Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month 2020

Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) is a unified effort among Jewish organizations worldwide to raise awareness and foster acceptance and inclusion of people with disabilities and mental health conditions and those who love them. JDAIM is a call to action for all of us as we act in accordance with our Jewish values, honoring the gifts and strengths that we each possess. Established at JFCS in 2009, JDAIM is observed during February. The mission of Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month is to unite Jewish communities worldwide to raise awareness and champion the rights of all Jews to be accepted and included in all aspects of Jewish life like anyone else.


Adath Jeshurun Congregation

9:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 22 – JDAIM Shabbat: Inclusive Employment with With Nicole Rabinowitz and Tasya Rosenfeld Kelen

Nicole and Tasya will deliver the D’var Torah as a part of Jewish Disability Awareness Acceptance and Inclusion Month (JDAIM). Nicole is the Commercial Kitchen Coordinator for J-HAP (Jewish Housing & Programming), which is based out of Cornerstone Creek, a 45-unit building focused on helping adults with developmental disabilities live more independently. Tasya is the founder of the Isadore Nut Co. and works out of the kitchen at J-HAP. This partnership provides job training and job opportunities to adults with disabilities.

Beth El Synagogue

12:30 p.m. Saturdays, Feb. 15 and 22 (follow Shabbat lunch) – Finding Inspiration and Comfort from our Congregational Family

At some point in our lives, everyone will face emotional and/or physical challenges of varying degrees. There are many who have lived with these challenges much of their life. Come gather and learn from congregants willing to share their stories of struggle and courage that inspire and provide comfort to others. Learn how you might be a support or receive support when needed. With Cantor Audrey Abrams.

Jewish Family Service of St. Paul (JFS)

1-3:30 p.m. Feb. 9 – REEL People, Real Lives Documentary Film Series: “DEEJ”

In this movie, a nonspeaking young man dreams of autistic civil rights. The documentary film “Deej,” with its insider view of autism, challenges us all to live inclusion.

Abandoned by his birth parents and unable to speak for himself, DJ Savarese (Deej) found not only a loving family but also a life in words, which he types on a text-to-voice synthesizer. As he makes his way through high school and dreams of college, he confronts the terrors of his past, obstacles to inclusion, and the sometimes-paralyzing beauty of his own senses. In his advocacy on behalf of other nonspeaking autistics, he discovers what having a voice can truly mean.

This film series will be held at the St. Paul JCC (1375 St. Paul Ave). A panel discussion and audience Q & A facilitated by local professionals will follow each film. All the events in this film series are free and open to the public. Contact Jodi Saltzman for information at (651) 313- 6623 or Registration appreciated at

This is a collaborative event co-sponsored by Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis (JFCS), JFS, St. Paul JCC, and St. Paul Jewish Federation.  This film honors Jewish Disability Acceptance Awareness Month (JDAIM), which is celebrated worldwide during the month of February.

Mount Zion Temple

6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21 – Deaf Yoga for Everyone

Mount Zion member Jessalyn Akerman-Frank will lead us in the embodied practice of yoga. You will rely on visual cues, touch, and floor tapping as you follow Jessalyn’s lead through a low-impact yoga class. All are welcome, no experience (and no sign language!) required. Jessalyn is a certified yoga teacher who regularly teaches yoga in her Deaf community. She is also Director of Community and Civic Engagement at the Commission for Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing for the State of Minnesota.

7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21 – D’var Torah

During the Shabbat evening service, Sarah McVicar, Chair of Mount Zion’s Accessibility and Inclusion Committee, will share words of Torah as they relate to disability inclusion and creative expression.

Oneg Shabbat (immediately following the service) – JDAIM-inspired Art Exhibit

Mount Zion members of all abilities and ages are invited to display their creations. Please contact Cantor Spilker at if you are interested in submitting a framed work of art or 3-D piece.

1:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22 – Art for Everyone

Art therapist Robin Getsug and Mount Zion member Laurie Hadler will lead this workshop in creating mandalas with Jewish symbolism in a variety of media.

St. Paul JCC

Jan. 9 through Feb. 27 – Photo Exhibition – Photography on Your Phone: Developing Your Artistic Viewpoint (Reception 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19)

Highland Friendship Club, in partnership with Eric Mueller Photography, provided an extended arts learning program for 15 young adults and adults with disabilities to develop their artistic point of view through mobile phone photography in the of summer 2019. Sessions included three visiting photographers and six field-based assignments. This exhibit showcases the unique perspectives of these dynamic young adults. View more info here.

Temple Israel

6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21 – Erev Shabbat Service with Guest Speaker TJay Middlebrook

To celebrate Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion month, Temple member TJay Middlebrook will speak during services. Growing up, TJay, who is deaf, attended schools for deaf students as well as mainstream schools with the aid of an interpreter, giving him a breadth of perspective on accessibility and inclusion from a young age. His experiences and interests have shaped him into an advocate for those seeking accessibility. In his current role as the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Coordinator for St. Paul, TJay helps ensure that the city’s programs and services are accessible to people with disabilities to provide access for all.