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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Jewish Disability Awareness Month or JFNA’s Human Services and Public Policy Disability Committee, please contact David Feinman at email@example.com.
Co-chairs, Jewish Federations of North America’s Disability Committee
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.