For Rosh Hashanah: Tuning Our Ears To All The Angels

My company Actionplay is an inclusive group that relies on ensemble-based performance to build social communities that rise above the feeling of being excluded. We embody the notion that in difference there is great strength. The meaningful and supportive relationships that are formed in our rehearsal room are essential for those of us who don’t quite fit the norm.

Actionplay performers. Courtesy of Aaron Feinstein

Ruderman Family Foundation Awards $250,000 To Five Inclusion In Disability Innovators

The Ruderman Family Foundation announced today the five winners of the fourth annual global Ruderman Prize in Inclusion competition. The Prize honors Jewish organizations who operate innovative programs and provide services that foster the full inclusion of people with disabilities in their local Jewish community. The winners: Yavne Institute (Montevideo, Uruguay), Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland (Cleveland, United States), Kisharon’s Adult Employment Programme (London, United Kingdom), Room on the Bench (Brooklyn, United States) and Beit Hillel (Ra’anana, Israel). Each winner will receive $50,000 to continue their work and pursue new opportunities for inclusion in their local communities.More information about each prize winner is listed below.

Bageltoons: Inclusive Cartooning

Over the last few weeks, our New Normal blog has been featuring reflections and perspectives on the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

We know that employment is one area in which people with disabilities are still struggling. Last June, The Ruderman Family Foundation, in partnership with The Jewish Week Media Group, proudly announced the recipients of the inaugural "Best in Business" Award. This national competition highlights North American businesses, large corporations and family-owned, who have shown exemplary practices in hiring, training and supporting people with disabilities.

“Everyone has a fundamental right to be included in our society and the best way to achieve full inclusion is through meaningful employment,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation.

Bagletoons celebrates inclusive employment. Courtesy of Bageltoons LLC

Terrific Summer Reading List To Teach Kids & Teens About Disabilities

If you are anything like me, you eagerly await the summer months to finally make a sizable dent in that pile of books adorning your nightstand. My summer reading list typically includes a mix of young adult novels, professional books and a healthy handful of books for fun.

Lisa Friedman

The Jewish Week, Ruderman Family Foundation Launch ‘Best in Business’ Awards

The Jewish Week Media Group, in partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation, is proud to announce an innovative competition highlighting North American for profit businesses with exemplary practices in hiring, training and supporting people with disabilities.

Those selected will be recognized with a Ruderman “Best in Business Award” and featured in a June 19 supplement to The Jewish Week, which will be posted on The Jewish Week’s website and distributed in New York and Los Angeles.

“The surest path to full inclusion in our society comes from meaningful employment” said Jay Ruderman, the foundation’s president.


The Exodus from Egypt: A Model for Future Liberations

Each Shabbat from January 10 through January 31, 2015, the Torah portions recited in synagogues recount how God liberated the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. For those who are oppressed, Jews and non-Jews alike, the Exodus recalls the determination of slaves to be free and the compassion of God, the Liberator.

Belief-The First Step Towards Liberation

Before the Exodus, no slave had ever escaped from Egypt. Many Israelite slaves, even as redemption neared, succumbed to despair. An important first step towards liberation is realizing that God is not limited by what we humans may consider "the impossible."

From Darkness To Light: Opportunities For People With Disabilities

When I was a little girl I would dream about what other little Jewish girls would dream about. I played house with my dolls and I would dream about growing up, getting married and having children. But as I got older – as a 12-13 year old – I got stuck in an institution and that was society’s way of telling me that my dreams were not realistic.

Society, back then in the 1960s, was very different than it is today. To lock someone away in a prison-like environment because they’re mentally challenged was common back then.  It was horrible. Places like that don’t exist anymore, Baruch Hashem.

Phyllis Lit

How Sarah Palin Killed My New Year's Buzz

My 2015 was off to a great start. I’d made some time the week before to reflect on my goals for the new year and managed to take some action steps to making them happen. My sister-in-law graciously offered to babysit our kids on New Years Eve and my husband and I enjoyed one of the best dinners out we’ve had in some time. On New Years Day, we took our children out to experience the Mummers Parade, a loud, overstimulating Philadelphia tradition that my son, who has autism, not only managed but really enjoyed.

But then the buzz kill came.

The author's son walking his dog. Courtesy of Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer
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