Watch 60 Second Videos about the 18 Most Innovative Jewish Special Needs Organizations!

As part of the application process for the first-ever Slingshot Guide for Disabilities and Inclusion, organizations were asked to submit a 60 second un-edited video about their work. Now that it is Jewish Disability Awareness Month, what better way to learn about the 18 most innovative organizations in North America working towards a more inclusive Jewish community?!

Happy Viewing!


Special Partnership with PJ Library!


Book Teaches Young Children for Jewish Disability Awareness Month


Matan has partnered with PJ Library and  and the Jewish Special Education International Consortium to create an educational project for young children in support of Jewish Disability Awareness Month 2014 held in February.


Matan, PJ Library and the Consortium collaborated to create a lesson plan for Jewish Disability Awareness Month around the book Cakes and Miracles by Barbara Diamond Goldin. The book is about Hershel, a boy who is blind and dreams of making cookies for Purim. The lesson features discussion questions and a series of activities for introducing the topic of disability awareness to young children. “Because of the number of options provided in the lesson, it is appropriate for use in pre-K – 2nd grade classrooms, at community events and for use at home with families,” says Shelly Christensen, founder of Jewish Disability Awareness Month and a member of the Consortium.


“This is the second year that we are featuring a children’s book as part of Jewish Disability Awareness Month,” continues Christensen, “and we hope that Jewish communities across the country will embrace the opportunity to include the youngest members of our community in disability awareness.”


The lesson plan is currently available on PJ Library’s website. In order to help communities use the lesson plan, PJ Library will host a free, live webinar on January 30th   from 1:00 – 2:00pm EST. “The webinar will feature the disability experts who collaborated on the lesson plan,” explains Judi Wisch, Director of Community Engagement at PJ Library. “They will give background on Jewish Disability Awareness Month, tips for teaching young children about disabilities, and pointers on community outreach for the program.” The webinar will feature state-of-the-art technology and will enable participants to type in questions and comments in real-time.


To access the lesson plan:


To register for the webinar:




First Jewish Leadership Institute on Disability and Inclusion Held This Week

This article was originally published on eJewishPhilanthropy, December 6, 2013

The first ever Jewish Leadership Institute on Disability and Inclusion, in partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation, was held in Baltimore this week. Participants included Jewish communal services professionals and lay leaders from 13 states and Ontario, Canada. The Institute centered on acquiring knowledge and skills to help Jewish organizations and their communities become more inclusive of people with disabilities. Participants heard about leading edge practices in services and supports for people with disabilities and their families across the lifespan. Additionally, the Institute focused on practical skills, personal leadership development and managing change in the Jewish community.

One of the challenges for Jewish communal professionals is a lack of support for professional development and the inability of organizations to fund travel to professional development opportunities. The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation assisted Institute participants by covering travel costs, room and board for those who needed such support. Based on the initial Institute, it will be modified and offered again in 2014. Inclusion of people with disabilities in the Jewish community is a growing movement. Families of children with disabilities are demanding it, adults with disabilities are calling for it and many communities are responding. The goal of the Jewish Leadership Institute on Disability and Inclusion is to have it happen everywhere.

It Takes a Village: Symposium at UJA-Federation of New York


UJA-Federation of New York Himan Brown Charitable Trust Symposium Series

It Takes a Village: Promoting the Physical, Social, and Emotional Well-Being of Today’s Youth

Monday, May 13, 2013
8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

UJA-Federation of New York
Seventh-Floor Conference Center
130 East 59th Street
New York City

Communities in the 21st century are challenged with a myriad of social and emotional issues that affect young people in today’s society. Now more than ever, it is imperative that we unearth these challenges and open up a dialogue about seeking and receiving help. By bringing such issues as bullying, anxiety, depression, suicide, ADHD, learning disorders, and substance abuse to the forefront, this conference seeks to destigmatize mental-health concerns and advocate for the effective support of the well-being of all children, teens, and families. The day will include presentations, panels, and discussions with doctors, social workers, academics, parents, authors, and other pioneers in the field of mental health. Knowledge, strategies, lessons learned, and tools to implement effective best practices will be shared in order to make our homes, schools, and communities more caring, connected, and collaborative.

Conference Fee: $25 per person

Learn About the Program

Learn About the Presenters

Register Online

For more information or to request an assisted-listening device, please contact Melanie Goldberg at

Yachad Powerpoint Purim Presentation is Back!

Back by popular demand for the ninth year, Yachad | Jewish Disabilities Integation/the National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD) and Our Way are offering a PowerPoint presentation of Megillat Esther for Purim, to help foster the Inclusion of individuals with a variety of challenges.

All a synagogue needs is a laptop with a projector and a screen where the disc is shown. The mouse of the computer serves as the place keeper on the screen. Text becomes color-coded for easier participation – blue text for when words should be read aloud, red text to emphasis the mention of Haman. Graphics are included, along with an option for synagogues to insert their own graphics to accompany the Purim story, allowing for an even more interactive experience.

Yachad/NJCD and Our Way are agencies of the Orthodox Union, which provide unique social, educational and recreational programs for individuals with learning, developmental and physical disabilities with the goal of their Inclusion in the total life of the Jewish community. Our Way especially provides resources, services, and social programming for the Jewish deaf and hard of hearing.

Batya Jacob, Director of Educational Support Services of Yachad, stated, “Once again Yachad/NJCD is presenting the Megillat Esther PowerPoint. Close to 200 synagogues in North America, Israel and England have already requested the DVD. This engaging program, with Hebrew and English side-by-side, used in conjunction with the Megillah reading in synagogue, allows individuals with hearing challenges, visual challenges, attention deficits, the elderly, and children of all ages to easily participate in their communities’ celebration of the holiday of Purim.”

This year, Yachad has collaborated with the OU’s Seif Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) program to bring the PowerPoint Megillah to college students. Special programming will be presented at Johns Hopkins, Rutgers University, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Yale; and as a joint event by the University of Toronto and York University in Canada. The JLIC at UCLA and Los Angeles Yachad will be hosting a special Purim party, including the PowerPoint Megillah presentation. Additionally, Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York will be offering the PowerPoint Megillah for select patients.

The software is available for a suggested donation of $100. To order a copy or for more information, contact Batya Jacob at 212-613-8127 or