A Word of Caution as Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month Ends

When we commit ourselves, we can be inclusive; Removing the Stumbling Block

Whew. We made it. Another Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month in the books. Quite a few people have heard me refer to February as tax season for those of us in the Jewish disability inclusion world. I am not even a little bit sad to see the month come to an end.

It is certainly a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness while highlighting great resources and the opportunities that already exist within our communities. I hope it has and will lead to the opening of new doors that were once closed.

But I want to make a request:

In a world that still focuses so heavily on programs over relationships, I worry that JDAIM itself becomes the answer for some communities. I am begging you to remember that in and of itself, JDAIM is NOT inclusion. No one program is inclusion.

Inclusion is a mindset. Inclusion is a way of thinking. 

Inclusion is how we behave and how we treat one another. It is a philosophy that embraces the idea that everyone has something of value to contribute and that everyone has a right to belong. When we commit ourselves to making our programs accessible – not just in the physical sense, but by ensuring that each person’s participation is truly meaningful – then we can call ourselves inclusive. We are not there yet.

So use the inspiration that the month of February provided and move your community forward.

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