The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) today announced the launch of a Disabilities Inclusion and Advocacy concentration, beginning in the fall of 2018 at the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education.  In addition to the training offered in the master’s in Jewish Education program, students in the Disabilities Inclusion and Advocacy concentration will also develop the educational, organizational, and curricular competencies needed to create inclusive learning communities.

The two-year, in-depth, concentration will include general coursework at JTS and Columbia University Teachers College in education, curriculum, and Judaics, as well as specialty classes exploring diversity and inclusion for learners with disabilities. In addition, students will participate in co-curricular activities and a yearlong field practicum that provides hands-on experience and mentoring.

“This new concentration is an effort to cultivate a cadre of future Jewish leaders who are prepared to meet a wide range of learners and educational needs,” said Dr. Abigail Uhrman, JTS faculty member and co-coordinator of the concentration with Dr. Jeffrey Kress. “Arguably the most important component of this training is increased awareness of and sensitivity towards individuals with disabilities and their families. Graduates of this program will be equipped with the skills, competencies, and mindset needed to create greater educational opportunities for a diversity of learners that are open, welcoming, and inclusive.”

“At JTS, we are committed to having the field of Jewish education provide meaningful, life-relevant Jewish learning for all Jews regardless of our differences,” said Dr. Bill Robinson, dean of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education. “We are excited to be launching this opportunity for our master’s students.”

“JTS’s William Davidson School is expanding Jewish educators’ abilities—to include all kinds of learners,” said Dori Frumin Kirshner (MA ’96), executive director of Matan. “This focus on inclusion is going to raise the bar for the entire field.”

This concentration was developed in response to the increase in awareness of, and attention to, diversity among learners. The concentration will not only strengthen job prospects for its graduates; it will continue to foster diversity among the Jewish community by addressing the needs of a wider group of students.

About | The Jewish Theological Seminary

JTS is a preeminent institution of Jewish higher education, training thoughtful, innovative leaders—rabbis, cantors, educators, lay leaders, and scholars—who strengthen our communities with a vision of Judaism that is deeply grounded in the Jewish past and thoroughly engaged with contemporary society. JTS also provides high-caliber lifelong learning and professional development to our alumni, adult learners, and Jewish communities throughout North America. Through its Library, JTS preserves and makes accessible to students and scholars throughout the world the greatest collection of Judaica in the Western Hemisphere.