In 2009, the Jewish Special Educational International Consortium established February as JDAIM: Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month. The purpose? To raise our awareness of the needs, strengths, opportunities, and challenges of people with disabilities and mental health c o n d i t i o n s ; to go from awareness to sensitivity, and, ultimately, to greater inclusion in Jewish life. JDAIM 2019—a Name Change: Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month. For the first ten years, the focus of JDAIM has been awareness and inclusion. Now, includes acceptance . A s explained by Shelly Christensen (Cofounder of JDAIM), “Acceptance is not just a change in a name. It’s a change in attitude and practice. Genuine acceptance is rooted in the inherent value of Judaism—

that we are all created in the Divine image. Acceptance is based on two key concepts. First, each one of us has something to contribute to our communities and our world, and second, our communities are not whole until all of us belong. We can only go so far if we focus only on awareness and inclusion. This year, let’s join with communities all around the world to focus on genuine acceptance by making our synagogues and our organizations places where people know they belong!’’ A comment on the JDAIM ribbon The blue and gold intertwined ribbon that forms the Magen David was created for the second JDAIM in 2010. Seeking a logo that could link communities and create visual awareness about JDAIM, Shelly Christensen asked graphic designer Janice Goldstein, of Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis, to create a design that would signify how inclusion is woven into every single aspect of Jewish life and community. JDAD/JDAM: Before COVID-19, the U.S. Jewish Disability Advocacy Day was held during February in Washington, DC. The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (the RAC) and Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) co-chaired the Jewish Disability Network, a coalition of over two dozen Jewish organizations advocating for disability rights. This was an action-packed day of learning about critical policy issues around disability, networking, and meeting with Congressional representatives to bring Jewish organizations together as one voice. JDAD has now morphed into JDAM –Jewish Disability Advocacy Month —and has become virtual. For info about this year’s advocacy programs go to: At Beth Shalom, how do we carry out Isaiah’s mandate that G-d’s House is to be a house of prayer for all people? Are we doing all that we can so that everyone feels that they truly belong? Are there barriers (including our attitudes) we can and should remove? We’ll take the entire month of February to learn together—through study, discussion, self-assessment, and a special family activity. Please join us as often as you can and add your voice to the conversation. Kol Tuv ~ Rabbi Teri