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Jewish Disability Perspectives

I am a Jewish Inclusion Fellow at RespectAbility, but I’ve always had a complicated relationship with my Jewish identity. I have always enjoyed eating potato latkes at Hanukkah, and appreciated the ritual of reevaluating oneself during the time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but I know very little about Judaism, beyond these cultural touchstones. [click to continue...]

Those who follow the work of RespectAbility know that Lauren Appelbaum, our VP of Communications, is the incredible dynamic force behind our Hollywood Inclusion work. Lauren is also a deeply committed Jew, a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary, and a superstar Jewish mom. It’s perhaps not surprising, therefore, that Jewish Women International chose Lauren [click to continue...]

As you know, a major focus of our Jewish program is providing varied venues for Jews with disabilities to enrich the Jewish community with their talent. A critical facet of the Jewish experience is artistic expression through:  music, visual arts, dance, photography, creative writing and poetry. As a people, we have celebrated many great poets:  Emma Lazarus (“Give [click to continue...]

Election Day came, Election Day went. Each American experienced the ensuing, nail-biting days differently. We are delighted that several disability allies – from both parties – won their races. We look forward to partnering with them and others in the future. Disability or no disability, the voting process during a pandemic was a feat. This feat was [click to continue...]

Glass Half Full: Acquiring A Disability: by Rachael Risby Raz

On Rosh Hashanah, my phone was buzzing with dancing shofar GIFs, pomegranate pictures, and jokes about how we Jews had finished this challenging year. Among these was a strange message from my friend Avi, saying “Just remember, it could always be worse!” Little did I know that this quirky ‘blessing’ would become a mantra for [click to continue...]

Though tonight begins Shmini Atzeret, this week RespectAbility joyously celebrated Sukkot with a gathering in our virtual sukkah. HUC student and Jewish advisory committee member Rachel Rothstein taught us about the holiday. She opened with upbeat Israeli music, reminding us that the rabbis called Sukkot “the time of our joy”. After performing the ritual of [click to continue...]

I write you today with a story and a request. It was a year ago this week on the Jewish calendar that RespectAbility decided it was time for me to move from Boston to Los Angeles to take the reins of our Los Angeles-based Jewish projects. Los Angeles (and everywhere else) has a shortage of [click to continue...]

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