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Welcome!

February is Jewish Disability Awareness Month. JFNA is proud to join the Consortium of Jewish Special Educators in recognizing and increasing the awareness of the needs, strengths, opportunities and challenges of people with disabilities in our Jewish communities throughout North America. We are asking each federation to join us in observing Jewish Disability Awareness Month.  JFNA has created this website to facilitate program ideas, as well as professional contacts, to assist your community in planning activities during the month of February and throughout the entire year.  This website was created and will be updated by JFNA’s Human Services and Public Policy Disability Committee, which is composed of lay and professional leaders from across the continental federation movement and provides guidance and direction on policy/advocacy issues related to physical, emotional, and developmental disabilities. 

If you have information about events in your community that you would like to add to this website, please contact Allison Redisch at allison.redisch@jewishfederations.org.  For more information about Jewish Disability Awareness Month or JFNA’s Human Services and Public Policy Disability Committee, please contact David Feinman at david.feinman@jewishfederations.org.

                                                                                            Janet Livingston                                                                   Marcia Cohodes
                                                                                            Baltimore                                                                            Minneapolis

                                                                                          Co-chairs, Jewish Federations of North America’s Disability Committee

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The Jewish Federations of North America put together a Resource Guide for Jewish Disability Awareness Month and, in collaboration with the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism and several other organizations, organized Jewish Disability Advocacy Day on February 6, 2014. Shalom TV covered the 2013 Jewish Disability Advocacy Day in their news report, starting at 4:35 of this video. Additionally, please find information below on events that are taking place for Jewish Disability Awareness Month in local communities across the country. 

JDAM Reads will hold a webinar discussion on Cakes and Miracles, one of this year's JDAM Reads books, on Thursday, February 20, 2014.

Please email us if you have information about JDAM events that are not listed here.

Atlanta

There are many events taking place in Atlanta; to visit the Atlanta Jewish Disability Awareness Month Calendar for February 2014, click here.

Baltimore

Baltimore is planning a conference and many other events for Jewish Disability Awareness Month in 2014, including Through My Eyes: Reflections on Having a Sibling with Special Needs, on February 23rd.

Boston

In Boston, the ReelAbilities Disabilities Film Festival is taking place January 30-February 6, 2014. The JLeventhal-Sidman JCC is screening Anita on February 5th. The  Jewish Special Education International Consortium and  PJ Library are partnering for a book-based Purim activity.

Chicago

Chicago has several events planned for February 2014, including a session on Identifying and Preventing Sexual Abuse and Exploitation.

Cleveland

The SEGULA and Etgar programs of the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland are pleased to sponsor the 6th annual program of Special Needs Awareness by presenting the movie “A Smile as Big as the Moon” on February 9, 2013 at 1:00 pm. There will also be display & information tables set up prior to the viewing of the movie.

Clifton-Passaic

The Parent Resource Center at the Jewish Family Service & Children’s Center of Clifton/Passaic is sponsoring a resource Shabbat.  Every congregation will receive a list of local resources for parents of children with special needs and the Rabbis will be encouraged to speak about these services from the pulpit.  Mental health professionals at the Jewish Family Service and in the community will be invited to a panel presentation on services for children with special needs to insure that resource information is shared accurately with families. 

Denver

This year, the Jewish Disabilities Network is collaborating with the Arc of Colorado and eleven local chapters of the Arc in hosting Achieve With Us Colorado Film Festival, showcasing films related to the field of developmental disabilities. This event is designed to give the community a glimpse into the lives of people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

Detroit

An extensive number of events will take place in Detroit, including Creating Classrooms for All Learners on February 25th. The Detroit Free Press and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit have highlighted this programming.

Opening the Doors provides services year-round. To find out about other year-round programs and resources in Detroit, click here.  To find out about year-round programs and resources in Detroit, click here.

Durham-Chapel Hill

BRIDGES is an initiative of the Durham-Chapel Hill Jewish Federation JCC; their mission is to provide social, recreational, and cultural programs and activities for people of all abilities and their families and friends in a welcoming Jewish setting. Read more about it here.

East Bay

In celebration of Jewish Disability Awareness Month, Friday evening February 21,Temple Sinai of Oakland will present Doing Disability Justice! The program includes three panelists. Weaving in a Jewish context, the presenters will shed enlightenment how policies involving disability issues matter to all of us!

The program follows the synagogue's Friday night Shabbat Service during which the Temple Sinai Access Committee's Founding Chairperson, Denise Sherer Jacobson, and present Chairperson, Neil Jacobson, will be honored for their long-time efforts in raising awareness of disability issues within the congregation.

Houston

Houston celebrates Jewish Disability Awareness Month with many programs, including a ReelAbilities Film Festival, which will include an exhibition entitled Positive Exposure, and several other events.

Los Angeles

Making Jewish life more accessible for all is a top priority for The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. As part of the national effort to raise awareness about members of the Jewish community with disabilities, Los Angeles is celebrating Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month in 2014.

Greater Metrowest (NJ)

In Greater MetroWest, NJ, many events will celebrate Jewish Disability Awareness Month in February and March. Further information can be found on the MetroWestABLE site as well.   

Minneapolis

In Minneapolis, they have pioneered a JDAM book club and have planned many programs and events. For more information on this and other programs in Minneapolis, visit the JFCS site. They will also be hosting two webinars, related to the JDAM Reads! books, Cakes and Miracles, and Hope Will Find You.

New York

In 2014, UJA-Federation of New York will be awarding a synagogue inclusion ignition grant for a synagogue to take on a new project to increase their inclusivity to individuals with disabilities. More information on this will be available in February. Jewish Disability Awareness Month is also being celebrated in New York with events such as the ReelAbilities Film Festival. On February 12, Jeremy Poincenot is speaking in Westchester.

Northern New Jersey

A trivia night for the adult siblings of individuals with developmental disabilities will be held in Englewood, NJ on February 8, 2014.

Philadelphia

In celebration of Jewish Disability Awareness Month, the Inclusion B'Kavod Committee of Ohev Shalom of Bucks County presents, "A Morning with Dr. Daniel Gottlieb: Opening Hearts and Doors to all Abilities and Disabilities."  Visit www.ohev.org or call 215-322-9595 for more information.

St. Louis

The new St. Louis Jewish Community Inclusion Initiative, coordinated by the Jewish Federation, is presenting a screening of the documentary “Praying With Lior” on Sunday, February 16.  The event will also include a Jewish agency disabilities resource fair and a facilitated discussion.  For more information, visit http://www.jfedstl.org/lior/.

San Francisco

Throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, organizations are honoring Jewish Disability Awareness Month with various events.

Silicon Valley

The JCRC of the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley is engaging their community in Disability Awareness month by inviting all 5 local rabbis to speak about inclusivity and disability awareness from the bimah sometime during the month. Those sermons and discussions will later be posted to their website.  There will be a relevant article in the local Jewish newspaper, and on February 9th, there will be an innovative performance at the JCC with the Axis Dance Company, by dancers with and without disabilities, including a community workshop.

Greater Washington

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington has resources and information on events for JDAM. Additionally, a ReelAbilities film festival will be taking place. Ari Ne’eman, President and Co-Founder of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, is speaking at Har Shalom in Potomac on February 1st.

Additional Materials

The JDAM Reads book club program is kicks off its third year, and there are many opportunities for both children and adults to participate in this innovative program. PJ Library honors JDAM Reads this year.

More information for national events can be found here.

The Mitzvah Bowl was created by two mothers in Pennsylvania, with the goal of providing a simple resource to find a personally rewarding community service projects for bar/bat mitzvah students. To commemorate Jewish Disabilities Awareness month, The Mitzvah Bowl would love to hear from you on their blog with mitzvah project ideas for special needs students.

National Organizations

Yachad, The National Jewish Council for Disabilities, has designated February as North American Inclusion Month. Purim takes place in February this year, and the Yachad is enabling the deaf and hard of hearing to participate in the reading of Megillat Esther. You can find out more about NAIM from their letter and flyer, and synagogues can take their survey about inclusion.  Yachad is affiliated with the Orthodox Union.

The Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism's Disability Rights page is is highlighting Hineinu, a new, inter-Movement collaboration. It is a comprehenisve guide - including programs, activities, and Jewish texts - to building inclusive Jewish communities for people of all abilities.

The Jewish Special Education International Consortium, originator of Jewish Disability Awareness Month, is a professional network of Directors, Coordinators and Administrators of Jewish special education services in central agencies for Jewish education. Communities that do not have central agencies are represented by a designee of the local Jewish Federation.  To contact a member in your area or learn more about the mission of this network, visit:  www.jsped.org.