By Lisa Bodziner
Director of Educational Engagement
Macks Center for Jewish Education
Shalom fellow bloggers and readers! I wanted to extend a warm welcome from the office of the Macks CJE.
Saturday, February 1 marks the beginning of a very special month on the calendar. Each February is Jewish Disability Awareness Month, JDAM. This month, we will be encouraging the community to truly open and deepen its understanding of what it means to be B’yachad (Together), what does it truly mean to you to value togetherness and inclusion?
In conjunction with Jewish Disability Awareness Month we are also encouraging the community to gather together book clubs, encourage Shabbat discussions or simply read for pleasure and take part in reading two specific books. For adults, we charge the community at large to read Hope Will Find You.
When reading this book, focus on the following guided questions:
• What has been a life changing moment for you in your life?
• How do you best cope when life challenges you?
• Who is your support network, mentors, dearest friends that you can always rely upon?
• Share with the group a time that it was incredibly challenging for you to see the “light at the end of the tunnel” and how you found a way to do so.
• What in life gives you the most hope and joy?
The book for children is a PJ Library book entitled Cakes and Miracles.
We challenge children’s book clubs and families to discuss the following questions:
• Do you believe in miracles?
• Have you ever experienced a miracle?
• Do you have friends or family or know someone that is blind?
• Do you practice B’yachad, the value of inclusion and togetherness at school? In your own family with your siblings if you have?
• Have you ever lost your voice or broken an arm/leg? How has that experience illuminated the other multi-faceted sense of the body?
We hope to raise awareness this month and work hard to heighten the community involvement and connection around this ever growing and important topic.
On Sunday, February 9 we will be focusing on the theme of B’yachad. Together, the Macks CJE’s PJ Library and Baltimore Hebrew Congregation will be welcoming nearly 200 participants to our second PJ on the Town event of the season. At the Maryland Science Center, we will be delving into the theme of “The Tree of Life, Tree of Knowledge.” We will be exploring further the concept of Beriyut, protecting your health and focusing not only on values of inclusion and understanding that everyone has different bodies, but also focusing on environmental values such as Shomrei Adamah, guarding the Earth and Ba’al Taschit, not destroying or wasting materials. Please join us if you have not already registered for this fun-filled and interactive program.
Finally, in recognition of Jewish Disabilities Awareness month join us for an incredible conference Tuesday, February 4 that will truly be illuminating. We hope to see you there!
There is so much going on this month, don’t let the winter time fool you or keep you indoors hibernating!
In the meantime, stay warm and we hope to see you throughout the month of February if not sooner!