Union County shuls to mark Jewish Disability Awareness Month
Congregation Beth Israel of Scotch Plains will host a special Havdalah service marking Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month on Saturday, February 25, at 6:30 p.m. The service, sponsored by seven Jewish communities in Union County, will be both in-person and livestreamed. February — JDAIM month — is a unified initiative to raise disability awareness and to foster inclusion in Jewish communities worldwide.
Meg Zucker, a lawyer and founder of “Don’t Hide It, Flaunt It,” a non-profit organization that encourages everyone to celebrate a world of difference and works to inspire people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to be proud of what makes them unique, is the guest speaker. The organization partners with Scholastic Inc. to create programming in schools and also offers Diversity, Equity & Inclusion programs to Fortune 500 companies, the Girl Scouts, camps, and underserved communities.
The Union County JDAIM Havdalah service will be co-led by clergy representing the participating synagogues, including Beth Israel and Temple Sholom, both in Scotch Plains; Temple Emanu-El in Westfield; Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael and Temple Sha’arey Shalom, both in Springfield; Temple Beth O’r Beth Torah in Clark; and Temple Beth-El Mekor Chayim in Cranford.
Beth Israel has been recognized as an ABLE Awarded Congregation by the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest for its commitment to inclusion and accommodation for all its members and guests. While CBI strives to be a welcoming community year-round, it devotes February to strengthening its awareness of disabilities and focusing on ways to become even more inclusive.
As part of its JDAIM programming, CBI designated February 10 services as JDAIM Shabbat, with a Shabbat-in-the-round service that highlighted the importance of everyone coming together and feeling at home on Shabbat.
In addition, CBI’s religious school is celebrating JDAIM this month by teaching grade-appropriate lessons about disabilities to its students in kindergarten through seventh grade.
For more information, call (908) 889-1830 or go to cbinj.org/event/jdaimhavdalah. A livestream is also available at www.cbinj.org/livestream.