Jewish Disability and Awareness Month just finished- and what a month! Programs across North America, new initiatives announced, many many posts and articles and on Twitter…over 1,000 mentions of the #JDAM14 hashtag!
Below is a list of fifteen blog posts we selected that discuss inclusion from numerous angles. They are not listed in any specific order. Please read them and spread them around. One op-ed we would encourage you to read was Jay Ruderman’s message on the URJ blog: Disability issues are issues of social justice.
Thank you to everyone who participated in JDAM and who continues to work towards a fully inclusive Jewish community!
My Name is Emily and I Love to be Me
Wonderful post by 12 year old Emily Afshany on the Jewish Federation of Greater LA’s blog. Emily discusses her learning disability and how Friendship Circle and summer camp has helped create friendships for a lifetime.
Recognizing Invisible Disabilities
On Lisa Friedman’s blog: “Not every disability is visible. If you truly believe that your congregation doesn’t have a single member with a disability, I would venture to guess that an unwillingness to consider inclusive practices keeps those members with disabilities away. Our attitudes continue to be the greatest barrier to inclusive communities.”
Revealing What Others Want to Hide Away
Rabbi Paul Kipnes looks at the Torah’s portrayal of who can and who cannot perform the priestly duties in the Temple- and how to reconcile the fact that those with disabilities were disqualified.
The Holy Privilege of Resting on Shabbat
From the URJ blog: “Rest is a holy privilege, but one cannot rest if one does not have meaningful work to precede it. When people with and without disabilities are given the opportunity to work all week creating, producing, and providing, then we all can truly rest.”
After Raising a Son with Severe Autism, I have Redefined “Normal”
Elaine Hall, writing on Kveller, discusses how she has redefined the word “normal” now that she raised a child with severe autism.
A Different Look at Noah’s Ark
A different look at the classic tale of Noah and the ark to open the conversation about who is inside and who remains outside our Jewish institutions. Jews with disabilities still sit with their backs to our doors, unable to enter and engage. It is our responsibility to make sure that OUR houses of prayer ARE houses of prayer for ALL people.
Inclusion Comes from the Top- and the Bottom and Middle
Howard Blas, writing in eJewish Philanthropy, discusses a recent Tikvah Ramah trip to Israel for young adults with disabilities- and how meaningful the trip was for everyone involved.
My Child with Autism is Going to Jewish Day School (and it’s working!)
On Kveller, a parent looks back over the last year and is thrilled to note that her child with autism is able to attend a Jewish day school.
Growing Up with Parents with Disabilities
Wonderful post on the URJ blog about growing up in the 50’s and 60’s with parents who had a disability.
Is Accessibility of Public Spaces so Impossible?
Beth Steinberg of Camp Shutaf discusses Jerusalem’s lack of accessibility and wonders why public accessibility is so difficult to implement.
Rethinking Disability Simulations
Herein lies the problem with disability simulation. It may make a person more aware of another person’s experiences, but it doesn’t dig deep to the root of discrimination against people with minority identities. Instead, it’s more likely to evoke empathy or pity than true acceptance.