By Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer, Director, Whole Community Inclusion

Every year, Jewish Learning Venture’s “Whole Community Inclusion” shares a number of programs during February in recognition of Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month (JDAIM). Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month is a unified international initiative during the month of February to raise disability awareness and support efforts to foster inclusion in Jewish communities worldwide. 

This year, we are launching a new initiative called JDAIM Shabbat Across Philadelphia and are asking every synagogue in our area to dedicate one Shabbat service to disability inclusion issues through a D’var Torah, special speaker or simply sharing by congregants about their experiences. 

Each year during JDAIM, several books by Jewish authors highlighting disability issues are chosen for JDAIM Reads. Synagogues, JCCs, book groups and other organizations are encouraged to read and discuss these books during February.


I am very pleased to announce that my new book The Little Gate-Crasher has been chosen along with Ketchup Is My Favorite Vegetable by Liane Kupferberg Carter as the 2017 Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month (JDAIM) featured reading selections.

Save the Date: Liane and I are excited to share a reading, discussion and q and a, co-sponsored by Melrose B’nai Israel Emanu-El for February 26th We are also available to lead book talks in person or via Skype for your community.

In The Little-Gate Crasher: the Life And Photos of Mace Buge, I share the amazing story of my Great-Uncle Mace Bugen–an unstoppable spirit, first generation Jewish American, self-made millionaire, celebrity gate-crasher–who was 43 inches tall. Mace’s unstoppable spirit defied the challenges of his own physical limitations and society’s prejudices towards people with dwarfism.

Learn more about JDAIM and JDAIM Reads at