Shelly Christensen, MA

Shelly Christensen, MA

Inside Leadership
White computer keyboard featuring three blue buttons with varying disability symbols

For more than 10 years, Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) has focused on awareness and inclusion. 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.

But inclusion is a term that is interpreted along a spectrum. To some, it means that any program or service for people is inclusive. Others go well beyond programs and services to encourage and support people with disabilities,...

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Colorful candles shaped like the number 10 lit atop a birthday cake

A human being mints many coins from the same mold but the Holy One, Blessed be God, strikes us all from the mold of the first human and each one of us is unique. Therefore every single person is obligated to say, “The world was created for my sake.” (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5)

Looking back over the past 10 years, Jewish communities around the world have embraced Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) in February. I never imagined that it would resonate to the extent that it has in Jewish communities of every size, in congregations, at JCCs, Federations, and family...

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Glowing green ACCESSIBILITY key on a white keyboard

Jewish Disabilities Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) is here, and the number of communities and organizations around the world that participate in this awareness effort is growing! I’m excited to share some new resources with you.

Get ready: Download the 2017 Program Guide and JDAIM branding. Be an ally: As JDAIM starts, visit ReformJudaism.org for “Five Ways to Be an Ally to People with Disabilities.” Read up: As part of JDAIM Reads, authors Liane Kupferberg Carter and Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer sat down with me to chat about their respective books. Share this webchat with your... Read More

How is it possible to achieve the Prophet Isaiah’s promise when our synagogues still struggle to include people with disabilities – those who use wheelchairs or who communicate in ways that require us to change how we share information? Are we approaching this conversation with the assumption that one size fits everyone who lives with a...

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Inclusion is a priority for our congregations. On this, the seventh year that the Jewish community has come together for Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month, let’s address the responsibility of synagogue lay and professional leaders to foster a culture where people feel not just included but valued.

Whether you are a professional or lay leader, a board member or committee chair, a member of the clergy or religious school educator, you – yes, you, reading this right now! – have an important role to play in ensuring that people with disabilities are able to participate in...

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