Resources for Jewish Disability Awareness Month
We are now mid-way into Jewish Disability Awareness month, a month dedicated to learning more about disabilities, disability rights, how we can increase inclusion in our own communities and how we can improve the civil rights of people with disabilities across the country and the world. How have you been commemorating this month? Haven’t started…?
No worries! We have many resources you can take advantage of throughout the month in your congregations as you shed light on these issues. Below are just a few highlights, and I encourage you to take a deeper look at the RAC’s website, the URJ’s resource page, and the Jewish Federation of North America’s guide.
Part I: February 21, 3pm ET, Part II: February 28, 3pm ET
Learn from experts Shelly Christensen and Lisa Friedman how to make your community more accessible and welcoming to all. The webinars will offer big-picture guidance and strategies:
- Start an inclusion initiative (Part I)
- Foster a culture of inclusion (Part I)
- Engage parents as partners (Part II)
- Special Needs Education Best Practices & Successes (Part II)
- Use “people-first” language; i.e., say, “a child with autism” instead of “an autistic child.”
- Provide mezzuzot, prayer books, kippot, water fountains, light switches and brochures within reach of all.
- Host a Disabilities Shabbat and lunch this month to share the experiences, needs and contributions of those living with disabilities.
- Dedicate an hour of religious school or a NFTY event to run a prepared program about disability awareness.
- Medicaid is the largest American health insurance program directed at meeting the needs of low-income people with disabilities. Share this action alert and urge your state to support the Medicaid expansion.
- Urge the Senate to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and support the rights of people with disabilities worldwide.
- Incorporate a few readings from “A House of Prayer for All People” into one of your services this month.
- Become a fan of Jewish Disability Awareness Month on Facebook, and then repost on your own Facebook pages.
- Retweet @theRAC tweets throughout the month.
Inclusion in our Congregations
- Create an Inclusion Committee and/or nominate a representative to be a contact person who coordinates with synagogue staff and lay leaders.
- Ask individuals what they and/or their family need so that they can engage in the learning and social aspects of the preschool, religious school and adult education.
- Explore and use Shelly Christensen’s “Jewish Community Guide to Inclusion of People with Disabilities.”
Please let us know how you are recognizing Jewish Disability Awareness Month! Send any programs you run, sermons you give, photos and videos, and original ideas to Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Raechel Banks.