February is Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month.
Resources and Best Practices
The Board of Rabbis of Southern California has teamed up with the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles' HaMercaz, the central resource for Jewish children with special needs and the families who love them, the Builders of Jewish Education, and other organizations partnered with the Federation to build inclusion for people with disabilities within the Jewish community. We invite you to join us in raising awareness of this issue in your own community -- and perhaps in yourself as well.
To support you in your efforts towards disabilities awareness and inclusion, the Board of Rabbis' rabbinic intern Miriam Philips has created and compiled the following resources for use in planning sermons, Torah study, prayer services, special programs, and both formal and informal education.
Igniting Your Writing
A comprehensive collection of disability-related resources for sermons and divrei Torah, articles and study sessions. These include:
- Ideas for sermons on disability awareness and inclusion.
- Special needs interpretations of February's Torah portions.
- A compilation of famous people with disabilities, from Biblical times to the present.
- Jewish texts to support or invite conversations on inclusion, disability, and holiness.
Services & Prayers
- Suggestions to assist clergy, educators and lay people in creating accessible services for community members with special needs, in both educational and worship contexts. You can also use this list for large and small groups to learn about special needs and explore inclusion.
- Prayers and meditations--for rabbis, parents, and community--written specifically to foster inclusion and address the needs of individuals and families struggling with disabilities.
- The Inclusion Confession--a new viddui meant to help recognize, name and internalize the many ways we exclude those in our community whose abilities differ from ours.
Stories & Tales
- Traditional Jewish stories to provoke, amuse and inspire. Use them for sermons, divrei Torah, tefillah, and classes with Jews of all ages.
Sermons & Articles
- Complete sermons as well as other pieces to inspire your own homiletics, articles, and teaching.
- Whether your community already practices intentional inclusion, or you are just beginning the conversation, this list of Selected Resources and Next Steps, ideas, tools, volunteer opportunities and best practices will support you and your leadership in creating a holy community accessible to all.
Additional Online Resources
- Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles' Inclusion Awareness page
- Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month's Facebook page
Disabilities Awareness webpages from the following Jewish organizations: