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Jewish Disability Perspectives

Simchat Torah (which translates to Rejoicing with the Torah in English) is a Jewish holiday which occurs at the end of Sukkot. Filled with music, dancing and beautiful imagery, it is a time of celebration that includes reading the end of Deuteronomy, the beginning of Genesis, and dancing in seven traditional Hakafot (circular dances) each [click to continue...]

I had not been familiar with Sukkot growing up, as my family did not celebrate and we did not live anywhere near a Synagogue. So the first time I experienced Sukkot was during my undergraduate experience at Hillel. Our assistant director at the time had offered me the task of drawing the Etrog and Lulav [click to continue...]

Every year on Yom Kippur, the most solemn Jewish holiday, “sin” and “repentance” are the key words stuck in my head. But for someone who is already experiencing depression and/or other mental illness, these themes can be extremely upsetting and even harmful to think about. For people like me who live with depression, especially when [click to continue...]

In my five years as Executive Director of JLA Trust & Services, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that helps Jewish and non-Jewish adults with a range of disabilities enjoy a high quality of life with affordable pooled special needs trusts, I have noticed one clear determinant of wellness and happiness for our clients. Is there a [click to continue...]

Have you encountered an autistic student in your synagogue or religious school classroom? Have you wanted to interact with this student, but were unsure how to? These questions can be answered in many ways, but it requires collaboration between the students, parents, educators, and administration. Acceptance from classmates and the congregation as a whole is [click to continue...]

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