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The Power of Inclusion
This blog is part of a series written in recognition of Inclusion Awareness Month by members of our community with a disability highlighting each of their visions for inclusion in our community:
My Fellow Jews,
With G-d's loving grace I am blessed with the opportunity to write this article and I pray that it should bring everyone reading it closer to G-d and may the words that I write be gratifying to G-d and sanctify his holy name.
You know there are very few feelings that are more painful than being ignored. And very few more gratified than being accepted and loved. Sadly there's way too much hate and strife in this world that we live in. Sometimes life can be like a battlefield that we're just stuck in the middle of. Please join me in making this world a better place. We can do this with the Torah's words "You shall love your fellow as you love yourself" and "you shall not hate your brother in your heart." The way to end strife in the world is to make the change in ourselves. See if we may be slandering others; see if we may not be very nice to others. An organization that really is kind to everyone and who strives to involve everyone is Etta Israel.
It's not just supporting organizations like this though which don't get me wrong everyone should support. It also takes going out with a personal effort and helping others who aren't involved. Just recently, from the publication of this article was the 10th day of the month of Shvat. The 10th of Shvat was the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchak HaNasi Schneerson OBM the Sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Noach Weinberg OBM the founder of Aish HaTorah, and the day that Rabbi Menachem Mendel HaNasi Schneerson OBM became the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe. All of these men were men who did everything they could to make sure every Jew could be involved in a Jewish community, whether they were very religious or not religious at all. It is because of the Lubavitcher Rebbe that there are religious Jewish communities all over the world with people who do everything they can to show love to every Jew regardless of their religious level. The famous Rabbi Akiva OBM was a poor ignorant shepherd who no one included. He eventually became the spiritual leader of our entire nation because his wife Rebbitzon Rachel OBM included him. Everyone once again please stand with me in this effort to bring peace to the world through love of our fellows!
May G-d bless each and every one of you!
Moshe Bienenfeld is 24 years old and is a public speaker, article author and Torah Scholar. Moshe learns at the LINK kollel and sometimes in Mishkan Torah and lives in the Valley with a roommate. Moshe suffered through years of depression from not knowing how to handle Autism but got peace for the first time in his life when he became religious at 19. He is now an informal teacher for anyone who wishes to learn from him. Moshe is also the unofficial spokesman for Etta Israel.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles believes that everyone in our community should have the opportunity to experience and celebrate our shared values, history and traditions. Making Jewish life more accessible for all is one of our top priorities, which is why we are part of a national effort to raise awareness about members of the Jewish community with disabilities. Go to www.jewishla.org/Inclusion for more information.