By Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer, Director, Whole Community Inclusion

On Wednesday, October 22nd, the Jewish Special Needs Consortium of Greater Philadelphia met at Jewish Learning Venture. The Consortium is comprised of professionals from agencies and lay leaders from synagogues who meet regularly to set goals to educate and guide the Jewish community about inclusion. The meeting focused on this year’s “Opening the Gates of Torah” workshop series, beginning with an educators’ workshop on inclusion taking place on November 23rd.

Each month, I am inspired and energized by the creativity and collaboration of the consortium, which is overseen by Jewish Learning Venture as part of our Whole Community Inclusion initiative. This year’s Opening the Gates of Torah series will allow us to reach people who have not yet come to our conferences. “It takes a village to make inclusion work and we are bringing everyone to the table in order to communicate and coordinate our efforts,” says Jaime Bassman, AZAR: Occupational Therapy Supports For Jewish Learning.

This year, the Jewish Special Needs Consortium has produced a new resource for the community: a calendar of events for people with special needs and their families. The consortium calendar can be viewed online and is also printed as a quarterly brochure that is being distributed to synagogues, doctor’s offices, coffee shops and other venues.