Thursday, February 5, 2015

Honoring Jewish Disability Awareness Month



God saw everything, and it was good; Lisa Friedman

“God saw everything that God had made, and behold, it was very good.”
Genesis 1:31

So how do we make sure that everything really means everything?

It’s not everything except

It’s not everyone but

God made everything, and it was good. It was very good.

Jewish Disability Awareness Month; Lisa FriedmanFebruary is Jewish Disability Awareness Month (JDAM). Pretty cool, right? JDAM is designed to be a unified initiative to raise disability awareness and support efforts to foster inclusion in Jewish communities worldwide.

But I have to be honest. I struggle with the concept of disability awareness. When we look around us we can readily notice that people come in all shapes and sizes, each one of us different than every other. God made us that way. On purpose. Remember, God saw everything, and it was good.

So I don’t really think that we need people to become more aware of disabilities. Rather, I think we must all genuinely learn how to be accepting of one another’s differences. This is why the JDAM tagline makes sense to me – FROM Awareness to Inclusion.

One of the ways that I will be marking this month is through an effort called JDAMblogs. I will post on Jewish Special Needs Education: Removing the Stumbling Block daily throughout the month, including a place on my February 1 post to link up all the posts. To participate, you can blog on anything that relates to disability, accessibility, inclusion, etc.

Here’s a little inspiration:

JDAMblogs, @JewishSpecialEd


But really, there are no rules. You can blog daily, although it’s not required. You can write, draw, share photos or even a video. You don’t have to be an inclusion expert or a Jewish Educator or even a Jewish professional to contribute. In fact, I hope that parents, loved ones and self-advocates will participate. You don’t even have to be Jewish!  How wonderful it would be to see churches and ministries join in this effort! EVERY voice matters. Isn’t that the point, after all? All you really need is a desire to contribute in some way. Share your voice.

Here’s how to join JDAMblogs: Tag each blog post you write with JDAMblogs. Use the hashtag #JDAMblogs on Twitter and Facebook. Visit my blog again on February 1 to link up your blog and share your posts with others. Tweet me and tag me on Facebook so that I can promote as many of these posts as possible. 

Together we can make the Jewish Disability Awareness Month tagline a reality: From Awareness to Inclusion!

PRAY:  Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, m’shaneh habriyot - Blessed are You, Eternal God, ruler of the universe, who makes creatures different.

~ Lisa Friedman

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