Bageltoons: Inclusive Cartooning
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Bageltoons: Inclusive Cartooning

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer directs Jewish Learning Venture’s Whole Community Inclusion which fosters inclusion of people with disabilities through the Philadelphia Jewish community. She loves writing/editing for “The New Normal” and for WHYY’s newsworks. Her latest book The Little Gate Crasher is a memoir of her Great-Uncle Mace Bugen, a self-made millionaire and celebrity selfie-artist who was 43 inches tall and was chosen for this year’s Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month Book Selections. She’s recently shared an ELI Talk on Standing With Families Raising Kids With Disabilities and has released a journal designed for special needs parents.

Over the last few weeks, our New Normal blog has been featuring reflections and perspectives on the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

We know that employment is one area in which people with disabilities are still struggling. Last June, The Ruderman Family Foundation, in partnership with The Jewish Week Media Group, proudly announced the recipients of the inaugural "Best in Business" Award. This national competition highlights North American businesses, large corporations and family-owned, who have shown exemplary practices in hiring, training and supporting people with disabilities.

“Everyone has a fundamental right to be included in our society and the best way to achieve full inclusion is through meaningful employment,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation.

“What these Ruderman Best in Business winners understand is that inclusion is good for the bottom line. Not only are they providing the path to full inclusion for people with disabilities, but they are gaining loyal dedicated employees who change the environment of their workplaces, so all employees feel good about their places of employment. These businesses are leading by example and we believe that their example will inspire other business owners to make their workforces more inclusive for people with disabilities.”

One of the companies featured, Bageltoons LLC, is a company that creates interactive digital media for tablets, high-definition TVs and smartphones. Founder Ira Harrison-Rubin started by writing a book of jokes and riddles about bagels. Then he decided to hire a cartoonist to illustrate it. From there, Harrison-Rubin realized that the bagel characters have all sorts of multimedia potential, including animated games. He joined with a partner, Wallace Jackson, who specializes in 2-D and 3-D animation.

The pair created the original cartoon featured in this blog to recognize the importance of creating inclusive workplaces. Check out more Bageltoons at the company's website.

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