Inclusion

Beyond The “Triple Crown” — A Prize For Which We All Can Compete

Competition and the possibility of victory can awaken the American “can-do” spirit in us all. We rightly support initiatives for people with disabilities to compete in athletic events.  Everyone should have the opportunity to strive (and even struggle) to achieve his or her “personal best.”

The Sports Dilemma

The parents of some children with disabilities face a dilemma every summer. If they send their children an integrated camp, the children may actually be segregated when it comes to the portion of each day devoted to athletic activity. 

Rabbi Michael Levy

What 13-Year-Old Boys At Camp Taught Me About Inclusion

One of my primary responsibilities as the inclusion coordinator at URJ Camp Harlam, a Reform Jewish summer camp in Pennsylvania, is to make sure that campers with a disability (or a “different ability”) are set up for success at camp. We provide them with similar accommodations as the ones they have at home and at school, allowing them to experience camp to their personal best, in keeping with their abilities. This can often take careful planning, thoughtful conversations among partners, and communicating the right information in the right way to our counselors.

New Online Inclusion Guide Helps Camp Prepare For All Campers

Editor's Note: It's summer camp season! We will be sharing voices from a wide range of Jewish camps throughout the summer.

As more Jewish camps across the country expand their programs to welcome campers of all abilities, a new online resource has been created in a partnership between the Foundation For Jewish Camp and the Ramah Camping Movement.  The “Inclusion Training Guide for Jewish Summer Camps” is a comprehensive guide that camps are able to download and use for staff training.

Families at a Tikvah Shabbaton at Ramah New England. Courtesy of Camp Ramah

Independence Days: 25 Years Of The Americans With Disabilities Act

Here in the U.S., we are about to celebrate Independence Day.  I’m from Philadelphia so July 4 is especially meaningful to me: After all, it was in the City of Brotherly Love that the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776. 

July is another celebration of American freedom. July 26 is the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Americans With Disabilities Act, the ADA. The ADA has been widely recognized as the Civil Rights Act for people with disabilities. It's a recognition by our nation that people with disabilities are to be treated with respect and dignity.

Steven Eidelman

Adam Dayan: Advocating For Students With Special Needs

Editor's Note: We are proud to share another one of The Jewish Week's "36 Under 36" who is an advocate for children with special needs.

Self-Advocate With Asperger's Syndrome Speaks Out On Inclusion

As a college student living with Asperger’s Syndrome, I have learned to know when I am being accepted and included. I’ve learned about my challenges and my strengths — and I speak out about what true inclusion feels like. When I am viewed as a person with unique areas of strengths in addition to unique areas of challenge instead of primarily as a person with special needs, I know that I am being fully included and accepted.

Teen Perspective: Don't Underestimate People With Disabilities

Editor's Note: As we recognize the 10 companies selected for the Ruderman "Best in Business' award, we are delighted to bring New Normal readers a teen perspective on employment and disability.

Actress Nikki Reed says, "What is important is to treat everyone like an individual and learning not to generalize disabilities.” She experiences autism first hand because her brother has autism. She strongly supports autism awareness and helping people understand that people with disabilities should be able to have a productive place in society.

Young adults with disabilities need jobs in today's workforce.

Jake Borenstein

36 Under 36: Tikvah Juni, Public Face Of Inclusion Advocacy

Editor's Note: At the "New Normal," we're excited that two of this year's "36 Under 36" winners work for more inclusion of people with disabilities. We're sharing one of the profiles today:

When Tikvah Juni was 16, she received her first standing ovation.

“I remember all the people, cheering and smiling,” said Juni, who had been the guest speaker at an event hosted by Yachad: The National Jewish Council for Disabilities.

“That was the first time I really believed the world could change,” she said. Since then, she’s been trying to change the world one speech at a time.

Juni, who has Down syndrome, travels around the U.S. teaching audiences about inclusion. In Washington, D.C., she even lobbied state and federal legislators to increase resources for special needs students.

Masorti Movement In Israel Speaks Out To President Rivlin

Yesterday, the Masorti Movement for Conservative Judaism in Israel sent a letter to Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, signed by the leaders of every major Conservative Jewish organization, urging him to reconsider the cancellation of a bar and bat mitzvah ceremony for children with disabilities.

The mayor of Rehovot, Israel had cancelled the bar mitzvah last month because it was taking place in a Conservative, not Orthodox, synagogue. That move sparked outrage on social media from the progressive Jewish community in Israel and around the world. In response, representatives of the Masorti Movement for Conservative Judaism and officials from the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs worked on a compromise with members of the President of Israel's office. The parents and children were happy with the outcome and it seemed like the ceremony was set to take place.

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