Inclusion Is Never An Accident

Inclusion Requires Intention; Removing the Stumbling Block

If you are following (I hope you are!) then you probably know that I haven’t blogged too much in the past two months. I could toss out the reasons - “I’ve been busy” and “the holidays were hectic” – and I wouldn’t be lying – but I know (and so do you) that these clichés are a cop out. Everyone is busy. Everyone’s life is hectic.

Prioritize inclusion; Removing the Stumbling BlockThings happen as a matter of prioritizing and making the time, not finding the time.

But before you read into my words that this blog isn’t a priority for me, it’s actually quite the opposite. As I come upon this blog’s two-year anniversary, I can’t help but reflect on the many doors that have opened. I've truly enjoyed the varied opportunities that writing this blog has brought my way – speaking opportunities & presentations, new connections, unique platforms from which to write... And for those who may not know, while I continue to serve as a full-time Educator at my Reform synagogue in NJ, I also joined the Matan team in July as the part-time Manager of Social Media & Alumni Networks. I am grateful for these opportunities, even when they have pulled me away from writing blog posts from time to time.

More significant is the fact that 2014 was also about greater opportunities for the world of Jewish inclusion at large. There seemed to be a rapid uptick in prioritizing inclusion within Jewish communities, schools, camps and organizations. Finally! We read more, we did more and we shared more than ever before. It’s exciting and has me feeling hopeful. The purpose of this blog has always been to help open the doors that might have otherwise remained closed for people with disabilities and their families looking for their place in the Jewish community.

Now here we are with 2015 wide open before us. It’s that time of year when so many are writing and talking about making resolutions. This is frankly something that I struggle with each year because I believe that most resolutions tend to become wishful thinking pretty quickly. Maybe my reticence stems from feeling as though New Year’s is more than a little redundant. After all, as Jews, we’ve already welcomed our new year, and we celebrated Rosh Hashanah after a month of significant reflection and introspection.

And so, how fortunate that I came across a blogging project called One Little Word. The premise is for bloggers to commit to a word that will guide their writing and focus for the year ahead. One word. It feels so much more honest to me than writing resolutions. 

I suppose you are expecting me to choose something like “inclusive” or “belonging”, but as I reflect on the opportunities of the year that has passed and look with excitement toward the possibilities that lie ahead, I find that our journey toward inclusion doesn’t happen by accident. Far from it. 

And so, my word for 2015 is INTENTION.

What’s yours?

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