A Word of Caution as Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month Ends


When we commit ourselves, we can be inclusive; Removing the Stumbling Block

Whew. We made it. Another Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month in the books. Quite a few people have heard me refer to February as tax season for those of us in the Jewish disability inclusion world. I am not even a little bit sad to see the month come to an end.

It is certainly a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness while highlighting the many great resources and opportunities that already exist within our communities. And personally, I hope it has and will lead to the opening of new doors that were once closed.

But before the congratulatory pats on the back for great programs and events, I want to make a request:

In a world that still focuses so heavily on programs over relationships, I worry that JDAIM itself becomes the answer for some communities. I am begging you to remember that in and of itself, JDAIM is NOT inclusion. No one program is inclusion.

Recognizing Invisible Disabilities


Recognizing Invisible Disabilities; Removing the Stumbling Block


In so many ways, this image speaks for itself. 

But it also reminds me of the video "I am Brianna Couture". It's a video meant to open our eyes to the notion of invisible disabilities.

Choosing Our Language Carefully {Using the Words You Really Intend}


 "Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn't mean he lacks vision." - Stevie Wonder; Removing the Stumbling Block


Have you ever thought about how many different ways we use the word see? And when you say "see", is it always what you intend?

There's the obvious, “I see you.”

But then there’s, “Oh, I see” when you really mean “I understand”.

How about, "Can I see you for a minute?" which is actually a way of asking, “Can I speak to you?”

Then there’s “Let’s see…” another way of saying, “I’m thinking….”

Or maybe you use, “We are seeing each other” as a metaphor for dating.

My Child Is Not Your Trophy {Changing a Community’s Attitude Toward Disability}

I have been really fortunate, through blogging and my work as an inclusion expert, to meet some amazing people who care as passionately about faith-based inclusion as I do. But I am picky. Highlighting guest posts here is not typically something I do. In fact, I've only done it one other time. (Read: A Reminder of What is Possible: “No Limits” on the Jewish Disability Community.) But this friend is too wonderful to keep to myself. So it's with joy that I introduce you to Sheri Dacon, author of Lyrics for Life, a space where she "pours out her thoughts on faith, struggle, and abundant life." Read on, I think you will quickly realize why I think she is pretty fantastic.

My Child is Not Your Trophy, Changing a Community's Attitude Toward Disability; Removing the Stumbling Block

My Child Is Not Your Trophy {Changing a Community’s Attitude Toward Disability}

When we left our former church, there was indeed a final straw that cinched it for me.

But there were little things that started piling up, months and even years before. Almost imperceptible nicks and scratches that I can see now, in hindsight, were huge triggers for the anxiety that eventually sent me reeling over the edge.

Top Ten Things to Know About Jewish Education and Disability Inclusion

Here are ten of the most important things to know about Jewish education and disability inclusion:
We do not do inclusion for people with disabilities; Removing the Stumbling Block


1.      Each of us is created b’tzelem elohim, in the image of God. As such, each of us is perfect and worthy of living a meaningful Jewish life. No one has the right to judge what is “meaningful” for anyone but themselves.

2.      Fair isn’t equal. Fair is when everyone gets what they need to be successful.

3.      Special Education is good education. The strategies, values and goals that make special education successful are the same strategies, values and goals that will help all students find success.

The Most Important Interview Question You MUST Ask

When the topic of conversation is teaching, many are quick to discuss student engagement, critical thinking, student achievement and curricular content. With good reason. These are important aspects of education.


The Most Important Interview Question You Must Ask; Removing the Stumbling Block

But none of them, in my opinion, really get to the heart of what it means to teach.

Inclusion is a Funny Thing


Welcome, we are building an inclusive community; Removing the Stumbling Block

Inclusion is a funny thing. When it is “done right”, it’s not something to talk about. It just is. Being inclusive means accepting all people for who they are regardless of their abilities or race or religion or gender or…or…or…. 

Welcome to #JDAIMblogs - A Blogging Effort for Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month

#JDAIMblogs 2016; Removing the Stumbling Block

Today marks the first day of February and the official start of Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month. JDAIM is designed to be a unified initiative to raise disability awareness and support efforts to foster inclusion in Jewish communities worldwide.

It is the JDAIM tagline - FROM Awareness to Inclusion - that has always resonated with me most deeply, so I am really pleased to see the shift in the title to now include inclusion (see what I did there?)

The true value of this month lies in raising the awareness that there is so much more we can and should be doing to include those with disabilities in our Jewish communities. 
True value lies in raising awareness that there is so much more we can and should be doing to include those with disabilities; Removing the Stumbling Block
I am once again taking the lead on an effort called #JDAIMblogs. You can read more here about this initiative. I will do my best to blog often during the month of February in honor of JDAIM. I hope you will add your voice.

At the bottom of this post is a place to link up your blog posts and articles. This will allow readers to find one another’s posts, spread the word about their own and generally serve as an online gathering space for JDAIM blogging efforts. Feel free to come back often and link each of your #JDAIMblogs posts.

Tag every post with #JDAIMblogs on social media so we can find and share one another’s posts. I encourage you to tweet me and tag me on Facebook so that I can share your content. (#JDAIM16 is the other hashtag being used for general JDAIM information, resources and events.)

As a Jewish Educator and Inclusion Expert I realize that the vague nature of “join me in blogging” could be overwhelming for some. While you are free to blog on anything that relates to disability, accessibility, inclusion, etc., this image provides prompts for those who appreciate that in order to get their creative juices flowing.

And if writing is “not your thing”, share a photo or artwork or a quote or a video. Honor your own expressive style and do what is most comfortable and most accessible for you. 

Don’t shy away from sharing your voice!
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