Jewish Disability Awareness Month Is Coming: Share YOUR Voice!

Jewish Disability Awareness Month Is Coming: Share YOUR Voice!

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.

At the New Normal, we know that creating a more inclusive Jewish community is a year-round effort, but we also recognize that Jewish Disability Awareness Month (JDAM) in February is a chance to come together as a national community to raise disability awareness and support inclusion efforts. JDAM is a time when we can focus our attention on providing meaningful inclusion and full participation of people with disabilities and their families in Jewish community.

Next week, we are proud to share a history and perspective on JDAM from one of its creators Shelly Christensen. We will be featuring blogs all month examining inclusion in the Jewish community, and want to include as many voices as possible.

Over the last year and half, the New Normal has featured blogs from people with disabilities, their family members, community leaders, professionals in the special needs field and others who care deeply about this issue. We know that there are more of you who have an important perspective, insight or reflection to share and we would love to hear from you!

One area that we’d love to hear more about: In our synagogues, leadership from the rabbi can be critical to creating inclusion. If your rabbi has been a leader, we would love you to share a blog about his/her efforts (or if you are a rabbi, please share what you are doing to create inclusion in your synagogue).

Also, New Normal contributor Lisa Friedman from Jewish Education: Removing The Stumbling Block has put out themes for each week of February that may also inspire your writing: Inspiration, Awareness, Acceptance, Inclusion.

Getting inspired to write? Send your blog idea to New Normal editor Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer at

And if you want to write but now is not the time, we intend to keep the JDAM energy going throughout the year!

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