Yesterday marked the official launch of RespectAbility USA, a non-profit organization whose mission is helping the 57 million Americans with disabilities achieve the American dream. In RespectAbility’s version that dream, Americans with disabilities are respected members of the workforce and wield significant political power. The current reality, according to RespectAbility, is that 70 percent of working-aged Americans with disabilities are unemployed.
During my seven summers at Ramah Wisconsin’s Tikvah program, I learned that my bunkmates from other cities struggled to be included with their Jewish peers in their own communities. Many of my disabled peers often had their only Jewish education and Jewish peer interactions during the summer at Ramah, while I felt very fortunate to have had a strong group of Jewish peers and a regular Jewish education at my own synagogue, B’nai Amoona in St. Louis, MO.
Schools, a shul and a bakery won the second annual Ruderman Prize in Disability, which recognizes organizations who foster the inclusion of people with disabilities in their local Jewish community, the Ruderman Family Foundation announced today in a press release.
Editor's note: The author of this post is the cousin of Jennifer Lazslo Mizrahi, a valued supporter of and contributor to The New Normal.
I recently got together with my cousin Jennifer. Even though we live on two sides of the Atlantic (I live in Israel), she does her best to make sure we stay in touch. When we do meet there's always a lot of catching up. Since both of us have children with disabilities, our discussion inevitably revolves around our kids.
Regular readers of this blog know that inclusion is a familiar theme. One of the largest private foundations in the country, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, defines inclusion as people with and without disabilities living together in scattered sites in the community, and people of different income levels to living together—double integration.
Hebrew school teachers from across the country are gathered in Manhattan today to learn how to better serve students with disabilities at the second Institute held by Matan, the Jewish organization that helps Hebrew Schools include students with disabilities.
Less than one week of school remains for my kids, and that means that sleepaway camp for my son Ben, who has autism, is right around the corner. And up until a few weeks ago, I was dreading it more than looking forward to it, which might seem strange given the post I recently wrote about how much I and caregivers like me need a break sometimes.