By Michelle Cohen
This piece originally appeared in the February 2018 HAKOL.
Jewish Family Service of the Lehigh Valley is making a commitment to educate the Jewish community about issues related to disability awareness and advocacy during Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month's 10th year.
These efforts are being led by Susan Sklaroff-Van Hook, JFS’s clinical coordinator and research specialist, who will be attending her second Jewish Disability Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. this year. Last year, she attended meetings with Pennsylvania Reps. Tim Murphy and Keith Rothfus and Sens. Pat Toomey and Bob Casey after learning about important issues affecting the community earlier in the morning. The event, which is chaired by The Jewish Federations of North America and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and supported by other organizations, focuses on helping people learn how to be advocates in the political arena.
Jonah Baskin of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism described the schedule of this year’s event: “In the morning, disability rights experts will brief JDAD participants on the legislative priorities we will be advocating for on Capitol Hill later that day. Over lunch, we will hear from policymakers about the future of disability policy. In the afternoon, we will act on what we have learned by meeting with members of Congress and their staff to discuss the importance of protecting the rights of people with disabilities.”
During and after the event, JFS will share Sklaroff-Van Hook’s experience on their website and Facebook.
The JFS website will also feature a landing page for JDAIM featuring a variety of local and national resources and ways to get involved, including definitions of and guides for inclusivity. Sklaroff-Van Hook will also be writing a weekly blog covering disability issues.
Click Here to explore our JDAIM resources.