Your Participation Matters: Jewish Disability  Awareness & Inclusion Month

There are still a number of ways to participate in Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month this February. Courtesy of Getty Images

As paper calendars turned and digital devices switched to the month of February, the change also signified another important time — national Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month, better known as JDAIM. While disability rights and inclusion is a year-round issue, this month is a concerted effort that provides a platform for disability advocates to bring additional exposure.

In its 14th year, Jewish Learning Venture’s Whole Community Inclusion and the Jewish Special Needs/Disability Awareness Consortium of Greater Philadelphia, which includes the Jewish Federation, have channeled this national commemoration into a local movement with a strong array of programming, educational resources and advocacy.
This year is no exception, with nearly 30 programs of learning and empowerment. Out of this effort, more than 20 synagogues are involved in JDAIM Shabbat Across Philadelphia, where they dedicate a Shabbat service to disability awareness themes.
Outside of local programming, people from around the globe can virtually join the Jewish Federations of North America for Jewish Disability Awareness Day, or JDAD, on Feb. 23 and 24. Over two days, participants will have the opportunity to learn from disability rights champions, experts and legislators about the current state of disability rights and what can be done to promote inclusion.
While February is at its halfway point, there are still a number of opportunities to get involved. Find out some of the ways you can participate below:
Let’s Talk About Mental Health: A Jewish Community Forum
Wednesday, Feb. 16 | 7-8:30 p.m.
The Jewish Disability Inclusion Consortium of Greater Philadelphia is excited to invite the community to an important evening focusing on eradicating the stigma of mental health challenges. The program will begin with Sharon Rosenblatt, keynote speaker and accessibility professional, a panel of people with lived experience with mental illness and experts in the mental health field and breakout groups for reflection.
Clergy Lunch and Learn: Kavod Habriot with Rabbi Lauren Tuchman
Thursday, Feb. 17 | noon
In recognition of Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance & Inclusion Month, Jewish Learning Venture invites Philadelphia area rabbis and cantors to join Rabbi Lauren Tuchman — one of the first blind women to enter the rabbinate — for an hour of study focused on Kavod Habriot, which is honoring God’s creations, a central value in Judaism. Explore two stories found in the Babylonian Talmud in which individuals we might identify today as having disabilities exercise personal agency and demand dignity in deeply undignifying situations.
Inclusive Grandparenting: How We Fully Celebrate ALL Our Grandchildren
Tuesday, Feb. 22 | 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Disability inclusion specialist Lisa Friedman will lead us in a conversation exploring how we can enrich our relationships with our grandchildren through the use of inclusive language, ongoing learning and active listening. Discussion, framed in Jewish text and values, will include practical tips for inclusive grandparenting such as celebrating differences and recognizing the potential of every child. This event is co-sponsored by Jewish Learning
Venture and the Philly Friendship Circle.
Changing Landscape: Work and Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities
Monday, Feb. 28 | noon
Join the Jewish Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council and JEVS Human Services to learn more about the important work JEVS does locally to train adults with disabilities for jobs. A panel of experts will explore how the pandemic impacted employment for people with disabilities and what new opportunities have emerged for those seeking employment. Hear from employers, advocates, service providers and clients with first-hand experience navigating the labor market during COVID.
Inclusive Classrooms and Universal Design
Monday, Feb. 28 | 7:30-8:30 p.m.
An evening of learning for educators. Join Whole Community Inclusion Specialist and occupational therapist Alanna Raffel as she shares the approach of universal design for creating inclusive classrooms. Raffel will share ways that you can support students with learning and behavioral challenges by creating classrooms that support all students. Bring your questions — leave with practical resources!
For registration details and a full roundup of JDAIM programs, visit 


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