Posts Tagged: disability

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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10 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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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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Lo Titein Michshol: Do Not Place a Stumbling Block



by Deborah Belsky I started learning Braille Hebrew when I was 9 years old. I was taught by Reverend Harry J. Sutcliffe, a blind Episcopalian minister, who taught Hebrew to many blind students in Brooklyn in the early 1960s. Hebrew Braille is easy because most of the letters have the same dot configuration as English […]

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Affording Inclusion



This week, I was contacted by a colleague at another Reform synagogue. She shared that a member of their community is interested in endowing a special education program for their religious school, and she hoped that I might be willing to dream with them a little. She asked me, “What would you do with $30,000? […]

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Special Education is Good Education



“Special education is good education.” Have you heard that before? Some might even feel that this has become a cliché.  It doesn’t matter, really, because it is true. Do you find yourself eager to believe it but struggling to make it a reality? Here are some strategies: All students benefit from a multi-sensory approach to […]

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The Talmud Says Sanctuaries Must Have Windows; A Rabbi Tells You Why



By Rabbi Lynne Landsberg In Berachot (34b), the Talmud teaches that a synagogue must be built with windows in the sanctuary. I believe this is so we can see who is outside and unable to join us. As Jews, we have to maintain “mental windows” everywhere so that we understand that those whom we refer to as […]

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Including Teens on the ASD Spectrum



At NFTY Convention, we presented a program about inclusion of teens on the Autism Spectrum in our NFTY community. We take a moment to reflect on the program and our ongoing initiative.

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When it Comes to Full Inclusion, It’s Time to Make (Y)our Move



Most of the time I see the Jewish world through my Jewish Special educator lens. For me, last week’s NFTY Convention and Youth Engagement Conference were no exception. Three significant things happened: 1.  Rabbi Rick Jacobs spoke of special needs and Jewish Disability Awareness Month from the bimah on Shabbat morning.  He shared the bimah […]

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