By Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer,
Director, Whole Community Inclusion

WCI-webimageAs part of my work directing Jewish Learning Venture’s Whole Community Inclusion initiative, I have the honor of working with leaders from schools, synagogues, and organizations across the area that are doing the import work of making their communities more accessible and welcoming for people with disabilities and their families.

While we are barely half-way through January, I am looking towards February, Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month (JDAIM). Though we know that inclusion is a 365-day-year effort, JDAIM is a unified national initiative to raise disability awareness and support efforts to foster inclusion in Jewish communities worldwide.

Locally, Jewish Learning Venture offers a number of opportunities for people to participate in JDAIM, and we invite you to mark your calendars and join us for one or more of these programs:

Online Expressive Art Gallery: Individuals, schools and synagogues are invited to participate in our second annual online Expressive Art Gallery to raise awareness about inclusion of people of all abilities. Learn how to participate here.

Executive Directors and Synagogue Leaders Breakfast & Conversation: A conversation about successes and challenges of inclusion in your congregations. February 4th, 9:00am, at Jewish Learning Venture.

“Opening the Gates of Torah” Yom Limmud: Day of Learning: Join The Jewish Special Needs Consortium of Greater Philadelphia for a communal conversation on disability and living a meaningful life. The afternoon includes networking time, an inclusion fair, break-out groups and a powerful keynote by Rabbi Charles Sherman. February 7th, 2:00pm, at Har Zion Temple.

Sensory-Friendly Access Event: a partnership of NMAJH, JCHAI and Jewish Learning Venture’s Whole Community Inclusion. We invite children, teens and adults of all abilities to join us for art activities at the National Museum of American Jewish History in a quiet setting, with a specially-designed museum tour. Great for all families! February 15th, 10:00am at the National Museum of American Jewish History.

Clergy Breakfast & Conversation: Join us for a conversation for rabbis and cantors lead by Rabbi Michelle Greenfield on inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in your community focusing particularly on life cycle events. February 18th, 9:00am at Jewish Learning Venture.

Reshet Session for Inclusion Committees, Educators and TAP Participants: How would you rate your synagogue on inclusion efforts? Join members of our Teen Assistant Program, inclusion volunteers and synagogue professionals for a session focusing on problem-solving challenges to synagogue inclusion. February 18th, 7:00pm at Jewish Learning Venture.

For even more opportunities to participate, visit our Whole Community Inclusion Calendar which highlights programs offered by our Jewish Special Needs Consortium Members.

We look forward to seeing you at one or more of these important events!