Jewish Disability Awareness Month

February was Jewish Disability Awareness Month (JDAM)!

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

Read “Jewish Disability Awareness Month Shmita”, where JDAM Co-Founder Shelly Christensen reflects on the first six years of Jewish Disability Awareness Month, and looks to the future.  You can learn more about JDAM by clicking here.

Read “Reflecting on a Meaningful Jewish Disability Advocacy Day” from the RAC’s Jordan Dashow.  This great recap of Jewish Disability Advocacy Day (JDAD) highlights the incredible experience people had in Washington D.C. on February 25th.  Be sure to watch the RAC’s video recap of the Day’s events.  You can also read more about JDAD 2015 in “Jewish Disability Activists Lobby Congress” from the JTA.

Read “Finding Faith in a Community:  One Man’s Remarkable Journey” by .  This touching piece takes a look at the life of Jeff Plevan (z”l), who was fully embraced and included in the Jewish Community at Central Synagogue and beyond, despite the challenges his learning disabilities presented.

Read “Taking a Look at Disability Rights in Israel and Beyond” from the RAC’s Jonathan Edelman.  This important post discusses inclusion efforts in Israel, and the need for Congress to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Read “Moving Toward a Culture of Inclusion” by Lisa Friedman.  This blog post offers advice to professionals and lay leaders trying to spearhead inclusion efforts, and provides quotes on inclusion from important Jewish texts.  You can also view Lisa’s Teen Madrichim Training Session.

Read “Shaareinu:  The ‘Collateral Good’ Cannot Be Overstated” by Eva Rubin Steen of Temple Beth Torah in Nyack, New York.  The blog post discusses the congregation’s wonderful Shaareinu (Our Gateways) initiative, and how they transformed their congregation into one that excels in many areas of inclusion.  Temple Beth Torah is a Disabilities Inclusion Learning Center Exemplar CongregationClick here to apply to have your congregation recognized as an Exemplar Congregation, and be honored at URJ Biennial 2015.

This article from the JTA, “Camps Promote Inclusion, Job Skills with Burgeoning Vocational Programs”, discusses how Jewish Camping programs are helping young people with disabilities develop skills for employment and transitioning to adulthood.  The article features Howard Blas of the National Ramah Tikvah Network and URJ Camp Coleman.  Howard Blas is a Disabilities Inclusion Learning Center content contributor.

Read “Inclusion Starts with one Simple Question”, an important piece on fostering inclusion in our Jewish Communities, by Susan Glairon, Head of the Inclusion Committee at Congregation Har HaShem in Boulder, Colorado.

Read “Fulfilling the Promise of the ADA:  5 Things Congregations Can Do”, another blog post on the important topic of employment for people with disabilities, courtesy of the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition (IDAC).

Read “A Mardi Gras Match:  Touro Synagogue and the Krewe of VIPs” for the great story of how Touro Synagogue in New Orleans has made the congregation a place where children with disabilities, from across the community, can celebrate Mardi Gras together.

Read “An Invitation to Silence:  My Perspective as a Deaf Tour Guide” by Tali Zino-Elimelech, director of the An Invitation to Silence exhibit at the Israeli Children’s Museum in Holon.

Read “All of Our Voices, Singing a New Song” by Matan Koch.  The blog post draws a beautiful parallel between musical harmonies and the harmonies of our communities.  You can visit Matan’s blog by clicking here.

Read “Making Synagogue a Place to Run To, Not From,” a powerful blog post from Stephen Wise Free Synagogue member Dean Asofsky.  More information on SWFS’s Kulanu Program for students with Autism is available here.

Click here to read Cori Miller’s piece on creating a supportive and inclusive community at URJ Camp Harlam.

Finding employment is one of the biggest challenges that faces people with disabilities.  Click here to read Melanie Fineman’s blog post on ending economic inequality for people with disabilities.  Do you know of a North American for profit business with exemplary practices in hiring, training and supporting people with disabilities?  Click here to learn more about the new Ruderman Family Foundation and Jewish Week Media Group “Best in Business Award.”  You can nominate businesses via this Jewish Week site.

Jewish Disability Advocacy Day (JDAD) is taking place on February 25th in Washington, D.C.!  Click here to read Jordan Dashow’s blog post on JDAD, and click here to register for this important day.

Read Cantor Faryn Kates Rudnick’s “Heroes Come in All Shapes and Sizes” about recognizing and celebrating the heroes in our lives.

Read “Five Ways to be an Ally to People with Disabilities” from the RAC’s Jordan Dashow.

Read “The Faces of Tomorrow,” Jay Ruderman’s latest blog post on Inclusion.

Click here for Shelly Christensen’s video on JDAM 2015!

Click here for “10 Ways to Celebrate Jewish Disability Awareness Month in Your Synagogue.”  This list, compiled by Rabbi Edythe Held Mencher, contains suggestions to help congregations adopt further awareness and understanding of disabilities.

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