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As We Take an Accounting of Our Souls and Ourselves, a Lesson in Inclusion

Perhaps the most universal theme in the High Holy Days is what our tradition calls a cheshbon ha-nefesh — the accounting of the soul — that Jews do leading up them.

Many may not use Jewish law as their barometer, but most prepare for a new year with an examination of our past year and our actions. Judaism teaches us that the forgiveness of Yom Kippur depends upon an honest, searching and then sparing self-assessment in the month before Rosh Hashanah: the good, the bad, the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. Whether we think our conduct is judged solely by ourselves, by our society or by God, we all recognize the goal is to be the best versions of ourselves, which we can’t really work on without self-knowledge.

Best practice in disability inclusion is to start with an honest inventory of where you are. The parallels to a good inventory and a good cheshbon ha-nefesh are striking, as, I believe, are the parallels between teshuvah, a word that is more about return and repair then repentance, and a good inclusion plan.

Read more at the LA Jewish Journal

Meet the Author

Matan Koch

Matan A. Koch is Vice President for Workforce, Leadership, and Faith Programs at RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. A longtime national leader in disability advocacy and a wheelchair user himself, he is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School. Koch oversees RespectAbility’s workforce engagement and education portfolio, advocacy pipeline including, speakers Bureau and civic engagement initiatives, and our Jewish and other faith-based programs. He also leads RespectAbility’s California office.

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