February is Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month (JDAIM). Its mission is to build awareness in Jewish communities and increase community engagement in this agenda. In particular, JDAIM aims to identify and break down barriers and enhance inclusion of individuals with disabilities so that they are able to fully participate in and contribute to community life.
JDAIM focuses on adjusting the physical environment, shifting organizational attitudes and behaviour and changing public policy and funding models. However, it is generally agreed that the most significant changes required are within the broader community culture and mindset.
Jewish Federations of Canada - UIA, in partnership with our advocacy agent the Centre for Israel & Jewish Affairs (CIJA), Jewish Federations across Canada, local agencies and residential organizations as well as our Israeli partners, are all invested in improving the lives of Canadians with disabilities. We are collectively engaged in changing the narrative by building a deeper understanding of the abilities of Canadians with disabilities and the barriers they face in everyday life.
This multi-faceted effort has wide reaching policy, programmatic and financial implications. On Tuesday, February 6th, professional, volunteer and family representatives of Jewish human service agencies, local federations, synagogues, advocacy groups and national organizations will come together as one - in both Washington, DC and in Ottawa - to advocate for enhanced policies which will support and strengthen individuals with disabilities and their families. This is an incredible initiative that is being coordinated continentally.
The Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies, a newly established membership organization serving as the central address for the Jewish human service sector, is a co-sponsor of both programs.
The Canadian delegation of lay and professional leaders from Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver on the 'fly in' to Ottawa will bring communal concerns to the attention of federal ministers and parliamentarians.
This advocacy day was organized because, despite marked efforts by the Jewish community to strengthen services for individuals with disabilities, there is deep recognition that our governments must invest in core services such as housing, education and employment, and that the respective social policy agenda for each country must create the context for change.
There are events in communities across Canada to mark Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month. Please visit www.jewishcanada.org/home/partners to find your federation.
An opportunity for exploration, education and connection for people with disabilities and their family members, clergy, self advocates, policy makers, professionals and volunteers who are dedicated to creating inclusive Jewish communities. LEARN MORE