Jewish Funders Network has released a new “Guide to Jewish Values and Disability Rights,” exploring the powerful connections between major Jewish values and disability justice. The guide is a free resource for Jewish leaders, educators, funders, social activists, and institutions, and will empower readers to help create Jewish communities that are fully inclusive of all people, including those with disabilities.
The guide delves into the disability implications of Jewish values such as tzelem Elohim (all people are made in the image of God); areyvut (communal responsibility); kavod (dignity/respect); tzedek (justice); and tikkun olam (repairing the world). In addition to values, Jewish communal self-interest also mandates disability justice. Roughly 15 percent of all people live with a disability that significantly affects their daily lives. So out of an estimated 14 million Jews worldwide, it is likely that more than 2 million Jews live with significant disabilities.
Rabbi Julia Watts Belser, an Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at Georgetown University and an expert in disability and gender in rabbinic literature and law, authored the guide for JFN. It is available for free download in two accessible formats, PDF and as an audiobook recorded by voiceover artist and JFN member Mark Moshe Bellows. Both versions can be downloaded at jfunders.org/disability-rights. An anonymous foundation sponsored the publication.