Recognizing Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, & Inclusion Month | Shalom Austin

Recognizing Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, & Inclusion Month

The Jewish Outlook

Jan 31, 2023

As part of its mission to strengthen the community by empowering all individuals and families to foster wellness and dignity, Shalom Austin Jewish Family Service (JFS) commits to serving and supporting disabled people. JFS is rapidly expanding its programs and resources to serve people of all abilities.

February is Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month (JDAIM). The event was founded in 2009 with the mission of uniting Jewish communities around the focus of including disabled people in Jewish communal life. As part of JDAIM, JFS staff are reading Demystifying Disability by Emily Ladau, collaborating with the Early Childhood Program and congregations for disability education, and connecting community members to national events. Details can be found in the events below.

JFS was thrilled to welcome Adam Hartmann, Disability and Inclusion Specialist, to its staff in October of last year. Adam is spearheading the creation of the Disability and Inclusion Program, which strives to fully integrate individuals with disabilities into every aspect of Shalom Austin’s programs and community.

Adam has brought together various stakeholders, from Shalom Austin members with lived experience to staff persons to members of the greater Austin community, to form a Disability and Inclusion committee that meets monthly. This committee will be instrumental in helping Shalom Austin move its inclusion efforts forward.

So far, the disability and inclusion initiatives include work to create a vocational training and employment program for disabled adults as well as form a partnership with Greenleaf Neurodivergent Community Center. JFS has also launched the Shalom Austin Mobility program (SAM), which provides transportation for community members to and from offerings at the JCC and JFS, medical appointments, visiting loved ones, etc.

JFS is honored and excited to celebrate JDAIM and recognizes that one month is not enough. Equity, inclusion, and belonging for disabled people can only be achieved through continuous effort and a team commitment to that ongoing work for our community.

For more information on JDAIM, visit the official website: or their Facebook page:



JDAIM Reflections on Faith and Disability with Judy Heumann
January 31, 2023
12 – 1:00 p.m. CST
Join to hear Judy Heumann speak to our community about her lived experiences with disability and faith. (This webinar will have live CART captions and ASL interpretation)

Inclusion and Intentionality Through Art
February 1, 2023
1 – 2:00 p.m. CST
Join for a presentation by Sharoni Sibony, a Jewish disabled artist.

Unpacking Key Health, Mental Health, Disability, and Long-Term Services & Supports Achievements in the Recently Enacted Omnibus Appropriations Package and What’s Next?
February 2, 2023
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CST
Join the Jewish Federations of North America and the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies as we dive deeply into the health, mental health, disability, and long-term services and supports achievements in Congress’ 2023 spending package. We will learn how these new policies and investments will help Jewish human service and other agencies care for people in our communities. For questions, please contact Elizabeth Cullen, Associate Director, Health Policy, Jewish Federations of North America & Washington Representative, Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies.

The Intersection of Race, Disability and Religion: A First-Person Experience
February 2, 2023
4 – 5:00 p.m. CST
Join The Branch and webinar speaker Asha Chai-Chang, who will talk about the growing community of Jews who identify as Jews of Color at this event organized by JFCS Pittsburgh and co-sponsored by The Network. Born on Long Island as the Jamaican/Cuban/Chinese/Jewish daughter to immigrant parents, Asha is an Actuary by trade turned award-winning director/writer with invisible disabilities. Asha will create an open dialogue about being a person of color with multiple disabilities and speak about the intersectionality of being a Jew of Color with disabilities. She will also explore ways Jewish communities can increase visibility and create safe spaces for Jews of Color. Attendees will learn informative statistics and factual findings, have an opportunity to connect within the webinar and walk away with new tools and best practices.
Register Here

Jewish Disability Advocacy Day 2023
February 15, 2023
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CST
Help kickoff JDAD as we come together virtually from diverse communities across North America to harness our collective power and break down barriers to opportunity and inclusion. Help us advance policies that will empower millions of individuals with disabilities to lead more independent and fulfilling lives. Together we will learn and take action!

Fostering Inclusive Workplaces
February 23, 2023
2 – 3:00 p.m. CST
Join for a conversation with author and activist Emily Ladau about inclusion in the workplace.

RespectAbility NETTalk
February 28, 2023
1 – 2:00 p.m. CST
RespectAbility is a diverse, disability-led nonprofit that works to create systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities. Their mission is to fight stigmas and advance opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of the community. RespectAbility joined The Network in 2020. During the NETTalk you will learn about the many ways your organization and RespectAbility can work together.
Register Here


Special Olympics of Texas Winter Games
February 19, 2023
2 – 4:00 p.m. CST
Join for a volunteer opportunity with Project Hashra’ah (4th-6th graders) at the Special Olympics of Texas in Bee Cave.’ah
To learn about additional local Special Olympics volunteer opportunities for all ages that day, please contact: Joan Eisenberg Maniere at

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