We Have To Teach So We Can Employ

You are hired; Removing the Stumbling Block

Jewish professionals (educators, rabbis, cantors, youth directors, camp professionals, etc.) feel great pride when “one of their own” goes on to a career in the Jewish world. I know that I am thrilled when “kids” we have raised in our congregation come back to teach in our religious school. And when asked, most Jewish professionals will cite meaningful Jewish experiences such as camp, trips to Israel, or youth group participation as well as specific relationships that they formed with “their” rabbi, educator, or youth director as the reason why they pursued a Jewish professional life.

I continue to feel deep pride that we are, at my synagogue, giving all children and teens the opportunity to have those experiences and build those relationships.

However, we are remiss if we do not take it beyond school. Only 25 percent of people with disabilities are meaningfully employed. This is not due to a lack of desire or capability to work. That individuals who are otherwise capable, qualified, and eager to work are denied opportunity based solely on disability is infuriating.

Thankfully, there are a few gems that are on a mission to change this trend. If you do not know about Bitty & Beau's Coffee or No Limits Cafe, you should. These companies are showing the world how to meaningfully celebrate the skills and talents that everyone can bring into the work force. 

School is important; a critical starting point, and we have to take it beyond grade school. 

Our colleges and graduate programs must teach accessibility and inclusion while being accessible and inclusive. 

Are we then equipped to make Jewish professional life a reality? To truly call ourselves inclusive we must find the way to go beyond accessible and inclusive Jewish education and programming for children to supporting all aspects of Jewish life. 

Does your community offer accessible jobs in the Jewish world?

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A Blogging Effort for Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month - #JDAIMblogs

The true value of this month lies in raising awareness that there is so much more we can and should be doing to include those with disabilities; Removing the Stumbling Block

Today marks the first day of February and the official start of Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month. JDAIM is designed to be a unified initiative to raise disability awareness and support efforts to foster inclusion in Jewish communities worldwide.

Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month logo; Removing the Stumbling Block
The true value of this month lies in raising the awareness that there is so much more we can and should be doing to include those with disabilities in our Jewish communities. 

I will do my best to blog often during the month of February in honor of JDAIM. I hope you will add your voice.

I encourage you to tweet me and tag Removing the Stumbling Block on Facebook so that I can share your content. 

As a Jewish Educator and Inclusion Expert I realize that the vague nature of “join me in blogging” could be overwhelming for some. You are free to blog on anything that relates to disability, accessibility, inclusion, etc. And if writing is “not your thing”, share a photo or artwork or a quote or a video. Honor your own expressive style and do what is most comfortable and most accessible for you. 

Don’t shy away from sharing your voice!

Blogging Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month - #JDAIMblogs

Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month logo; Removing the Stumbling Block

For those of you who have been following this event for a few years or more, you will note that the acronym has evolved. Since 2009, Jewish Disability Awareness Month has taken place each February with the tagline “From Awareness to Inclusion”. In keeping with that trend, the various organizers of this annual event added “I” for inclusion as well as Acceptance. 

In honor of Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) I am launching another JDAIMblogs effort. It is an opportunity for us to collectively shed light on the wonderfully inclusive things that are happening in our Jewish world. 

Here’s how to join JDAIMblogs: Tag each post with #JDAIMblogs. Use the hashtag #JDAIMblogs on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Tweet me (@JewishSpecialEd) and tag Removing the Stumbling Block on Facebook or Instagram so that I can help to promote as many of these posts as possible. Feel free to come back often and link each of your #JDAIMblogs posts. This will allow readers to find one another’s posts, spread the word about their own, and generally serve as an online gathering space for the JDAIM blogging efforts. 

Write about Jewish disability inclusion in any way you choose. You can blog daily, if you want; but you can also draw, share photos, or even a make a video. You don’t have to be an inclusion expert or a Jewish professional to contribute. In fact, I hope that self-advocates, parents, loved ones and others across all faith communities will participate. EVERY voice matters. Isn’t that the point of inclusion, after all? All you really need is a desire to contribute in some way. Blog once or blog every day. Tweet. Post a picture. Share a Facebook status.

Share your voice.

Announcement: Removing the Stumbling Block website

I am incredibly excited to share the

Letter to spell welcome on colorful tiles and the words we are building an inclusive community; Removing the Stumbling Block

I hope that you will visit me there!

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Do not publish, curate, sell, post, or distribute all or any part of this blog's content without express permission of the author. You are invited, however, to share links to posts on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites. If you are interested in republishing any Removing the Stumbling Block content on your own blog, in a newsletter, or if you wish to use any content in another educational way, please contact me. I am also available to write unique content for your specific network.