Jewish Disability Awareness,
Acceptance
& Inclusion
Month

 

February 1-28, 2021

 

Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance 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 13th annual observation of JDAIM. 

Events

Supported Decision-Making:  A Practical Alternative to Guardianship


Wednesday, Feb. 17. at 7 p.m. via Zoom
 

Join JFS and the Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living (LVCIL) for a presentation about Supported Decision-Making (SDM). SDM is a viable alternative to guardianship for young adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.

 

Presenters from SDM New York will talk about the process of bringing Supported Decision-Making to their community and how SDM empowers the lives of young adults with intellectual and physical disabilities to live more independent lives.

 

Watch the video

Supported Decision-Making: A Practical Alternative to Guardianship

Disability Pride vs. Disability Fix

 

Sunday, Feb. 28. at 3 p.m. via Zoom


How is the rise of the disability pride culture shifting the prevailing norms away from the cured focused model? This discussion will be moderated by a representative of the disability community and feature two people with disabilities:  one a bioethicist, and one a disability advocate.

 

The discussion will cover a wide range of thought-provoking topics including:

 

  • What is a cure and what is not?
  • How is disability identity affected by a cure?
  • Who is the cure meant to help? (The answer is usually not the person with disability)

 

Watch the video

Diability Pride vs. Disability Fix

Meet the Panelists

  • Rabbi Dahlia Kronish

    Rabbi Dahlia Kronish is the High School Associate Head at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School in New York City. Kronish was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. For over ten summers, she worked at Camp Ramah in New England. Kronish has also worked at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Metropolitan Chicago.

  • Michelle Kraus

    Michelle Kraus is a Senior Social Worker for the Disability Justice Program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, a non-profit law office serving different communities in need of advocacy and legal representation, and has been serving as the Director of Advocacy for Little People of America for the past 4 years, a national organization that provides support and advocacy for people with short stature. She currently serves as the Director of Public Relations for the organization.

  • Dr. Joseph Stramondo

    Dr. Joseph Stramondo is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Associate Director of the Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs at San Diego State University. His interests focus primarily on the philosophy of disability and bioethics. He researches the ways in which the field of bioethics fails to address the moral salience of the social categories of gender, race, disability, and sexuality and the permissibility of using genetic reproductive technology to choose to have a disabled child.

The JDAIM Mission

 

The mission of Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance 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.

Photos from Jewish Federations of North America's 2020 Jewish Disability Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C.

Check below for some practical tips on how and why to observe JDAIM on your own or with your congregation.

WHY YOU SHOULD PARTICIPATE IN JDAIM

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.

6 PRACTICAL WAYS TO RECOGNIZE JDAIM IN YOUR SYNAGOGUE

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).