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Disabilities

Person with disabilities sign

Jewish Disability Advocacy Day (JDAD) offers us an opportunity to urge lawmakers to support legislation that enhances the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities.

Nathan Bennett

Every holiday should be inclusive, but some lend themselves more naturally toward being inclusive than others. Sukkot is one of those.

Lisa Friedman

As we welcome guests this Sukkot, the sole label we should place on each other is an inclusive one: we are individuals with diverse needs.

Rabbi P.J. Schwartz

“I have a son with special needs. I would love to feel like there might be a place for him at Camp Harlam.” The words stood out to me on the page as if they were wrapped in neon lights.

Lori Zlotoff

As a child, I always loved hearing the Exodus story on Passover. But in adulthood, upon learning that Moses had a speech impairment, the drama took on new significance for me, because I, too, have a speech impairment due to having cerebral palsy.

Denise Sherer Jacobson
Steep staircase

The bimah is the heart of a temple's sanctuary – a gathering place for life cycle events, the focus of our High Holiday worship rituals, and the site that draws us together when we seek comfort from pain.

In 2007, I was diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis. In my case, it has lived up to its name, and has progressively weakened my body from the waist down, leaving me wheelchair bound. With the loss of my mobility, I also lost the ability to be called for an aliyah, to see the open Torah scroll, to participate in Selichot services, and to join with family and friends for birthday and anniversary blessings. For those of us unable to be on the bimah because of a physical disability, it is easy to feel left out of the Jewish community.

Sheldon Jaffe

The Ruderman Family Foundation recently released The Ruderman White Paper on Media Coverage of Law Enforcement Use of Force and Disability. As an authority on the topic of disabilities, the foundation issued this groundbreaking report to share its own perspective and help readers understand this complex issue.

Rabbi Edythe Held Mencher, L.C.S.W.

Many of us have had those moments – of sitting with others in synagogue or during a private moment – when prayer seems flat. The words don’t seem to reach us where we are at that time or place; they can’t lift us beyond our everyday worries and concerns. When I’m sitting in synagogue with my son, Akiva, I’m usually focused on his concerns.

Beth Steinberg

Just opening your door is not a mitzvah; it’s a start. What happens after the welcome is what really matters. It’s the critical difference between being tolerated and being valued – that difference is everything.

Pamela Rae Schuller
Congregants standing in sanctuary

I’ve often been taught that as the people of Israel, named after our forefather, we are meant to struggle with God. It just never occurred to me that could include the struggle to remain upright.

Moriah Benjoseph

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