Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month

Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month

Group of teen campers holding hands in a circle as if participating in a group activity

Camp Harlam is healthier because we opened ourselves up to and held ourselves accountable for making a change. We would never go back to the way it was before. 

Aaron Selkow
White computer keyboard featuring three blue buttons with varying disability symbols

Every February, Jewish communities worldwide join to advocate for inclusion of people with disabilities and mental health conditions to be active participants in Jewish life. 

Shelley Christensen
Hands holding a geometric red heart

In honor of Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month, we offer a few suggestions to help congregations adopt further awareness and understanding of disabilities.

Rabbi Edythe Held Mencher, L.C.S.W.
Teenage girls dressed in white with their arms around one anothers shoulders from behind

For the last few years, URJ Camp Harlam has continually sought to create an open and safe community – an environment that is understanding and accepting, where bias and prejudice will not be tolerated.

Lisa David
Smiling campers in Camp Harlam shirts looking off camera

Senator Tammy Duckworth's words rang in my ears as I thought about our work at camp – helping children be seen for who they are and their potential, rather than be limited or diminished for their struggles.

Lori Zlotoff
Closeup of pews

The purpose of this webinar, “Inclusive Worship for Clergy – A Discussion,” was to provide our communities with ideas and broader thinking around disabilities inclusion – particularly in worship and prayer settings. 

Cantor Rosalie Boxt
Closeup of a woman's hands resting on a wooden pew

The progress the Jewish community has made around inclusion is to be commended – but it’s important to be consistent with a message of inclusion, and not to confuse the concepts of diversity and inclusion.

Sheri Denkensohn-Trott
Colorful candles shaped like the number 10 lit atop a birthday cake

Looking back over the past 10 years, Jewish communities around the world have embraced Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month in February. 

Shelly Christensen
Group of adults and children with disabilities together lighting a twisted Havdalah candle

As our students became b’nei mitzvah, and read, spoke, or used the computer to enhance their communication, the community saw how much effort they had put into learning Judaism; the entire community was reminded of its own obligation and joy in educating all of the next generation. 

Dr. Ruth Nemzoff
Circle of hands linked together in inclusion and solidarity

On February 2, hundreds of us gathered at the seventh annual Jewish Disability Advocacy Day (JDAD),  co-sponsored by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Jewish Federations of North America, and dozens of other partners across the country. JDAD offered a unique opportunity for all Jews to unite around this issue, which affects communities across the denominational spectrum. It also helped kick off Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM), an annual community-wide initiative that seeks to raise awareness and support for including people with disabilities in all facets of Jewish life.

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner