by Tamar Davis, CEO, Gateways
“Why isn’t it JDAIM every month?” I was thinking to myself this week as Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month, or JDAIM, which takes place annually in February, kicked off. During JDAIM, Jewish organizations and communities focus on raising awareness and promoting meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities and their families.
Then I thought about how the Hebrew month of Elul is all about teshuvah — repentance — but really, we can do teshuvah at any point in the year by reflecting on our behavior and actions. However, while the gates of repentance may be opened year-round, it is said that during Elul, the gates are WIDE open. And that is how I imagine JDAIM. Yes, we always want to be advocates for disability awareness, acceptance, and inclusion, but JDAIM opens those gates to inclusion just a little wider.
So I especially appreciate how we have this month to really shine a light on not only why the movement for disability awareness, acceptance, and inclusion is so important, but also on how we can be better, stronger, and more confident ambassadors of this movement. Throughout this month, I’ll hope you’ll join us at Gateways as we participate in panel discussions about inclusion, host webinars about mental health and inclusion in Jewish education, highlight resources that we have on our website and elsewhere, learn with rabbis about creating inclusive communities, and collaborate with other organizations as we continue our year-round mission to be leaders of the movement towards a society that is truly accessible to and accepting of everyone.
Thank you for helping us open the gates to inclusion wider everywhere.
Tamar Davis, Chief Executive Officer