Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month 2021

February is Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month (JDAIM.) Established in 2009 by the Jewish Special Education International Consortium as a unified effort among Jewish organizations and communities worldwide to raise awareness and foster inclusion of people with disabilities and those who love them. JDAIM is a call to action to each one of us in accordance with our Jewish values, honoring the gifts and strengths that we each possess.


To that end, Emanuel Congregation shares with you this message from JDAIM Co-founder, Shelly Christensen, as well as the 2021 JDAIM Programming guide, JCC Chicago events, and a few other resources. We hope the materials and programs inspire and engage you.


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2021 Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month

JDAIM 2021 - How You Can Build an Inclusive Community Without Walls

By Shelly Christensen


Dear Friends,


Years ago, my husband Rick and I took our three sons on a camping trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota. After the brakes of our car blew out on the trip and our idyllic campsite turned out to be downwind from the primitive restrooms, I realized how the best laid plans could go awry or at least be interrupted by things out of our control. After more mishaps I found solace in retail therapy. At a kitschy tourist trap I found a t-shirt that somehow reflected the trials and tribulations of our camping trip. The shirt read, “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.”


The year 2020 has flashed that lesson, at least the “life is uncertain” part, so often that sometimes I think that the only certainty is uncertainty.


Since March of 2020, the Jewish community has been diligently focused on how to preserve the essential parts