Disability Inclusion Stories

Welcome to Federation’s Hot Topics: Inclusion Stories! Read on for reflections from our team and members of the Greater Washington Jewish community, news from around the world and opportunities to create a more inclusive community.

The State of Disability Inclusion in Greater Washington

A reflection from Lisa Handelman, Federation’s Disability Inclusion Specialist. “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” (Pirkei Avot 2:21). This quote is often used in the context of social action work, those endeavors that are too big for any one person to handle alone, yet

Drag Queen Story Time and Havdalah Celebrates Message of Inclusion and Self-Acceptance

By Sarah Rabin Spira, Manager, PJ Library Glitter and drag queens and family Havdalah service—oh my!  The recent Drag Queen Story Time and Havdalah embodies The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s values of inclusion, education and meaningful ritual. It also represents what can happen when community organizations work together to promote purposeful social and religious

Including Everyone in Israel, February and Beyond

By Heidi Krizer Daroff, North America Director of The Israel Forever Foundation I received an alert on my phone about Israeli Air Force pilots ejecting out of their fighter jet during an escalation in the northern part of the country. One pilot was slightly wounded, the other severely injured. My thoughts went immediately to the pilot’s

Meet Jacob, Federation’s Inspirational Intern

In honor of Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month, Federation’s Disability Inclusion Specialist Lisa Handelman sat down with our colleague Jacob Werbin, a member of the Federation team whose life has not only been affected by inclusive programming in our community, but who has helped shape the future of inclusion in Greater Washington. About 20

From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

This JDAIM, Learning from Those Who Lead by Example

By Gil Preuss Did you know that January 26 is Dental Drill Appreciation Day? By chance, I had a dentist appointment that day, where I was surprised to learn that even my dentist did not know this “fun” fact. Appreciation days and months are not a new phenomenon in our society, but as they seem

LGBTQ Rights from Israel to DC and Back Again

This article was originally published in Washington Blade. Itsik Sayag came to Washington 10 months ago to work as a Shaliach (an emissary) with The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s Shlichim Program. He’s one of 16 here in a program that places young Israelis in Jewish congregations in the D.C. area to teach American Jews

If Your Synagogue Doesn’t Have Members with Disabilities, You May Be Doing Something Wrong

This article was originally published in Medium. By Aaron Kaufman, Disability Inclusion Advocate Aaron Kaufman shares his personal experience living with cerebral palsy from childhood into adulthood, and his professional career as an advocate for people with disabilities. “According to a study by RespectAbilityUSA and JerusalemU.org conducted in 2013, most American Jews with disabilities feel

5 Ways To Celebrate Disabilities Awareness Month: Buzzfeed

From buzzfeed.com In honor of Disabilities Awareness Month, check out these five ways you can create a more inclusive environment for people with disabilities in your place of work, worship, or otherwise. At The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, we believe this month of disability awareness is a movement for cultural change. We are committed

Imagine Israel Podcast Episode #3: Incorporating Israel’s invisible population

VIEW ON ITUNES! Avner Stepak, former CEO of the second largest investment house in Israel, is revolutionizing Israel’s corporate world to include the previously overlooked population of individuals with disabilities. Stepak shares his motivation to create jobs that mutually benefit businesses and individuals with disabilities. “It’s really an issue of human rights. It’s not an issue

How To Build A More Inclusive Jewish Community

This article was originally published in The Forward. By Lisa Handelman, Federation’s Community Disability Inclusion Specialist Judaism values inclusion. Yet, according to a study conducted in 2013 by RespectAbilityUSA and JerusalemU, most American Jews with disabilities feel excluded from their own gathering places. National Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM), created in 2009, was