Special Section: Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month

disabilities special section

Clockwise from top left, Loau Mrai, an Israeli Druze who participated in Golshim L’Chaim’s 2012 class, uses a monoski with outriggers to control his descent. (Nina Zale). Participants in Advance LA’s transitional living program gather on the American Jewish University campus. (Help Group). A beta tester plays Angry Birds on the Sesame Phone (Basti Hansen). At the Luria Academy in New York, classrooms are inclusive, meaning students with and without disabilities learn together. (Courtesy of Luria Academy)

To coincide with Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month (February), JTA — with support from the Ruderman Family Foundation — has put together a special package featuring the following stories:

• At Aspen, wounded IDF vets learn to ski — and overcome obstacles
A program in Colorado teaches wounded Israeli veterans and victims of terrorism how to ski. Along the way, the participants learn more than just how to navigate the slopes.

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• Hands-free Sesame smartphone opening worlds for physically disabled
From Israel, comes a smartphone designed for people with spinal cord injuries, ALS, cerebral palsy or other disabilities that hamper the use of hands and arms — a population that has been on the outside looking in at the smartphone revolution.

• Making Room on the Bench for students with disabilities
A $100,000 Joshua Venture grant launches a New York Jewish school’s program promoting more inclusive classrooms.

• Learning to live independently, ‘millimeter by millimeter’
For many American teenagers with psychological and emotional challenges, the transition from family life in high school to independence in college can be difficult. A residential program based at American Jewish University can help ease the process.

• Longtime Israel advocate Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi shifts focus to disabilities
RespectAbility, an advocacy group founded by Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, aims to bring disabilities out of the closet into two arenas: among employers and the Jewish community.

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JTA Staff This article was posted by JTA staff.