)!

Read all of the wonderful blog posts and articles from the URJ and Disabilities Inclusion Learning Center contributors.

View this list of resources from JDAIM co-founder Shelly Christensen, designed to enable communities to get the most out of the month.

Aaron Kaufman, Senior Legislative Associate at the Jewish Federations of North America wrote, “Using My Experience to Advocate for All with Disabilities” about his work as a disabilities self-advocate.

“Hineini: Making Your Workplace More Inclusive Starts with You” by Dana Marlowe discusses making the workplace more inclusive.

“How to Help Kids Make Sense of Similarities and Differences in Their World”, is an important piece by early childhood educator Sarah Koffler, on ways to teach our children about difference.

Amy Kagan, Inclusion Coordinator at URJ Kutz Camp, wrote “Learning Differently Leads to Different Outcomes”, about the addition of two alumni of the excellent Gibush Teen Inclusion Program, to the Gibush staff leadership team, and the impact it had on the staff and the summer.

“How the Boston Area is Better Serving All Students with Disabilities”, by Dr. Ruth Nemzoff, discusses the great inclusion work being done in the Boston Jewish Community, and the importance of volunteers.

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Executive Director of the RAC, wrote, “Toward Full Inclusion of People with Disabilities in Jewish Life” about Jewish Disability Advocacy Day, and ways that we can lobby Congress on behalf of people with disabilities.

“Why Self-Advocacy is Vital to the Pursuit of Disability Rights” by disabilities self-advocate Joseph D. Robbins, tells his personal story, while discussing the importance of having both allies and disabilities self-advocates, in the quest for inclusion.

This excellent list compiled by Jane Herman contains 10 inclusion resources published by the URJ during JDAIM.

This Dvar Torah on Parshat Yitro from Rabbi Ana Bonnheim discusses how everybody at Sinai received the Torah, regardless of ability, and touches on Universal Inclusion, as taught by Matan Koch.

This interesting and informative book review discusses L’Chaim:  Pictures to Evoke Memories of a Jewish Life, the first Jewish cookbook created explicitly for adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

“Crying with My Baby:  Opening Up about Post-Partum Depression” is an important, moving piece by Rabbi Sandra Cohen about her struggles with postpartum depression, and the ways in which our communities can do more for new mothers battling postpartum depression, and everybody dealing with mental illness.

Looking ahead to Purim, “5 Lessons from Camp for an Accessible, Inclusive Purim Carnival” by URJ Camp Harlam Inclusion Coordinator Lori Zlotoff, is a fun, and excellent guide for how we can use the camp example to make our congregational Purim Carnivals accessible and fun for all!

Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation, wrote, “We’re Missing the Boat on Jewish Continuity,” issuing the important challenge to all Jewish Communities to transform into beacons of inclusion.

“What the Americans with Disabilities Act Means to Me,” an excellent piece from disabilities self-advocate and URJ employee Alex Gilbert, tells her story and shows the importance of the ADA to her and so many others with disabilities.  Religious Action Center (RAC) Legislative Assistant Nathan Bennett wrote an equally important piece, “Protecting the Americans with Disabilities Act” explaining the legislation aimed at breaking down the rights currently provided by the ADA, and what we can do to fight the legislation.

Allyson Perling, of Mount Zion Temple in Minneapolis, Minnesota wrote, “How My Daughter Persevered on Her Bat Mitzvah Day.”  This piece tells the story of her daughter Netta’s journey to becoming a Bat Mitzvah, and what occurred on the actual Bat Mitzvah Day.

Educator Lisa Friedman, from Temple Beth-El in Hillsborough, New Jersey, wrote, “What People with Disabilities (and Their Families) Wish Their Rabbis Knew” for JDAIM.  The piece is important for clergy, and all members of the congregation.

In honor of JDAIM 2017, Neil Jacobson, of Temple Sinai in Oakland, California, wrote this important piece on Beshalach, the weekly Torah portion for Saturday, February 11th.  The RAC published the piece as a blog post here.

This moving piece from high school student and disabilities self-advocate, Noah Schramm, discusses his time as a CIT at URJ Camp Harlam, and the work he does on a daily basis to help people see his true self.

Jordan Dashow’s informative blog post, “Five Ways to Be an Ally to People with Disabilities,” is a guide for standing side-by-side with people with disabilities, while remembering the important mantra of the disabilities self-advocacy community:  “Nothing about us, without us.”

This great blog post from from Religious Action Center (RAC) Legislative Assistant Nathan Bennett discusses the importance of Jewish Disability Advocacy Day (JDAD) 2017, and advocating alongside people with disabilities.