Inclusion

Announcing The Second Ruderman "Best in Business" Award: Recognizing Companies That Hire People With Disabilities

Last spring, the Ruderman Family Foundation partnered with the Jewish Week Media Group to produce its first Ruderman “Best in Business” supplementrecognizing exemplary businesses that have demonstrated a history of employing people with disabilities, training and supporting them and developing innovative approaches to maximizing employee’s abilities. Ten businesses were selected through a national nomination and review process and were profiled in both a print and online supplement.

Ruderman "Best in Business" Supplement 2015

At AIPAC Conference, Improved Inclusion Efforts For People With Disabilities

As all organizations know, it is much easier to say you will be inclusive than to actually become inclusive. Real inclusion is intentional, not accidental. It takes real leadership and implementation efforts. Thankfully, during the past two years, AIPAC has made huge strides in this arena.

The Art of Giving: A Purim Challenge For People With And Without Disabilities

Guiltily, I admit that sometimes I don’t concentrate on the prayers that I am reciting.  Occasionally, however, a phrase that I have repeated for decades captures my attention. 

Rabbi Michael Levy

The Ruderman White Paper: On Police Violence, Media and Disability

Last week, the Ruderman Family Foundation (RFF) released its first “Ruderman White Paper”—a comprehensive, scholarly investigation of media coverage of disability in instances of police violence from 2013 to 2015. Its focus was to expose the lack of coverage on this important issue. New Normal editor Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer spoke with Jay Ruderman, Foundation President, about why the Foundation is supporting this kind of study.

Police Violence. Courtesy of Stephen Melkisethian/Flickr

How Musical-Visual Bar Mitzvah Rituals Communicated My Son’s Essence

On January 18, 2016, my son George Chaim became Bar Mitzvah at our synagogue, Mishkan Shalom. Like my fellow parents who have experienced their adolescent children going through this intensive rite-of-passage, I am still kvelling, sometimes teary-eyed, as I face the reality that we have already experienced thirteen years of his—and my—life together.

The author with her son, George. Courtesy of Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

USCJ Receives Continuing Support On Inclusion Initiative From Ruderman Family Foundation

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) will build on the successful launch of the Ruderman Inclusion Action Community initiative to transform Conservative congregations into truly inclusive communities for people with disabilities, thanks to continuing support from the Ruderman Family Foundation (RFF) in the form of a $375,000 three-year grant.

Through the grant, USCJ will continue to provide expertise and consulting to its affiliated congregations to develop comprehensive visions and action plans on inclusion. 

The Ruderman Inclusion Summit. Courtesy of the Ruderman Family Foundation

Special Needs Or Disabilities? What’s The Difference?

Nearly sixteen years ago my synagogue hired me as our Religious School’s Special Needs Consultant. Within a year that title changed to Special Needs Coordinator. A subtle shift, but one that we believe demonstrated our commitment to the permanence of our program.  Today I serve as a full-time Education Director with oversight of our inclusion efforts. But if anyone asks me what I do for a living, my reply is typically that I am a Jewish Educator and a Jewish Inclusion Expert.

Have We Made Advances? Courtesy of Lisa Friedman

My Brother, My Rebbe

My brother is my rebbe and my greatest teacher. He has taught me that our greatest passion must be compassion. He has taught me what it means to be a loving, kind, and sensitive individual. Born with Fragile X, a genetic condition that causes intellectual disability, behavioral and learning challenges, Mike has never allowed his disabilities to define him. In fact, he continually defies it. Most importantly, Mike has shown me and everyone around him what it means to be resilient, to have true grit. He is the only one who decides what he can and cannot do.

Jon and Mike. Courtesy of Jon Leener

From Awareness To Inclusion

02/17/2016 - 08:46
Editorial

For the first time ever, the White House is hosting an event to mark February as Jewish Disabilities Awareness and Inclusion Month. The speakers include a rabbinical student with autism, and this week’s program draws advocates for American Jews with disabilities — an estimated 20 percent of our community — and leaders and representatives from a variety of Jewish organizations and foundations.

Disability Language Is A Guidewire

At New Jersey’s Camp Marcella, where many blind children spend a few weeks each summer, I used to sprint down the track, with no fear of veering into trees or other obstacles. I held a rope suspended vertically from a loop on a wire high above, which followed the course of the track. If I began to stray, the rope, zipping along the guidewire, would steer me back onto the track. 

Rabbi Michael Levy
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