Join Sinai Temple and RespectAbility for a conversation about Jewish disability inclusion! Hear from filmmaker and actor Aaron Wolf and poet Erika Abbott about their experiences as Jews with disabilities. Following their reflections, there was a Q&A session led by Rabbi Erez Sherman from Sinai Temple.
In February, Tzedek Box partnered with RespectAbility to focus on Disability Justice and Access. With hosts Dena Robinson and Darin Lim Yankowitz, attendees heard from leaders of RespectAbility, “a diverse, disability-led nonprofit that works to create systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities, and that advances policies and practices that empower people with disabilities to have a better future.” RespectAbility also prioritizes accessibility in faith-based communities, with a particular focus on the Jewish community. Matan Koch, the Vice President for Workforce, Leadership, and Faith Programs was their featured guest, and Aaron Seglin was their musical guest..
Aaron Wolf, an award-winning actor, director, speaker, and activist uses his creative voice to tell stories from the heart, that entertain and matter. He is the co-founder of Howling Wolf Productions. Some of his work include the Academy Award® shortlisted film Restoring Tomorrow, and TAR, the theatrical throwback thriller that came out last year staring Wolf with Academy Award Nominees Timothy Bottoms and Graham Greene. He also has created the I AM ABLE Foundation.
Wolf drew from his personal experiences, sharing insight into his struggle to tackle the urgent topic of learning disabilities and de-stigmatize people deemed disabled. For Wolf, this is one the most critical civil rights issues currently being overlooked and misunderstood by society and he is on a quest to use his voice and work for positive change.
Presented in Partnership with DreamWorks Animation
Have you seen DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar: A Little Wild on Hulu or Peacock TV yet? For six seasons, RespectAbility Vice Chair Delbert Whetter, along with Jevon Whetter and Justin Maurer, consulted on this series, which includes a deaf character who uses sign language; the character’s sister also signs. Chimpanzee siblings Dave and Pickles are breaking barriers and are part of a movement changing the landscape of disability representation in children’s television and streaming content. Dave and Pickles have a meaningful story arc throughout the entire series and Dave is not defined by his deafness.
New this season, a little girl named and modeled after deaf actress Shaylee Mansfield trades cards with Dave at the zoo. She was animated by using a video reference of her performing the role. In what is possibly a first for deaf performers, she is credited alongside the “audible” voice actors for her “sign over” performance in the episode “‘Gloria’s Got ‘Em All.”
Learn from the team’s ASL consultants as well as Executive Producer Johanna Stein and Actress Shaylee Mansfield on how they worked together to bring about dynamic deaf characters. [continue reading…]
A Conversation with Disabled Creatives and Advocates, Tatiana Lee and Lesley Hennen
Navigating the Entertainment industry can be a daunting and overwhelming experience for anyone. And when you’re a person with multiple underrepresented identities, disability included, the feeling of burnout can become real very quickly. This event was a conversation between RespectAbility Entertainment & News Media team members, Tatiana Lee & Lesley Hennen. They shared their experiences and tips for navigating advocacy as disabled creatives, and how to handle the inevitable burnout that comes with it. [continue reading…]
When we think of diversity in the arts, do we consider the 1-in-5 people who live with a disability? Due to a lack of accessibility and stigma, artists with disabilities rarely get to take the stage to tell their own stories. This event featured a conversation with industry leaders about writing for disabled voices. [continue reading…]
For many folks who are looking to start a career in the Entertainment industry, whether in development, writing, production, marketing, and everything else in between, the starting point is film school. Since the best way to improve on-screen representation of people with disabilities is to hire more disabled people in all aspects of the storytelling and filmmaking process, how can film schools ensure full accessibility for disabled students and faculty? This event was a conversation with RespectAbility Summer Lab alumni and current working Entertainment professionals, Laura Alsum, Michael Dougherty, Tyler Hoog, Andrew Reid, and Faith Strongheart. We discussed their lived experiences as disabled individuals who have navigated film school, and shared some best practices for schools to ensure accessibility for all.
RespectAbility celebrated seven great nights of Chanukah fun (taking Friday December 3rd off for Shabbat to relax and reflect). Each night we lit candles as a virtual group. Additionally, we featured two great members of our community who shared a very short (3-5 minute) and upbeat personal story or remark about Chanukah. Celebrations included candle lighting, maybe a song, the candle lighting prayers and perhaps a little schmoozing. It was very informal. [continue reading…]
Disability Representation In Film & Television: How It Can Impact Your Bottom Line in a Positive Way
At L.A. ComicCon, we hosted a panel on disability inclusion in film and television. Attendees learned how inclusion can positively impact their bottom line and stretch their marketing dollars for their feature film or television project. [continue reading…]
Jewish Funders Network – Unprecedented New Findings on Jews with Disabilities: What Does It Mean for the Future?
Jewish Funders Network hosted an exclusive presentation and facilitated discussion that covered the results of three major new studies on Jewish disability inclusion in the workforce. They discussed:
- Successful models from Jewish human service agencies for increasing employment for people with disabilities;
- What Leading Edge has learned about Jews and others with disabilities who work at Jewish organizations and where progress has been made;
- Findings from RespectAbility’s major study on the inclusion of Jews with disabilities inside Jewish groups;
- Big picture takeaways on where we go from here so that Jews and others with disabilities can thrive both inside and out of Jewish institutions.