This document exists because of several current and former members of RespectAbility’s professional team: Lauren Appelbaum, Eric Ascher, Debbie Fink, Matan Koch, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi and Joshua Steinberg, and the dedication of several dynamic board members, past and present, including our Jewish Inclusion co-chairs Shelley Richman Cohen and Vivian Bass, as well as Linda Burger, Judith Creed, Heidi Krizer Daroff, Ila Eckhoff, Neil Jacobson, Dana Marlow, Donna Meltzer, Gabrielle Einstein Sim and Delbert Whetter. RespectAbility also thanks three of our National Leadership Fellows, Baksha Ali (Spring 2020), Blair Webb (Summer 2020) and Nicole Olarsch (Summer 2021), for their research assistance.
The toolkit reaches its true vibrance and value, however, because of the contributions of our co-authors, Rabbi Lauren Tuchman and Rabbi Darby Leigh, for bringing their learning and experience as rabbis with disabilities to this project, and Sharon Ann Dror, who provided valuable feedback to the authors.
RespectAbility would like to thank the donors and foundations who generously funded this project, as well as the other generous funders of its work, including Steven and Lisa Abramowitz; The Stanford and Joan Alexander Foundation; Sandy Baklor and Arlene Kaufman; Vivian and Raymond Bass; The Belz Foundation; The David Berg Foundation; Bernstein Family Foundation; John Bessonette; The Beverly Foundation; Stanley & Joyce Black Family Foundation; Linda and Andy Burger; Shelley and Ruvan Cohen; Cheri Fox; Friedel Family Foundation; Michael and Linda Frieze; Diane & Guilford Glazer Philanthropies; Margo Sim Gleitman; Lawrence S. and Phyllis C. Goldberg; Roberta Goldstein; Wayne Goldstein and Tara Slone-Goldstein; Nancy Grossman-Samuel; Andrew and Jan Groveman; Susan & Jeffrey Harris; Robert Horwitz; Aline and Leo Jacobsohn Foundation; Beatriz and Harold Jacobsohn; Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles; Laura Kam; Charles and Esther Lee Kimerling Charitable Foundation; Joseph & Phyllis Korff; John and Pat Laszlo; Nancy Laszlo; Levitt Foundation; Aaron and Ahuva Orlofsky; Gary and Esther Polland; Jarrow Rogovin; Ben and Esther Rosenbloom Foundation; Dr. Michael L. Ross and Elizabeth F. Ross; Yisroel and Rivka Schulman; The Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation; The Schwartz Creed Foundation; Marilyn Einstein and Steven Sim Charitable Fund; Ann and Andrew Tisch Family Fund; and the Weingart Foundation.
The power of the toolkit like this is when it reaches the people who will actually use it. With that in mind, we are extraordinarily grateful to our copromoters of the original guide, who have not only lent their name, but are the driving force to ensure this toolkit, and the inclusion that it will make possible, reach those who need it. We thank: Avodah, BJE JkidLA, B’nai David-Judea Congregation, Edlavitch DCJCC, IKAR, Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ – Greater MetroWest ABLE, Jewish Federations of North America, Jewish Los Angeles Special Needs Trust, JGateways, JQ International, Keshet, Keshet: For LGBTQ Equality in Jewish Life, Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah, Matan, Moment Magazine, National Ramah Commission, Reconstructing Judaism, Shalom Institute, The Jewish Journal, The Miracle Project, The Women’s Rabbinic Network, Union for Reform Judaism, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and Whole Community Inclusion at Jewish Learning Venture.
We also would like to acknowledge the Jewish leaders with disabilities featured in our cover art and the photographers: Rabbi Darby Leigh, in a black-and-white action shot photographed by Tate Tullier; Rabbi Peter Levy and Amy Dattner-Levy leading services, shot by Allegra Boverman Photography; Project Moses participant Dr. Julie Madorsky, dancing with the Torah with the Women of the Wall; and RespectAbility’s own Program Associate for Jewish Leadership, Joshua Steinberg, on the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah.
To all of you, we offer our thanks for helping us to ensure that Jews with disabilities can join with our communities at the holiest time of the Jewish year. May you all be inscribed in the Book of Life, for happiness, blessing and peace.