Posts Tagged: Disability Rights

Jay Ruderman: Disability Issues are Issues of Social Justice



by Jay Ruderman Wikipedia defines social justice as, “the ability people have to realize their potential in the society where they live.” This definition can be broken down into three parts: realizing potential, in society, and where they live. For Jewish people with disabilities, each of these parts presents a challenge – and for the […]

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Jewish Disability Advocacy Day: A Big Success!



I spent yesterday on Capitol Hill for Jewish Disability Advocacy Day, which is an opportunity to learn about legislative issues of importance to individuals with disabilities and their families and to lobby members of Congress.  People came from all over the country and the day was an inspiring day of learning and advocating as a Jewish […]

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Just Say Yes: Inclusion is a No-Brainer



Past President Michael Kaplan likes to tell the story about why he joined his current congregation and ultimately became its president. He talks about one High Holy Days when he entered the sanctuary with his wife, their profoundly challenged son Brandon, and Brandon’s guide dog. Settling into the services, sitting in the front row, they […]

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2013 URJ Biennial

Twitter as a Means to Process a Professional Conference: Reflections on @URJ’s Biennial13



It happens every time. I forget how truly overwhelming the Union for Reform Judaism’s Biennial convention will be. I know that I will be busy with sessions, presentations and meetings. I know that I will walk (and walk and walk); that I will learn, talk, laugh and sing. And I know that I won’t nearly […]

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2013 URJ Biennial

Fostering Inclusion and Accessibility at the 2013 Biennial



Anyone who has attended a URJ Biennial knows that the experience touches your soul, lifts your spirits, increases your Judaic knowledge, and improves your singing ability. Now, the 2013 Biennial will also help congregations and individuals understand how to include those with disabilities as welcome and appreciated full members of your community. This Biennial will […]

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URJ’s Camp Dream Street Named to Prestigious Slingshot Guide



Camp Dream Street Mississippi, a five-day camping program for children with disabilities, has been named one of 18 leading Jewish organizations committed to fostering inclusion of people with disabilities in the prestigious Slingshot Guide, created as a guidebook to help funders diversify their giving portfolios to include the most innovative and effective organizations, programs and […]

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Sometimes Inclusion Makes Me Nervous



On Yom Kippur morning, an amazing young woman came to our bimah to chant Torah.  She happens to be blind. And while I eagerly anticipated what I knew would be a stunning aliyah, I found myself really nervous. Why would I be nervous?  This should have been a moment of immense pride that the inclusive […]

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Camp Chazak, Where Miracles Are All Around Us



by Stephen Weitzman Traditionally, the month of Elul is a period of self reflection for Jews who attempt to get closer to God. The tradition dates back to the time when Moses ascended Mt. Sinai for the second time after breaking the tablets because he believed the Israelites had violated their sacred relationship with God […]

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Ten Steps to Make Your Congregation More Inclusive



Inclusion can seem overwhelming for a community that has not previously made accommodations or offered inclusive programming for individuals with disabilities. My advice? Start small, but start somewhere – and while this may help to make the task seem somewhat less daunting, I suspect that for many, it begs the question, “How do I begin?” […]

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URJ Kutz Camp Talks Political Advocacy



This summer, a class of teens at the URJ Kutz camp in Warwick, NY studied political advocacy with Alison Stamm, the Director of Youth Engagement at Temple Sinai of Roslyn. Alison’s minor, called “Get up. Stand up. Stand up for your rights,” emphasized the importance of influencing legislative change for the greater good.  Drawing upon […]

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Not All Disabilities are Visible



I recently saw the video “I am Brianna Couture” (with thanks to the Ruderman Family Foundation blog Zeh Lezeh for bringing it to my attention). It’s a video meant to open our eyes to the notion of invisible disabilities. After watching, I got to thinking: This is a great, eye-opening opportunity to re-frame our perceptions […]

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Expanding Camp Opportunities for Kids with Special Needs



The Foundation for Jewish Camp released preliminary findings last week from their recent research study Jewish Camp for Children with Disabilities and Special Needs, which maps current, potential, and desired camp program opportunities for children with disabilities/special needs. The study paints an encouraging picture of the field of Jewish camping, highlighting a variety of models […]

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Turn Meaningful Reflection into Positive Action: A Look Back at Jewish Disability Awareness Month



It’s May. Can you believe it? Every year it seems to sneak up on me. But here it is. Most synagogues and Jewish professionals are at the point in the year that I typically call the “race to the finish line.” We are busy completing our program years, winding down religious schools and looking toward […]

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Maimonides Preached Inclusion, But We Still Don’t Seem To Get It



As concerned as we are about economic justice, the American Jewish community has failed to understand, on a gut level, a glaring reality: Adults with disabilities in the U.S. disproportionately experience poverty. According the census bureau, about one in five Americans has a disability. That means 20% of us. Eighty percent of adults with disabilities […]

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