Over the last twelve months, our 85 blog posts have covered numerous issues related to the inclusion of people with disabilities into the Jewish community and society. We have heard from parents, educators, community leaders, self-advocates, experts, siblings and more. As midnight approaches and 2015 starts, we thought we would give our readers a taste of what was posted over the last year.
This is not a “Best of 2014″ list. Rather, below are posts you may have missed the first time around or we recommend you re-read. Enjoy!
Accessibility: Technology’s Answer To The Golden Rule (Dana Marlowe)
The Golden Rule teaches us to humbly consider the experiences of our neighbor. This value is applicable to technology innovation. Instead of trying to please lofty users with dazzling features, perhaps technology should think bigger picture, but closer to home. People with disabilities are the fastest growing demographic on the planet and one that anyone can join at any time in their life.
We need to change the attitude we develop as children. We learn we are not to look at people with disabilities, not to ask questions, not to talk to them. This creates a culture of separation and fear. There is “us” and there is “them.” “Them”, of course, would be people who have disabilities. In an inclusive world it is all of us, together, benefiting from each other’s company. In an inclusive world we appreciate people for who they are, not whether they can walk or see or hear or join Mensa.
Affording Inclusion (Lisa Friedman)
The question we should ask is, “How can we NOT afford inclusion?” Given all the research, all the discussions, all the evidence; how can any Jewish institution afford to turn away a single person who wants to belong?
Timeless Lessons (Sam Gelfand)
All students, regardless of having disabilities, should be able to connect with a teacher like I have at least once. To someone with disabilities, such as myself, our student-teacher relationship is invaluable. Mr. Sal has taught me history for the past three years, but he taught me something you can’t put in a lesson plan: to be accepting of others and not to judge a book by its cover (especially when it’s reading one in the middle of your class).
Revealing What Others Want To Hide Away (Rabbi Paul Kipnes)
God accepts everyone, including and especially people with physical (or emotional) differences, as part of am kadosh, the holy people. It takes an open mind and a loving heart to see through the righteous indignation to find inclusion at the heart of our community.
To Disclose Or Not To Disclose A Disability (Benjamin A. Winnick)
This is the first post in a blog series entitled “Issues I face as a working adult with a disability”
Follow The Money (Allison Wohl)
The laws and attitudes that both support and trap citizens with disabilities were created for generations and expectations that have proven to be outdated. The civil rights of other minority groups have been championed and extolled. Systemic and societal discrimination against Americans with disabilities is still accepted and acceptable in this country. It is time to modernize our systems and fold the nearly 4.6 million citizens in this country who live with intellectual and developmental disabilities into our communities, our workplaces, our classrooms and our economy.
The Trials And Tribulations Of Raising A Taxpayer (Andrea Gruber)
My son, like so many of his peers, is capable of much more than sweeping a floor, folding laundry, clearing a table, or watering plants. My son is bright, disciplined, hardworking, driven to succeed, and congenial, and one day he WILL be a taxpayer.
Is Accessibility Of Public Spaces So Impossible? (Beth Steinberg)
So next time you think to yourself, “We don’t have any people with disabilities in our neighborhood,” consider the possibility that they’re shut into their houses because they’re simply unable to maneuver local streets and byways safely. I say it’s time for a change.
Will You Love My Son? (Rabbi Ilana Garber)
I feel (mostly) confident that my son is being raised in an environment where he will know he is loved and respected and included. I hope I can say the same for your children. And I hope when your children come to visit me, they will feel welcomed and loved. And I hope, when you meet him, that you will love my son.
And finally, in January, our foundation introduced our new logo. Our President, Jay Ruderman, explains what’s behind the new design.