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Partner Spotlight: Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s mission is “to inspire, build, and sustain vibrant Jewish life in a changing world by mobilizing our community in common purpose, intentional innovation, and effective action.”

Monica Herman headshot smiling

Monica Herman

“As a Jewish organization, we’re driven by Jewish values,” said Monica Herman, the Federation’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Everybody has inherent value, and everyone should feel like they belong and are welcome in the Jewish community.”

“The message of disability inclusion is something that we promote all year,” said Rinat Kisin, the Federation’s Inclusion & Belonging specialist. “We acknowledge the importance of JDAIM, but disability inclusion and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging work is embedded in our efforts year-round.”

An example of the Federation’s commitment to disability inclusion is its valuable Disability Inclusion Roadmap. The roadmap provides resources to help organizations fully include community members with disabilities. Every organization could benefit from reviewing the toolkit, regardless of prior dedication to disability inclusion.

“Those who are already doing disability inclusion work can use the roadmap as a tool to refresh,” said Kisin. “We hope the resource will trigger a cultural shift for organizations not yet thinking about disability inclusion.”

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington prides itself on uplifting the incredible work of its partner organizations. The Federation elevates the Jewish community by forming connections, sharing resources, and coordinating effective action.

Herman said, “a core component of our work is planning and allocations; we raise funds from across the Jewish community and allocate those to our partner agencies.”

The umbrella organization for the Federation, The Jewish Federations of North America, hosts Jewish Disability Advocacy Day 2022 on February 23 and 24. The Federations are a proud sponsor of the events and promotes the day through its community communications networks.

“JDAD is focused on efforts to connect with the country’s leadership to affect policy and advocate for inclusion, awareness, acceptance, and recognition,” said Herman.

Kisin works closely with the Federation’s disability inclusion committee. Additionally, she regularly works with partner organizations to grow and learn together.

Rinat Kisin headshot smiling

Rinat Kisin

“Part of my work involves finding gaps in services and opportunities for the Federation to be a resource,” said Kisin. “We use the model of universal design. Historically, accessibility focused on meeting the needs of those with disabilities. But accessibility benefits everyone, regardless of if they have disabilities or not.”

All community programs offered by the Federation are fully accessible. Recently, the Federation’s website underwent a significant assessment and was updated to ensure complete accessibility.

“In the Greater Washington area, we are proud that disability inclusion has been on the forefront of our work for years. It’s a passion point for our organization and for our community,” said Herman.

The Federation’s board is purposefully large because they want it to represent the diverse Jewish community. All the Federation’s agency partners have representation on the Federation’s board.

To find out more about the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and the influential work they do in the field of disability inclusion, visit their website.

Meet the Author

Becca Block

Block graduated cum laude from the University of South Carolina School of Journalism & Mass Communications. She also works at Temple Beth Ami in Maryland as an accessible educator in the religious school.

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