I think about authenticity a lot.
I’m fairly certain one significant reason is that I work with pre-teens and teens - and they will not hesitate to call you out for a lack of authenticity. I actually believe that this is why I have had such great successes in building relationships with teens – because I have proven my willingness to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.
This holds true to inclusion. Authenticity is a key element to ensuring that a community’s inclusive efforts aren’t just words on a page, but rather an integral part of who they are and all they do.
When asked how it came to be that I would staff a URJ Kesher Birthright trip to Israel this Winter cycle, I readily share the two reasons:
But I have a secret to share; I also have a little bit of a hidden agenda.You see, I believe that we can and should be offering a Birthright track that is more manageable for young adults with disabilities. I know this changes the model. (I also know that the most dangerous phrase in the English language is, “we’ve always done it that way.”) I know such a trip requires additional staff and possibly adjusting the itinerary. But I also know that it is possible because there are other models. And I know that it can be a powerful opportunity. Read: "A Reminder of What is Possible".
Inclusion requires authenticity.
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