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Faith Inclusion and Belonging Newsletter

Ayala’s eyes darted around the screen, choosing words and pictures as her teacher asked her rapid-fire questions. Ayala, 11, has a cognitive disability that prevents her from speaking. But she can communicate thanks to a screen that reads her eye movements and transmits answers to questions. “Do you want to go to the bathroom? Say [click to continue...]

At Beit Issie Shapiro, joy is present every day – this is our protest to a world that views disability through the lens of helplessness and suffering. Beit Issie Shapiro, tucked away in Ra’anana, Israel, is a leading pioneer of innovative therapies and services to improve the lives of people with disabilities, impacting on almost [click to continue...]

Judaism taught me that we are all created in the image of God; the disability rights movement has taught me what this means.  This statement from Rabbi Ruti Regan, an Autistic Conservative Rabbi, has become a personal mantra that defines why disability inclusion is critical to us as a community. At the Jewish Federation of Greater [click to continue...]

Cori Ashkenazy was only two-and-a-half-years-old when he and his family made Aliyah, making Israel their new home. But it was only after their arrival to Israel that his parents became aware that their son was “different” than other kids his age: after a battery of tests and evaluations, Cori was diagnosed with autism. Undiscouraged, Cori’s family invested [click to continue...]

I don’t wear glasses, at least physically speaking. My identity as an American Jew with learning disabilities acts like glasses though. It is as if my disability is a lens teaching me the power of perspective. I can apply my Judaism lens to better understand my disability, and my disability helps me understand Judaism. Together [click to continue...]

For this week’s Shabbat Smile, we are honored to share the poignant and personal story of disability advocate Guila Franklin Siegel, Associate Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC). The ER geriatrician was matter-of-fact. “Your father has probably had mini-strokes. Usually we do a CT Scan to confirm the diagnosis but given [click to continue...]

Keshet, which means rainbow in Hebrew – has been my rainbow for the last 30+ years.  My name is Abbie Weisberg and I am the CEO of Keshet – [offering people with] special needs extraordinary opportunities. I often ask myself what life would have been like without the children, adults, families and staff here at Keshet? [click to continue...]

In considering great heroes, dates, places and milestones in the history of disabilities inclusion, one is more likely to think of Tom Harkin, ADA, and 1990 rather than think of Herb and Barbara Greenberg and Donny Adelman (z”l), 1970 and Camp Ramah in Glen Spey, New York. Yet, without the pioneers Greenberg and Adelman, there [click to continue...]

This week’s Shabbat Smile was written by Rabbi Lauren Tuchman, the first ordained female rabbi who is blind. As a rabbi and someone who is blind, I have a unique view of Moses (Moshe) and how G-d treated him. In The Book of Exodus, when we are introduced to Moshe, many interpret that he had a [click to continue...]

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