Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

Inside Leadership
Close-up of exterior of U.S. Capitol dome

It is exciting to experience how Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) has taken root in the Jewish community during the last 10 years. Started as a grassroots initiative, JDAIM is now an international effort focused on making our Jewish community more understanding, welcoming, and supportive of people with disabilities and their families.

In Philadelphia, where I direct Whole Community Inclusion, we are thrilled to have 15 synagogues participating in JDAIM Shabbat Across Philadelphia, schools using our Jewish values-based disability inclusion lesson plans,...

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Female teen surrounded by three younger kids

For the last 15 years, more than 250 teens in religious schools in greater Philadelphia have participated in the Reta Emerson Fellowship/Teen Assistant Program (TAP), supporting children with learning and/or developmental disabilities. As part of my work directing Whole Community Inclusion, I serve as the TAP coordinator.

The teens apply to the program through a process that requires recommendations and an essay about why they want to take on this unique challenge. Once accepted, they participate in a weeklong, intensive training about disability awareness and Jewish values, as...

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