The mission of Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) is to unite Jewish communities worldwide to raise awareness and champion the rights of all Jews to be accepted and included in all aspects of Jewish life.
To participate in this effort, communities may:
- Include people with disabilities in all aspects of Jewish communal life.
- Urge Jews to welcome people with disabilities in the community.
- Advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
- Support people with disabilities to make their own decisions about how they want to belong to their Jewish community.
Judaic Learning & Engagement
Learn and engage with Judaism using resources that are accessible to all types of learners.
- Bring conversations about inclusion to your school or synagogue.
- Get ideas on how your synagogue or school can participate.
- Learn about and implement inclusion program models from one of the American Jewish movements:
- Spirituality of People with non-speaking Autism Dr. Karenne Hills
- What Led Us to Become Disability Inclusion Advocates Gabby Kaplan-Mayer and Shelly Christensen
- What the ADA Means to Faith Community Advocacy Aaron Kaufman
- Disability Employment Month Deborah Fisher PsyD
- The 4 A’s of Autism Dr. Stephen Shore
Take Steps Toward Inclusion
Sometimes it’s as easy as saying hello or offering help before it’s asked of you. Find out what else you can do to make people with special needs feel like they are part of the group.
- How To Include People with Special Needs in the Synagogue
- Announce page numbers often. Describe the prayer book and commentary by color and size, in addition to name. Show page numbers manually.
- Invite people with disabilities ahead of time to participate in a service. Honor them by being called to the Torah and help them practice the blessings. Ask people and their family members to offer a d’var Torah, carry the Torah, light Shabbat candles, and lead the Kiddush.
- If your bimah is not accessible, move the reading desk to the main level of the sanctuary so the Torah itself is accessible to all.
- Provide prayer books and Torah commentaries in an accessible format.
- During this month, engage in conversations about inclusion in Torah study and sermons. Extend the discussion to your board and committee meetings.
- Use social media to promote inclusion. Post about your events and quote text that resonates with Jewish values about inclusion. YouTube a short Torah commentary about inclusion.
- How To Include People with Disabilities — Respect Ability
- How Can I Plan Better Playdates for My Child with Autism? (lifehacker.com)
- How to ‘Hug’ a Kid With Autism (lifehacker.com)
Voting Becomes Inclusive
Last year when voters went to the polls, they were introduced to a new voting model to include people of all abilities. As the LA County website describes, “The final concept…ballots.” This accessible, modernized system incorporated feedback from individuals of all abilities and gave more people the ability to easily participate in the voting process.
Special Olympics Celebrating 50 Years of Inclusion
Special Olympics recently celebrated its 50th anniversary of the first International Special Olympics Games with a display that opened at the National Museum of American History in July 2018.
In her opening remarks at the first Special Olympic International Summer Games in Chicago in 1968, Founder of Special Olympics Eunice Kennedy Shriver expressed, “…children with intellectual disabilities can be exceptional athletes” and that “through sports they can realize their potential for growth.” She pledged that this new organization, Special Olympics, would offer people with intellectual disabilities everywhere “the chance to play, the chance to compete, and the chance to grow.”