Jewish Disability Awareness 
& Inclusion


February 1-29, 2020



Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) is a unified effort among Jewish organizations and communities worldwide to raise awareness and foster inclusion of people with disabilities and those who love them. JDAIM is a call to action to each one of us in accordance with our Jewish values, honoring the gifts and strengths that we each possess. Established in 2009 by the Jewish Special Education International Consortium, JDAIM is observed each February.


This year is the 12th annual observation of JDAIM. 

The Mission


The mission of Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month is to unite Jewish communities worldwide to raise awareness and champion the rights of all Jews to be included and to participate in all aspects of Jewish life like anyone else.


PJ Library Celebrates Differences


Join PJ Library at the Jewish Community Center at Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley's Super Sunday Community Mitzvah Day on Jan. 26 for a free program focusing on disability and inclusion.


Local speaker Jen Einstein and Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania Karli Miller will talk about how they are "different" and about how we are all unique. Parents are welcome to participate in a question and answer session with their children. The PJ Library story "The Only One Club" will also be read, and crafts and snacks will be provided. The first 50 children in attendance will receive a free t-shirt.


10:30 a.m. in the JCC Auxiliary Auditorium. In partnership with PJ Library.

Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month Community Event

On Feb. 23, 2020, Jewish Family Service is hosting a screening of the 2017 documentary "Swim Team," followed by questions and a conversation with a Global Messenger from Special Olympics PA-Bethlehem. 


Film synopsis: What would you do if your community gave up on your child? In New Jersey, the parents of one boy with autism take matters into their own hands. They form a competitive swim team, recruiting a diverse group of teens on the autism spectrum and training them with high expectations and zero pity. Demonstrating the power of inclusion to transcend disability, this triumphant film profiles this team, the Jersey Hammerheads. Through training and competition, star athletes Mikey, Robbie, Kelvin and others gain self-confidence and social skills that serve them both in and out of the pool.


In partnership with ReelAbilities and Special Olympics PA-Bethlehem. The cost is $5/person or $18/family and includes a candy and popcorn bar. RSVP to JFS at 610-821-8722 or register online. For questions about accessibilty or to request special accommodations, contact Rebecca Axelrod-Cooper at

The event will be hosted the Muhlenberg College Seegers Union, 2400 Chew Street, Allentown, PA, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Jewish Disability Advocacy Day


On Feb. 4, 2020, some of our staff represented the Lehigh Valley Jewish community at the Jewish Federations of North America's Jewish Disability Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C.

Photos from this year's Jewish Disability Advocacy Day.

Check below for some practical tips from the official JDAIM 2020 guide on how and why to observe JDAIM on your own or with your congregation.


Raise awareness of how people with disabilities and mental health conditions have been regarded by Jewish and secular society and how that impacts our own actions.

Underscore the importance of choosing one’s own Jewish journey.

Encourage Jews around the world to become genuinely empathetic and welcoming toward people with disabilities and mental health conditions.

Urge Jews to welcome people with disabilities and mental health conditions into their communities and personal lives.

Include people with disabilities and mental health conditions in all aspects of communal life.

Advocate for the rights of people with disabilities and mental health conditions.

Support people with disabilities and mental health conditions to make their own decisions about how they want to belong to their Jewish community.


Announce page numbers often. Describe the prayer book and commentary by color and size, in addition to name. Use a manual scoreboard to show page numbers.

Invite people with disabilities and mental health conditions ahead of time to participate in a service. Honor them by being called to the Torah and help them practice the blessings. Ask people and their family members to offer a d’var Torah, carry the Torah, light Shabbat candles, and lead the Kiddush.

If your bimah is not accessible, move the reading desk to the main level of the sanctuary so the Torah itself is accessible to all.

During this month, engage in conversations about inclusion in Torah study and sermons. Extend the discussion to your board and committee meetings.

Use social media to promote inclusion. Post about your events, quote text that resonates with Jewish values about inclusion. YouTube a short Torah commentary about inclusion.

Provide prayer books and Torah commentaries in accessible format (i.e. Braille, large print, audio versions).