Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month

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


Feb. 23 – Shabbat With Rabbi Ruti Regan, Numero-Steinfeldt, Scholar in Residence

Join us for Shabbat with Rabbi Ruti Regan, feminist rabbi, liturgist and disabled disability advocate. She will give the D’var Torah and lead a Learn after Lunch following Kiddush. As a disabled disability advocate, Rabbi Regan writes the blog, reframing social skills as the pursuit of Hillel’s mandate: That which is hateful to you, do not do to others. The rest is commentary. Now go and learn it. Rabbi Regan provides ritual consulting, and training for rabbis, cantors, and communities in accessibility and disability-informed spiritual leadership.

Bet Shalom


Feb. 28 at 5:30-8:30 p.m. – Poetry Reading
Adina Burke, who has a disability, will be reading her poetry in the auditorium.

Beth El


Living With Health Challenges
Individuals and families often struggle with a variety of health challenges during their lifetime. Feelings of loneliness, isolation, vulnerability are natural results. It is important to understand how to best support one another in unforeseen circumstances, illnesses, and chronic health issues. During the month of February, join Jan Hamilton, Congregational Nurse, and Cantor Abrams in a panel discussion each week with different congregation members who will share their stories and help us better understand and give voice to our own struggles and those of our family, friends and community.


12:30 p.m. following Shabbat Lunch, Learning Center

Feb. 9 – Accepting Mental Illness
(Karen Malka, Sheryl Shochet, Cantor Abrams)
Feb. 16 – The Life of a Caregiver (Marlene & Jim Bukstein, Audrey Goldfarb, Sharon Torodor)
Feb. 23 – Surviving Life Changing Illnesses (Barbara Bach & Ellen Kleinbaum)

Beth Jacob


Feb. 16 at 12:30 p.m. – Post-Kiddush Learning
Shelly Thomas Christensen, international author, speaker, and disability inclusion consultant, will be speaking on invisible disabilities.

Mayim Rabim


Gwyn Leder, a Mayim Rabim congregant, will be sharing her personal story

Mount Zion Temple


Feb. 22 from 5:45-7:15 p.m. – Food for Thought

Mount Zion member Stacey Dinner-Levin will read from her play Autistic License: Normal Isn’t for Everyone (called “a transformative piece of theater” and described by the Pioneer Press as “a true-to-life play that takes audiences on the rollercoaster ride of raising a child with autism”).


Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. – A Window into Parenting a Child with Special Needs

Pulpit Speaker: Stacey Dinner-Levin
During Shabbat for the Soul Services
Mount Zion member Stacey Dinner-Levin received her MA in Human Development from St. Mary’s University and BAs in Social Work and Women’s Studies from the University of Minnesota. For five years she led the PACER Center “Count Me In” program promoting disability awareness to schoolchildren. She is the mother of four boys, the eldest of whom was diagnosed with autism in 1993. Autistic License, Dinner-Levin’s first full-length play, was named one of the Ten Best Plays Of 2007 by the St. Paul Pioneer Press and was featured in American Theater Magazine in 2010. Dinner-Levin is a Disability Council Member for Mixed Blood Theater and an Advisory Board Member for the Reelabilities Film Festival.


Feb. 23 at 12 p.m. – Book Discussion: Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

Discussion of the book Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork, a young adult novel that tells the story of 17-year old Marcelo Sandoval, a boy with Asperger-like characteristics who seeks guidance and mentorship from a local rabbi. The discussion will be facilitated by Jasper Hardin, Sarah McVicar, and Joan Ostrove and will include the perspectives of Jewish autistic people. Complimentary copies of the book are available at Julie Beckman’s desk in the clergy office.

Or Emet


March 17 at 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Living with Different – Not Dis-Abilities
Sunday adult program that Gwyn and Lori Leder-Fogel will lead, a program called “Living with Different – Not Dis – Abilities.” Join us if you can at St. Paul Talmud Torah.

The presenters bring both personal and broad community experience to the program.
• Gwyn Leder, Or Emet member, lives with a brain injury
• Lori Leder-Fogel, proud parent of an adult daughter with autism, serves on the Jewish Inclusion Collaborative Community

Or Emet adult programs are free and open to the public, and meet concurrently with the Jewish Cultural School at the St. Paul Talmud Torah. For more information contact Dave Zukor at or visit Please direct general inquiries about Or Emet to

Shir Tikvah


Feb. 24 from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
During Religious School with our 200+ students. They’ll be going through some age-appropriate stations and learning rotations about disability and inclusion.

St. Paul JCC


Feb. 28 – Assistive Technologies
Matt Hansen, of Mercarik, will discuss the options of technology solutions to increase independence for individuals with varying physical, intellectual or age-related challenges through evaluation, system design and implementation of assistive technologies. View more info here.


St. Paul JCC’s Traditions Wall, which showcases Jewish holidays, cultural programs and events will have up a JDAIM display for the month of February.

Temple Israel


Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. – Erev Shabbat Service
As part of Temple Israel’s commitment to inclusion, Emma Nadler and Christopher Thomson will be speaking about their experience of raising a child with a rare genetic difference and an unpredictable path. Through telling their story, they share authentic thoughts on caregiving, Judaism and the power of connection.

Generous funding for Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month is provided by Lynne and Andy Redleaf and The Toodie and Frank Trestman Special Needs and Collaborative Education Endowment Fund of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation.