January 26, 2022

Rules to Guide a Vibrant Jewish Community

Rebecca Wanatick, Ed.M. Director, Disability Inclusion & Belonging

Last week we read about receiving the Ten Commandments in Parshat Yitro. While these are arguably, the ten most significant rules we are asked to follow, this week’s parsha, Mishpatim, lays out additional rules which guide how we are to behave as human beings. These laws help us to be better people with one another and for one another, creating a community of belonging, one in which everyone is recognized for their value and finds respect.   

Today, we might say that these laws outline a social justice platform for living an ethical life.  Today, we might speak about racial justice, gender equality, food security, and disability inclusion, just to name a few.  

The lessons we learn in Mishpatim help to guide the work we do throughout the year to promote inclusion and belonging in the Jewish community. Through the work of our partner agencies, our congregations, our donors, and individual community members, Greater MetroWest strives to be that vibrant Jewish community, made whole by the inclusion of all its members, with meaningful opportunities to participate in every aspect of Jewish communal life.   

We are proud to reflect and live the values introduced in Mishpatim every day. But they are uniquely relevant to consider as we begin Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) in February. JDAIM serves as a unified initiative to raise disability awareness and support efforts to foster inclusion and belonging in Jewish communities worldwide.  

I invite you to join us throughout the month of February as we honor JDAIM. Visit our JDAIM web page to learn more about the programming taking place across our community in February. Consider becoming certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid or participate in Jewish Disability Advocacy Day. We will highlight members of our own Greater MetroWest community and their contributions throughout the month in our I Am ABLE Campaign. We will share examples of Inclusive Employment experiences and welcome you to reach out to learn more about extending these opportunities in your own workplace.   

There are many ways to get involved, promote inclusion and belonging, and help make our Greater MetroWest community the vibrant Jewish community in which we all want to live. For more information, feel free to contact me at Greater MetroWest ABLE at [email protected] or (973) 929-3129.