Educationally Speaking – February 2021

Focusing on Inclusion

Randi Sher, Director of Education

TBEeducator@bethelsp.org

Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) is observed in February. It was created in 2009 as a unified effort among Jewish organizations worldwide to raise awareness and foster acceptance and inclusion of people with disabilities and mental health conditions and those who love them.

JDAIM is a call to action for all of us as we act in accordance with our Jewish values, treating one another with dignity and value to allow each of us to reach our own potential. We need to empower one another by recognizing the gifts and strengths that we each possess and using those strengths to raise awareness and acceptance.

Over the last month I attended training sessions with a large group of TBE staff and congregants (the largest group actually from any one congregation) through URJ for DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion). We learned about how we can organize working groups toward the goal of helping our community in celebrating diversity, safeguarding equity, and increasing inclusion. As I organized my thoughts to write this article I began to wonder if JDAIM and DEI might overlap and support and strengthen one another. Are not both groups working to unite Jewish communities worldwide to raise awareness and champion the rights of all Jews to be accepted and included in all aspects of Jewish life like anyone else?

I am interested in starting the conversations and planning for action next February. If you are interested in joining me in these conversations and planning, please email me at TBEeducator@bethelsp.org. I look forward to hearing your ideas, concerns and suggestions.