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“That same year, my Tourette’s was so bad that I was kicked out of my congregation. It felt like I was being told that Judaism wasn’t for me. For most of my adolescence inclusion felt like a bad word because when it was being used, it was being used to fight for me or as a reason the community couldn’t do what they planned because they had to accommodate me.” – Pamela Schuller
In our last blog post this year, we bring you the story of Pamela Schuller via ELI talks. Pamela was a part of the Jewish community until her community kicked her out because of a disability. Thankfully, because of a summer experience in a Jewish camp which accepted her unconditionally, she is now a leader in our community.
When you watch the video below, think about the community you live in: Is the synagogue inclusive? How about schools and camps? Jewish organizations? Are people like Pamela being left out of our community for no reason other than they appear ‘different’ and we don’t know how to include them?
5776 should be the Year of Inclusion! A year when all of us rise to the challenge before us and take in the 20% of our community that has a disability. They deserve to be included just like you and I. They deserve to be a fully participating member of our community. They deserve a seat around the communal table.
[bctt tweet=”5776 should be the Year of Inclusion! Watch Pamela’s @eli_talks and let’s make it happen.”]
Our foundation will continue to advocate and push the message out that inclusion is just, it is the right thing to do. We will work for inclusive education, inclusive religious institutions, inclusive employment and much more. We will bring together leaders and experts in order to work together towards our common goal. We will continue to blog, tweet and more to get the word out and with our many partners, bring lasting change to our community.
In Pamela’s words: “Inclusion is no longer about looking at people with disabilities as a ‘them’; it’s about looking at our communities as a ‘we’, with every person having something to offer.”
By the end of 5776, we hope that our entire Jewish community will be a ‘we.’