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Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month

Senator Tammy Duckworth greets smiling advocates in attendance at Jewish Disability Advocacy Day in Washington DC

I am so grateful for the experience I had at JDAD 2018, and I am inspired by the unique approach the Jewish community takes to advocacy on these complex issues.

Sylvia Levy
US Capitol building against a cloudy blue sky

 

Legislation that creates waiting periods for people with disabilities to exert their rights is unacceptable.

Jonah Baskin
Smiling woman leans over two employees at laptop as if to help them with their work

It’s easy to say you want to hire someone with disabilities, but how do you go about it? For me, it’s been trial and error rooted in the philosophy that the best way to accommodate someone is to listen to what they need, and not make any assumptions.

Dana Marlowe
Closeup of a mans hand with his index finger running across a Braille page

When I was 7, my parents ordered a braille prayer book for me from the Jewish Braille Institute. When I went to the synagogue with them, I proudly carried my siddur and tried to read along – but I didn’t yet know the Hebrew braille alphabet.

Arielle Silverman
Thumbs up toward the sky

Like any child, growing up I relied on the support of my parents. Due to my severe learning disabilities, this support was even more essential.

Joseph D. Robbins
Blond mother looking down as she tries to soothe a crying baby she holds in her arms

Somehow, I was able to switch my functioning self on and off, smiling and rabbinic at work but in howling despair at home. Finally, my OB/Gyn diagnosed me with postpartum depression.

Rabbi Sandra Cohen
Front of a classroom with a large chalkboard and an empty teachers desk with a laptop and school supplies

I am a living, breathing example of what the ADA can do for public school students in need of services. If someone tries to tell you otherwise, share my story. It's not one in a million. It's one of millions.

Alexandra Gilbert
Bat mitzvah girl holding Torah scroll

As Netta’s mom, I maintain balance between others accepting Netta for who she is – a child who has medical and developmental needs – and holding expectations high.

Allyson Perling
Man in a wheelchair facing a sunrise with his arms up as though celebrating

February is Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month, and today, people with disabilities are also wandering the proverbial desert, exiting one era but not quite ready to enter a new one.

Neil Jacobson
White puzzle with one piece missing

I was 20 when I learned that my first love had committed suicide. His death shattered me, both mentally and emotionally – but it also saved my life. You see, in the months leading up to his suicide, I had been planning my own.

Kate Bigam

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