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Shelly Christensen

As the program manager of the Minneapolis Jewish Community Inclusion Program for People with Disabilities for 13 years, I was invited to speak about the program at numerous Jewish community events. I spoke about changing attitudes and fighting stigma to advance inclusion. Following many presentations, someone from the audience waited to speak to me, waiting [click to continue...]

Neil Jacobson may not have known, but he was my teacher. Neil Jacobson was one of the earliest pioneers in Jewish disability inclusion and belonging. His grassroots advocacy and action in his own congregation became a call to action for other synagogues and Jewish organizations in the Reform movement and beyond. Neil’s influence and his [click to continue...]

Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month for 2023 is almost over. In March, the Faith Inclusion and Belonging team will evaluate RespectAbility’s first JDAIM since I joined the team. We will be reaching out to many of our national and community colleagues to find out what they promoted during JDAIM and how our Faith [click to continue...]

Discovering that I live with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was a relief! Managing the lives of three kids in three different schools who were involved in different outside of school activities, learning to navigate the special education system and advocacy, and working full time in an outside sales job created such chaos! Trying to [click to continue...]

We invited the Hon. Steve Bartlett and Bobby Silverstein to share thoughts on the significance of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to faith communities in 2022. Both played key roles in this bipartisan legislation. Hon. Steve Bartlett is Chair Emeritus and a current member of the RespectAbility Board of Directors. As a member of [click to continue...]

The stories we tell of our unique lived experiences with disabilities and mental health conditions matter. It is a generous act when someone pulls back the curtain to tell their story. Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave a popular TED Talk called, “The Danger of a Single Story.” A single story is a generalization about a [click to continue...]

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