Aside from receiving the Torah, Shavuot is also a grain harvest. In the age of booming urban sprawl, processed foods and industrial sized sodas, it is easy to forget that many of the important philosophies on tzedakah and sustainability are rooted (pun intended) in agricultural rituals. When harvesting a field, we are taught to leave whatever falls to the ground and the corners of our fields for the poor and the stranger (Leviticus 19:9-11). Even in our times of plenty, the fruits of our labor should be shared with those who are less fortunate. This tradition, while perhaps removed from the realities of 21st century life, should remind us that as we take in the rewards our hard work has produced we should also give to those who are less fortunate. Money may not grow on trees, rendering the “leave the corners” command a little murkier to follow, but we should still make the effort to live by the spirit of our teachings.
Generosity in our harvesting and planting should not end with the sharing of the corners of a field. Every seven years, during the shmita year, we must allow our fields to rest. They are given a year without being used to produce food. Just as we are commanded to take the seventh day to rest, we must also allow our fields to rest and recuperate as well. As we celebrate this Shavuot, let us reflect on what it means to harvest in this era and how we can give back to our communities and our world.
Image courtesy of David Angel.
No Limits Media presents Two Who Dared: The Sharps' War; being shown at churches, synagogues and theaters across the country and in Canada this spring. A Unitarian Minister and his wife leave...
(PRWeb April 17, 2013)
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/4/prweb10634160.htm
Craig Taubman, celebrated Jewish musician and producer, has released a brand new album under his Craig ‘N Co. label celebrating the best of Jewish music and designed to relax and refresh.
(PRWeb April 17, 2013)
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/CraigTaubman/AcousticShabbat/prweb10639583.htm
May 9, 2013
Boy Scouts of America
Middle Tennessee Council
3414 Hillsboro Pike
PO Box 150409
Nashville, TN 37215
I am writing as a rabbi and as one who became an Eagle Scout in 1966. From 1963 to 1972, I spent time each summer at the Stahlman Camp of the Boxwell Reservation in Middle Tennessee. From 1970 – 72, I worked on the waterfront there. In 1970, I attended the National Camping School of the BSA and in 1971 was an instructor in that school. I was also honored by being Order of the Arrow. At one time, I was even considering a career path in the BSA.
I am writing to express my significant disappointment that the Middle Tennessee Council of the Boy Scouts of America has announced that it would not support a proposed policy change that would open membership to young people who are openly gay.
In all my years of scouting, I cannot think of one minute wherein I was encouraged to discriminate against another scout. I grew up during the Civil Rights era in Nashville. The first significant friendships and relationships that I had with African American youth my age occurred at Boxwell. I learned there that social justice and treating others with respect and fairness were integral parts of scouting and the Scout Law. Specifically, I learned from the Scout Law that “A Scout is Friendly. A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He offers his friendship to people of all races and nations, and respects them even if their beliefs and customs are different from his own.”
I can hardly see how discrimination against openly gay young people and openly gay adults who wish to work as patrol dads and/or Scout leaders is not an egregious violation of the Scout Law.
Around the country, educators – myself included – are actively working to curtail bullying. This ban actually makes it more likely that bullying will occur and that significant harm will occur to gay youth, adults and their families around the country. I also wish to point out that most distressingly LGBT youth experience significantly higher rates of suicide. These children and their families must not be denied the opportunities to achieve as well as the structures of support that the Boy Scouts already provide to so many.
Personally, I am not gay. I am the proud father of three wonderful children and the devoted husband to my wife for thirty-eight years. As I Jew, I have seen only all too recently the terrible effects of discrimination against the Jewish people. The recent history of the Jews in World War II illustrates the terrible consequences of bias and bigotry, even when sanctioned by the majority of people within a society. Accordingly, I am appalled by the statement that this decision was based upon research during which “of about 3,000 surveyed, 66 percent said openly gay youths should not be allowed to participate in Scouting. About 15.7 percent said gay Scouts should be allowed. The rest were neutral.” Basic human rights should never be subject to the will of the majority. When I was growing up, I learned that the Scout Law applied to everyone, not just to those who were popular, Christian, white or heterosexual.
Jewish tradition here is fully congruent with the best of the Scout Law when it teaches that all human beings are created in the image of God. This is also entirely congruent with the twelfth Scout Law, “A Scout is Reverent” which obviously I take very seriously. That stamp of the divine applies to us all!
Therefore, I would like to urge you to support the lifting of the BSA’s policy of discrimination that currently impacts both children and adults. When that occurs, I would look forward once again to participating again in the worthy work of the BSA.
Rabbi Fred Guttman
Note: Rabbi Fred Guttman is a native of Nashville, belonged to Troop 31 sponsored by St. Georges Episcopal Church and is a graduate of MBA and Vanderbilt.
Rabbi Fred Guttman is the senior rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Greensboro, NC.
The Religious Action Center is currently circulating a sign on letter for rabbis and cantors calling for the Boy Scouts of America to lift their ban on gay scouts and scout leaders, if you are interested in signing please click here.
Left crumpled in the gutter after an ill-fated visit to a seedy club in a rough part of Mexico City, the grandson of murdered U.S. civil rights leader Malcolm X lay dying engulfed in the stench of sewage and a blaring cacophony of Mariachi music.Click here for the rest of the article...
The first women to graduate from a groundbreaking Orthodox rabbinical school are being welcomed at synagogues. But others are blasting Yeshivat Maharat for breaking with tradition.Click here for the rest of the article...
This post is part of a weekly feature on RACblog. Check in at the end of the week for a roundup of stories in which the RAC has been featured!
This week, Rabbi Saperstein was invited by Vice President Biden for a private meeting lasting 2 and a half hours with 20 other faith leaders to discuss next steps in the gun violence prevention debate. Reporting out from their conversation, Rabbi Saperstein recognized that the Administration is still very much committed to passing gun violence prevention legislation, but “The conversation presumed the vote would happen first on immigration…That seemed to be the back-and-forth on both sides – that immigration was a key priority right now. When that vote took place, it would be an opportunity to refocus on this.”
Additionally, in Center for American Progress’s recent article discussing the faith community’s involvement in the gun violence prevention debate, Rabbi Saperstein reflects on his involvement in an April rally on the National Mall, for which organizers erected a graveyard of crosses, Stars of David and other religious symbols to mark the 3,364 gun deaths in the United States that have occurred since the Newtown shooting. “Every one of those religious symbols represents one of God’s children,” explained Rabbi Saperstein. “See the one there? That’s a mother who won’t be there to comfort her child the next time they’re sick.”
Rachel Laser, the RAC’s deputy director, has also been a strong, public voice in the gun violence prevention debate. She has served as a rallying force, bringing the voices of small Jewish communities around the country to the Capitol. “Even when the community is small, it has a relationship with its representatives.” She noted, in particular, the role that the Reform Jewish community in Anchorage, Alaska had in advocating for enhanced background checks to Senator Mark Begich in advance of the vote on the Manchin-Toomey amendment.
Beyond the gun debate, the RAC has been actively involved in other pieces of moving legislation on Capitol Hill. Rabbi Saperstein spoke powerfully at a rally in support of immigration reform. In his remarks, Rabbi Saperstein proclaimed that the Torah commands Jews to “love the sojourner for you were once strangers. Could God be any more clear?…America can do better. America must do better. America will do better.”
Here are just a few of the recent stories from across the webosphere that speak directly to (and about) Reform Jews. What Jewish stories have you been reading recently? Leave a comment and let us know!
- “His Father’s Murder Drives a Rabbi’s Pursuit of Gun Control,” New York Times
This piece is actually a couple of weeks old, but it deserves ongoing attention. Rabbi Joel Mosbacher’s father was shot to death in a petty robbery in 1999. “I’ve carried this story with me, this anger, every day for the last 14 years,” says the rabbi, who serves Beth Haverim Shir Shalom in Mahwah, N.J., and now advocates for stricter gun laws.
- “Can a moderate chief rabbi transform the Israeli Rabbinate? Not likely,” JTA
Israel’s Chief Rabbinate controls marriage, divorce and conversion for all Israeli Jews, secular or religious, and changes to the way the rabbinate handles these matters cannot be made unilaterally. Rabbi David Stav, a Modern Orthodox rabbi in the running to be Israel’s next Ashkenazi chief rabbi, has cultivated an image as the liberals’ solution to a rabbinate dominated by the Haredi Orthodox, and he is waging a public campaign in advance of the chief rabbi elections that has won him a strong base of popular support.
- “Jewish ‘Women Of The Wall’ Plan Further Court Battles Over Prayer Rights At Western Wall,” Huffington Post
Women seeking equal prayer rights at the Western Wall are planning a further challenge to Jewish Orthodox tradition at the site after a court ruling bolstered their cause. The Women of the Wall hopes to have its members read from a Torah scroll at the Jerusalem site, a ritual reserved under Orthodox practice for men only, when it holds its monthly prayer session there on May 10, says activist Anat Hoffman, leader of Women of the Wall.
- “AJWS CEO Ruth Messinger sees God as a ‘force for justice,’” The Jewish Week
As part of The Jewish Week‘s “God Talk” series, Alfredo Borodowski,executive director of the Skirball Center for Jewish Learning at Temple Emanu-el, interviews Ruth Messinger, president of the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) and a member of the URJ’s Faculty of Expert Practitioners. In 1988, Messinger left a 20-year career in politics, including Manhattan borough president, for AJWS, which supports human rights for marginalized people around the world.
- “To stay afloat, shuls merging across denominational divide,” JTA
In areas with waning Jewish populations, Reform and Conservative congregations are merging, combining customs and sharing sacred spaces to preserve local Jewish life. Some synagogues in financial straits have stopped one step short of a full merger, opting to share facilities revamped for the needs of communities with a range of practices and beliefs.
We knew before joining the Academy that Facebook could be a great way to reach our parent body, but we just weren’t getting the response we knew was possible! Our first step after joining the Academy was to switch our Facebook profile to a page so that we could garner more likes from our parents and the broader community. Then we started thinking about what content would create the most buzz…
By Cantor Hayley Kobilinsky
Tekiah! Teruah! Shevarim! Tekiah Gedolah!
If these words do not evoke within you a sense of excitement that is at the core of the High Holy Days, then surely the unmistakable blast of the shofar, the ram’s horn, will. I can still remember the anticipation of hearing the shofar blown at services as a child. I would count the pages remaining until that moment. I would close my eyes as though doing so would let the sound absorb more deeply into my heart. If my family was running late that morning, I dreaded the thought of missing it. No blast was more exciting than Tekiah Gedolah – the longest blast, preceded by the biggest breath, and followed by a collective sigh or nervous giggle by the “Jews in the pews.” Hearing the shofar blown, be it a clear, strong tone, or one which sputtered and wavered, was a visceral sensory experience that has never left me, along with the sight of the Torah scrolls dressed in white, the scent of the ushers’ white carnation boutonnieres, and the taste of apples dipped in sweet honey.
It is somewhat ironic that the shofar, long in use as a means of communicating and announcing, is itself introduced by a blessing, attesting that we are commanded to hear the voice of the shofar, followed by a Shehecheyanu for reaching this season and hearing the shofar for the first time. The traditional melody (in this example, arranged by Herbert Fromm), is akin to a majestic trumpet call. The shofar blast we are accustomed to hearing tends to include a characteristic accent at the conclusion of each long blast, as the ba’al tekiah, or head of the shofar calling, gives one last exhalation of breath and the pitch ascends. As you listen to this recording, you will hear a mirror-image of this movement; the ends of the blessings do not rise in pitch, but rather descend. I like to imagine that these blessings, despite their majesty, are not intended to diminish the grandeur of the shofar calls themselves, therefore the blessings reflect the appearance of the shofar as though they are its opposites. (LISTEN)
Please forgive the following tangent: There are those for whom the Shehecheyanu is only acceptable using one particular melody (LISTEN). If you don’t hear this melody at each occasion which merits a Shehecheyanu, such as Rosh Hashanah, don’t fear: Your preferred melody will come around again, most likely in 3 months or so, right after the Chanukkiah (menorah for Chanukkah) is lit for the first night of the year. That melody is intended for Chanukkah, but since Chanukkah is most often celebrated in the home, many generations of Jews have grown up hearing that joyful, catchy tune, and it has remained steadfast in their musical memories.
The three-part shofar service includes many poetic insertions which give the cantor opportunities to weave traditional High Holy Day musical themes with a hint of shofar-like sounds. One of my favorite moments is in the third section, shofarot. In the paragraph, “Attah nigleita ba’anan k’vodecha,” the shofar is mentioned several times in the context of how its blasts both captured the attention of and heralded the appearance of God. “Amid thunder and lightning did you reveal yourself to them; amid the blasting of the shofar did you appear to them. It is written in your Torah: On the third day, in the morning, there was thunder and lightning, a dense cloud over the mountain, and a loud shofar blast; all the people in the camp trembled.”1 In this selection from a traditional cantorial recitative by Cantor Adolph Katchko, the strength of the voice of the shofar (“kol haShofar”) is highlighted with arpeggios and proclamatory high notes. (LISTEN)
It bears mentioning that the shofar blasts themselves are unique and varied: tekiah: a solid blast, neither long nor short; shevarim: three solid blasts, one following another in quick succession; teruah: a minimum of nine short, punctuated, rapid blasts; and tekiah gedolah: literally, “big tekiah,” this blast is a long, solid one, held as long as the ba’al tekiah can manage. (There is also a compound blast sequence of “shevarim-teruah” in which the two patterns are performed back to back.) This ancient musical pattern (one can’t quite call it a melody, as the actual notes are not dictated) has been echoed in settings of other pieces of liturgy throughout the High Holy Days, and has been utilized and adapted by modern composers as well. For a heavy metal piece, “Al Taster,” the Israeli group Salem begins with four blasts of the shofar: tekiah, shevarim, teruah, tekiah gedolah. Jewish Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz began the show “Godspell” with three blasts of the shofar: tekiah, tekiah, teruah. Madonna begins her Middle-Eastern-influenced song “Isaac” with a ba’al tekiah blowing a shofar: tekiah, shevarim, teruah, tekiah, tekiah, shevarim, teruah, tekiah. While I highly doubt that Salem, Stephen Schwartz, or Madonna preceded their use of the shofar with a blessing, I’ll let it slide; I have a feeling that their songs were recorded in a studio and not a sanctuary.
- Translation adapted from High Holyday Prayer Book, translated by Philip Birnbaum, Hebrew Publishing Company, NY.
Shofar Service, Herbert Fromm, Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe): Volume 1: Rosh Hashannah, ed. Samuel Adler, Transcontinental Music Publications
Shehecheyanu, traditional melody, ed. Stephen Richards, Manginot: 201 Songs for Jewish Schools, Transcontinental Music Publications
Ata Nigleita, Adolph Katchko, A Thesaurus of Cantorial Liturgy: Volume Three: For the Days of Awe
Selections sung by H. Kobilinsky
Hayley Kobilinsky has been the Cantor of Congregation B’nai Yisrael of Armonk for eight years, and has been an adjunct faculty member of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music for two years. She is the president of Kol Hazzanim – Westchester’s Community of Cantors.
I do not know of any colleague who has not, at one time or another, sat with a family as a loved one neared the end of life. It can be a heart-wrenching, spiritual, troublesome, anxious and fulfilling encounter — all at the same time. Sadly, too many families find themselves alone and adrift in a sea of medical terminology and health care controls. The physician, having tried “the arsenal of medical technology,” may ask what the family wishes to do next.
This month’s edition of Atlantic Monthly includes a thought-provoking piece on the need for “The Conversation.” Author Jonathan Rauch examines a situation where we see the division between what he calls “futile care” and “unwanted care.” Rauch suggests that “people getting medical interventions, that if they were more informed, they would not want,” is “the most urgent issue facing America today.” Rauch continues: “It happens all the time….Unwanted treatment is a particularly confounding problem because it is not a product of malevolence but a by-product of two strengths of American medical culture: the systems determination to save lives, and its technological virtuosity.”
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to discuss this topic with Nathan Kottkamp, the founder of National Healthcare Decisions Day, an annual day set aside to focus on the need for families to have serious discussions around end-of-life issues. The latest statistic I saw suggests that only 20% of Americans have an advance medical directive and healthcare power of attorney. Given that today’s medical technology advances allow too many people to exist in life-states of limbo, this is a troubling figure — especially because Jewish tradition, across denominational lines, has a rich textual foundation that addresses these topics, but all too often never is discussed within our congregations. Denying people the opportunity to engage in this conversation denies them the opportunity to know how their Judaism can be a guide and support in a most serious and vulnerable moment.
So here are a few simple suggestions:
- Schedule an annual educational program in your congregation about these Jewish values and how to incorporate them into end-of-life decisions.
- Provide advance medical directive and healthcare power of attorney forms.
- Walk members through how Judaism approaches this issue.
- Discuss your state’s or province’s laws in this area and, as we just did in my congregation, what laws are exist or are being considered with regard to death with dignity. (New Jersey has a death-with-dignity bill working its way through the state legislature now.)
- Most important of all, do not worry about the numbers! People who come out for such a program are people in need.
In addition to providing practical information, creating a pathway through which individuals can understand how Judaism can be supportive underscores just how much the richness of our tradition can add moments of meaning to our people’s lives.
I just returned from two weeks in Israel focusing on the intersection of Israel and youth engagement… and eating lots of delicious hummus! A dynamic connection to Israel is a critical strategy in all our youth engagement work.
One of the key Israel intersections occurs at the URJ camps. URJ camps host more than 200 Israelis (Shlichim) over the summer creating a unique engagement opportunity for our North American campers to interact with, learn from, and learn about Israel. I was able to spend several days with the URJ Camp Directors and Educators during the training of the Shlichim. The training incorporated innovative experiential and expeditionary techniques that enhance and deepen Israel educational experiences at camp, and another training track provided educators with new approaches and methodologies. A special thank you goes to the Legacy Heritage Foundation for partnering with the URJ for the last five years to ensure Israel is front and center at our camps. (Read more on that from Greene Family Camp director Loui Dobin.)
At HUC-JIR, I hosted a conversation for North American rabbinical, cantorial, and education students who are finishing-up their first year of study in Jerusalem. In addition to an update on the Campaign for Youth Engagement, the students were particularly interested in discussing the importance that professional synagogue leadership plays in youth engagement work and hearing about models of synagogues that place youth at the center. The students offered many suggestions from their own recent experiences as engaged youth including reminding me of the importance of clergy and adult role models for shaping their Jewish journeys.
I was especially pleased to have spent some time with Rabbi Michael Marmur, Vice President of Academic Affairs, HUC-JIR, and Rabbi Rachel Shabat Beit-Halachmi, incoming National Director of Admissions and Recruitment, HUC-JIR, discussing ways in which we can strengthen the partnership between our organizations to benefit youth and the adults who work with youth.
At the end of last week, I gave remarks at HUC-JIR’s graduation ceremony in New York. My message to these graduates was this:
“If we want more engaged youth, one of the most important strategies we have is making sure we have more engaged adults. Our youth are diverse and scattered throughout our communities doing so many different things – we need to surround them with thoughtful, passionate, articulate, committed adults. That is you. You have the power to plant the seeds, to nurture our shared future. We believe that every adult in the movement, professional and volunteer has the potential to change the lives of our youth. We look forward to partnering with you.”
Is your congregation interested in offering classes on “Judaism 101″? The Union for Reform Judaism is offering grants to help congregations offer Taste of Judaism™, a free, three-session class for beginners – Jewish or not – that explores the topics of Jewish spirituality, ethics and community values.
Taste of Judaism™ is a high-visibility, low-threshold program of liberal Jewish content designed to pique the interest of all who are searching for an access point to Jewish life. The class is designed for those who would like to explore or re-explore the foundations of Jewish tradition and are looking for an entry into Judaism. The class has been remarkably successful with unaffiliated Jews, those who are not Jewish but who are interested in learning about Judaism, interfaith couples and their families and those considering conversion.
Congregations may apply for grant funding if they have not received a URJ Taste of Judaism grant within the past three years. The URJ will fund 75% or more of anticipated advertising costs plus a modest honorarium for the instructor. Congregations with 150 or fewer members may be considered for full grant funding. Grant applications are due by May 31 and notification of awards will be made by June 30.
With or without URJ financial support, all URJ congregations offering A Taste of Judaism™ receive training, camera-ready advertisements, a class listing on the URJ’s new website for people interested in Judaism, access to Taste of Judaism™ administrative documents, and more.
Rabbi Jonah Pesner, senior vice president of the URJ, calls Taste of Judaism™ “one of the URJ’s best tools for expanding our reach beyond the walls of our congregations.”
For more information and to apply for a grant, visit urj.org/cong/outreach/taste.
This excerpt is taken from a new post in the Jewish Energy Guide created by the Coalition for the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL). Rabbi David Seidenberg uses his website, Neohasid.org, to teach eco-Torah, including the environmental implications of Rainbow Day. He discusses the covenant God made with Noah, and how we should reflect more often on the rainbow covenant and our role in sustaining the environment.
Excerpt: Rainbow Day, which falls on the 42nd day of the counting of the omer, and the day after Yom Yerushalayim — Jerusalem Day — is a time to celebrate the diversity of life on Earth, and to remember our role in God’s covenant. It is a time to remember that the first covenant was not with human beings but with all living things, and it’s a chance to reflect on the deep spiritual and religious meaning of diversity, creation and our role as part of Creation and partners with God. This is a special time in human civilization when we need to reflect on the rainbow covenant and our place in sustaining a world where sowing and reaping, cold and hot, summer and winter will not stop.
Click here to read to the full post.
by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat
I love the excited buzz in the synagogue before Shabbat morning services when one of our kids is going to be called to the Torah as b’nai mitzvah.
I love the eager, nervous energy I feel emanating from the family. The parents, caught between the mundane organizational details they were worrying about yesterday and the growing awareness that today is something different, a different kind of time. The younger sibling, if there is one, rolling their eyes but also realizing that this is going to be them someday.
I love standing outside in the field behind our sanctuary, listening to the wild tapestry of birdsong, while the photographer adjusts: you put your arm around her, there, okay, turn a little bit this way, look at me, smile! The family always makes such a beautiful tableau, and I know they’ll look at these photographs for the rest of their lives.
I love running through the Torah portion with the bat mitzvah girl one last time before services begin. Her voice is a little bit higher, her pace faster, today than ever before. By now I’ve practiced chanting this Torah portion with her so many times that I know it by heart, too.
I love the feeling of standing before the assembled community — members of our congregation; our small core of Shabbat morning regulars; visiting family and friends — and welcoming them into this place and this moment, this celebration of Shabbat and this celebration of a young person taking their place in our community.
I love inviting anyone who’s never seen the inside of a Torah scroll up to the bimah, and unrolling it. Asking them to say, aloud, what makes it different from the books they usually read. It’s in Hebrew; it’s on parchment; it’s a scroll; it’s handwritten. Then I point out things they might not have noticed: there’s no punctuation. There are no vowels. There are no musical notations.
I love seeing one of our kids shine. Hearing them read from Torah, and offer blessings, and teach something of what they’ve learned to the entire congregation.
I love hearing the blessing the parent(s) offer. Without fail, hearing the earnest words of love and pride they offer to their child is one of the most moving moments of my day, and reminds me of my own place in the chain of generations, between my parents and my son.
And I love chatting with people after the service, finding out what moved them and what spoke to them. It can be hard for me to gauge, when a lot of people have assembled who maybe aren’t necessarily singing along, whether the service is reaching them. But every time, I hear from someone who didn’t expect to be moved, or who didn’t expect the service to be accessible, and was pleasantly surprised.
Mostly I love knowing that we’ve co-created a beautiful memory for the new young adult and for their family, and that our community is now one adult Jew richer.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, source of all being, who has kept us alive, and sustained us, and enabled us to reach this moment.
Originally posted at Velveteen Rabbi
It’s May. Can you believe it? Every year it seems to sneak up on me. But here it is.
Most synagogues and Jewish professionals are at the point in the year that I typically call the “race to the finish line.” We are busy completing our program years, winding down religious schools and looking toward Shavuot as a point where we might briefly catch our breath; all while planning for next year by finalizing calendars and budgets. We can probably agree that the much anticipated summer months will allow us a chance to regroup, reflect and start it all over again.
I think this is a good time for a check-in.
Do you remember that February was Jewish Disability Awareness Month, or is it just a flash in your rear-view mirror at this point? Did you check JDAM off your program list as you moved on to the next activity, event or holiday? Now is the perfect time, despite the crazy, hectic days of budgets and calendars, to be thinking about JDAM.
Take a moment or two for reflection. Did you experience something meaningful? Did you learn something new? What inspired you? Please share it here. Let’s learn from each other, share our experiences and use this as an opportunity for meaningful reflection. Meaningful reflection can lead to positive action!
Some thoughts for you to consider:
- As you plan next year’s calendar, dedicate specific days for disability awareness/acceptance opportunities.
- Even better, look at your entire calendar with an eye toward ensuring that all your programs will be inclusive.
- Form an inclusion committee or task force now, so that it can guide your conversations in the program year to come.
- As you plan your budget, set aside funds for professional development, teacher training and/or guest speakers.
- Even better, make the commitment to hire a dedicated professional to specifically focus on issues of inclusion.
It’s May. And if you are like me, February seems like a year ago. I hope you don’t let Jewish Disability Awareness Month become just another “program” that you “did” this year.
Inclusion is too important.
Originally published at Jewish Special Needs Education: Removing the Stumbling Block