February is known as Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance & Inclusion Month (JDAIM) — the Jewish community’s unified national initiative to raise disability awareness and support efforts to foster inclusion in Jewish communities worldwide. Throughout the year on The New Normal: Blogging Disability, we are proud to focus on the voices of people with disabilities as well as their family members, educators, advocates and community members speaking about disability and Jewish life. Still, we appreciate how JDAIM shines an extra light on the importance of disability inclusion throughout the month and hope that you’ll read these 10 short essays from New Normal contributors.
Some may be topics that you are very familiar with. Others may raise concerns that you haven’t yet thought about. To create a Jewish community that welcomes, supports and advocates for all people, we all need to grow in our knowledge and awareness. I hope that you’ll read, comment and share these articles online and with your own communities so we can begin the discussions and the work that needs to be done. I am so grateful that The Jewish Week has made an important commitment to disability inclusion, and to you, our readers, for opening your minds, hearts and perspectives.
When young people with cognitive disabilities turn 21 they age out of the state school system. What lies ahead? Nina Mogilnik considers what’s next for her son.
‘Lip-service-inclusion’ is not enough. Advocate Shelly Christensen (and founder of JDAIM) makes the case for making our congregations places where everyone belongs.
There is good news. Lisa Friedman writes: More and more educators aren’t asking ‘why,’ but rather ‘how’ they can serve students with disabilities. But there is still much to do.
Rabbi Rebecca Dubowe on creating a wider bridge of accessibility and connection between the deaf and hard of hearing community, and the general population.
Accessibility professional Sharon Rosenblatt offers an easy, step-by-step guide to making your websites, applications and documents more user-friendly and inclusive for people with disabilities.