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Jewish Disabilities Inclusion

Jewish Disabilities Inclusion in Your Community

Jewish Disabilities Advocacy Day is February 6, 2018. February is Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month. We are proud to spotlight awareness for people who are disabled around this time, but the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), our agencies and community also support people with disabilities all year long.

Stay connected with what the Jewish Pittsburgh community is doing to recognize the inclusion of individuals with disabilities into all aspects of Jewish life on our Facebook page and Connections Pittsburgh blog.

Disability Rights = Civial RightsMain Contributors:

  • The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh – jfedpgh.org
  • Jewish Association on Aging (JAA) – jaapgh.org
  • Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater Pittsburgh – jccpgh.org
  • Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) Pittsburgh – jfcspgh.org
  • The Friendship Circle  fcpgh.com
  • Jewish Residential Services (JRS) – jrspgh.org

What have these agencies and local synagogues done this year?

  • AHAVA Memory Care Center of Excellence, located on the JAA campus, offered a free program to discuss ways to support loved ones dealing with speech difficulties and those living with dementia.
  • JRS provided literature describing “10 tips for an accessible Hanukkah party.”
  • The Friendship Circle provides programs like Cooking Club, Gymnastics Club, Sports League, Bowling League and Shabbat dinners that provide a welcoming and inclusive space for everyone in the community.
  • Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh and JRS presented the 2017 Shore-Whitehill Award to Carol L. Tabas, nominated by the United Way of Southwestern PA for her outstanding volunteer work. The Shore-Whitehill Award, created in 1996, is named for Robert Whitehill and the late Barbara Shore and celebrates volunteers who promote inclusion of people with disabilities in the fabric of Jewish life through advocacy or direct service to individuals and families.
  • Temple Sinai created a Disability Task Force in 2015 and since has implemented inclusive practices such as providing magnifying glasses and fidget toys, quiet rooms with streamed services, large print prayer books for high holidays and Shabbat and Onegs with gluten-free and sugar-free options in addition to clearly labeling foods containing nuts.
  • The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, JRS and JFCS created a guide to hosting more inclusive events that is now available to all Jewish organizations. This initiative and efforts to make it easier for people with disabilities to register and to participate in events were part of the Rosh Pina Initiative (see more below). Jewish Disabilities Inclusion in Your Community

Rosh Pina

Jewish Residential Services, Jewish Family and Community Services, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh completed work with disability inclusion expert Rosh Pina. The program creates a way for these organizations to look more critically at their own inclusion practices, in order to facilitate the building of a more inclusive Jewish community. The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has added inclusion language to their marketing materials and has provided several accommodations such as hearing aids and transportation for those that have requested services.

Community-Wide Support

This year Governor Tom Wolf announced that the Department of Human Services (DHS) launched a Community Living Waiver that would come into effect by the first of this year to make services available to approximately 1,000 more individuals with an intellectual disability (ID) or autism in the commonwealth.

Interested in contacting your representatives to promote inclusion?

US Senator for PA Pat Toomey, toomey.senate.gov/?p=contact or (412) 803-3501
US Senator for PA Bob Casey, casey.senate.gov/contact/ or (412) 803-7370
Congressman Mike Doyle, doyle.house.gov/contact-me or (412) 390-1499
Congressman Keith Rothfus, rothfus.house.gov/email-keith or (814) 619-3659

Jewish Disabilities Advocacy Day (JDAD)

This year, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will be sending a representative to Capitol Hill on February 6, 2018 to hear a panel of experts discuss disability policy, meet with Congressional representatives and receive advocacy training. The day will focus on protecting cuts in Medicaid and efforts to employ people with disabilities in integrated work environments.

JFNA’s Message

Jewish Disabilities Advocacy Day is an opportunity to empower people with disabilities and their families. It allows them assurance that their voice matters and educates the public and members of the U.S. Congress about programs that benefit people with disabilities and their families. This year JFNA has over 50 sponsors supporting Jewish Disabilities Advocacy Day.


Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh

Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
2000 Technology Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15219
412-681-8000  |  jewishpgh.org  |  info@jfedpgh.org

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