Personal Reflections from the President & CEO
Jewish tradition teaches that we have an obligation to facilitate the inclusion of individuals with disabilities into our community.
We are taught, “Do not separate yourself from the community” (Pirkei Avot, Ethics of our Fathers 2:5), which I interpret as doing our best to prevent anyone from being separated against their will.
Jewish Disability Awareness Month (JDAM) is observed in February and I encourage you to embrace its mission:
- Elevate Jewish awareness of the way society regards people with disabilities
- Encourage Jews around the world to become more empathetic toward people with disabilities
- Urge Jews to welcome people with disabilities into their communities and personal lives
- Unite Jewish communities to raise awareness and champion inclusion of people with disabilities
In February and March there is a national focus on raising disability awareness. JFS’ programs and services assist in providing meaningful inclusion and full participation of people with disabilities and their families within our community. The JFS Center for Families & Children provides an array of services and support groups to help families with the challenges they face in caring for a family member with special needs. JFS’ Cooper Fund assists children with special needs and their families by providing financial assistance for adaptive equipment, camp scholarships and after school care, supportive shadows, respite care, behavior modification specialists & counseling services, swimming lessons and other extra-curricular activities.
The Welcome Home Program, staffed by a licensed clinical social worker, is a free drop-in center for adults living with mental illness and/or developmental disabilities. Other professionals teach computer training, pet therapy, art therapy, financial literacy and job readiness. The goal of the program is to improve the life, social and employment skills of its participants.
It is through our social, recreational, educational and cultural activities that we assist participants in our programs to move forward on their journey of reintegration and inclusion into the community.
Danielle N. Hartman, MNM
President & CEO