Judaism is the oldest surviving monotheistic religion. It grows out of a covenant described in the Hebrew Bible (called the Old Testament by Christians) with Abraham and his descendants, the Children of Israel. Today’s Rabbinic Judaism is largely a result of the collection of writings of traditional oral law from the sixth century called the Talmud.
Modern Judaism has three main branches: Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform. The groups differ on how they interpret the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible which are the foundational scriptures for Judaism.
Judaism and Disabilities
Some beginning links on Judaism and disabilities:
Yachad, The National Jewish Council on Disabilities (NJCD) is dedicated to enhancing the life opportunities of individuals with disabilities, ensuring their participation in the full spectrum of Jewish life. It promotes itself as “the only international organization promoting inclusion for children and adults with disabilities in the broader Jewish community” and carries out its work in local chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Union for Reform Judaism
A Disabilities Inclusion section offers resources for Reform congregations.
The Disabilities Inclusion Learning Center is sponsored by the Union for Reform Judaism in partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation. It is a”place to access webinars, videos, and written resources from top professionals, interact with experts, and consult other congregations and Reform Movement staff members on involving people with disabilities and their families.”
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism website on the “Inclusion of People with Disabilities”
Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
Other Jewish Resources
Inclusion Innovations, founded by longtime Jewish advocate, Shelly Christensen, designs individualized strategies and programs for faith communities ready to explore ways to shift to a more inclusive environment. Get the High Holiday Inclusive Congregations Guide, new for 5777/2016 as a downloaded file.
Council for Jews with Special Needs An organization that provides programs, resources and support to help all Jews with disabilities and their families to fulfill their spiritual, cultural and religious needs.