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.

A Camp for All Children

A reflection by Lisa Handelman, Director of Capital Camps In late spring 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, Capital Camps received several emails from parents who shared that there were many tears shed at their homes when COVID-19 forced Capital Camps to cancel traditional overnight camp. After we started offering virtual programing, at least

Flourishing in Jewish Day School

A reflection from Lianne Heller, Executive Director of Sulam When you meet Elana Orlofsky, you will quickly learn that she is a sweet, bubbly, and friendly teenager who loves art, music, talking to and texting friends, cooking, baking, doing community service, and, of course, having lots of fun. Elana was born with Down Syndrome in

MOST™ Program Opens Door to Adulthood Through Virtual Spaces

A reflection from Marcy Bennett, Director of MOST Programs and Northern Virginia Residential Services Jewish Foundation for Group Homes Bridging the gap between the completion of secondary school and joining the adult workforce can be a challenge for young adults with disabilities because real-life guidance is often limited. That’s where the Jewish Foundation for Group

Meet Jolie Band, the ”Brownie Queen” of Federation partner Sunflower Bakery

A reflection from Federation partner, Sunflower Bakery “Learning differences made it hard at college. I didn’t know what I wanted to do.” This was the dilemma facing 23-year-old Jolie Band, as well as so many others her age. She heard about Sunflower Bakery’s Employment Training Programs and began the Café Sunflower Program. One month in,

Introducing Rinat Kisin, Federation Inclusion Specialist

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is pleased to welcome Rinat Kisin to our professional team as our Inclusion & Belonging Specialist. Learn more about Rinat’s background, what she sees as our community’s greatest priorities, and her outlook on how, together, we can create a more welcoming, inclusive, and vibrant Jewish community. Tell us about

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