Editor's Note: Next week begins Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month--a time when the Jewish community puts extra focus on the inclusion of people with disabilities. At "The New Normal," we know that this is a 365-day effort and appreciate all of our readers and contributors giving attention to this issue. We are sharing this blog from contributor Lisa Friedman and will be featuring a series of blogs about disability and language through the month.
For those of you who have been following this event for a few years or more, you will note that the acronym has changed. Since 2009, Jewish Disability Awareness Month has taken place each February with the tagline “From Awareness to Inclusion”. In keeping with that trend, the various organizers of this annual event have added “I” for inclusion right into the title: Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month.
In honor of Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) I am launching the third annual JDAIMblogs. It is an opportunity for us to collectively shed light on the wonderfully inclusive things that are happening in our Jewish world.
Here’s how to join JDAIMblogs: Tag each blog post you write with JDAIMblogs. Use the hashtag #JDAIMblogs on Twitter and Facebook. Tweet me (@JewishSpecialEd) and tag me (Lisa Goldblatt Friedman) on Facebook so that I can help to promote as many of these posts as possible. Come back to this blog on February 1 where I will include a place to link various other blogs and articles. This will allow readers to find one another’s posts, spread the word about their own and generally serve as an online gathering space for the JDAIM blogging efforts. Feel free to come back often and link each of your #JDAIMblogs posts.
But really, there are no rules. Use the prompts in the image above, or simply write about Jewish disability inclusion in any way you choose. You can blog daily, if you want; but you can also draw, share photos or even a make a video. You don’t have to be an inclusion expert or a Jewish professional to contribute. In fact, I hope that parents, loved ones and self-advocates will participate. You don’t even have to be Jewish! EVERY voice matters. Isn’t that the point of inclusion, after all? All you really need is a desire to contribute in some way. Blog once or blog every day. Tweet. Share a Facebook status. Share your voice.
Lisa Friedman is widely recognized in the field of Jewish Special Education. She is currently an Education Director at Temple Beth-El in Central New Jersey, where she has developed and oversees an inclusive synagogue school. She is also the Manager of Social Media and Alumni Networks for Matan. Lisa consults with Jewish organizations to guide them in the development of inclusive practices for staff, clergy, and families through dialogue, interactive workshops and awareness training. Lisa is a sought after speaker on a wide variety of topics for professionals, lay leaders, teachers, parents and teens and blogs about disabilities and inclusion at Removing the Stumbling Block. You can follow Lisa on Twitter @JewishSpecialEd.