JNF Hosts Over 60 Events Nationwide to Highlight the Importance of Jewish Disabilities Awareness & Inclusion Month
Jewish National Fund (JNF-USA) is once again calling attention to those who are sometimes forgotten during Jewish Disabilities Awareness & Inclusion Month (JDAIM). As part of its focus on improving quality of life for all in Israel, JNF is dedicated to ensuring that no member of Israeli society is left behind. Observed each February, JDAIM was founded in 2009 by the Jewish Special Education International Consortium to raise awareness and encourage inclusion for people with disabilities and special needs.
People with disabilities make up the world’s largest minority group. Globally, around 10% of the world’s population lives with a disability of some kind. Nineteen percent of people in the U.S. and over 10% of people in Israel have some form of disability that can make life’s daily activities a struggle. These statics are just the beginning. Take into account the family, friends, and loved ones of those with disabilities who are also affected and these numbers skyrocket. This is where JNF and the importance of JDAIM come in.
Throughout the month of February, JNF is hosting over 60 events across the country to highlight JDAIM, featuring representatives from the organization’s partners to raise awareness of and foster inclusion for people with disabilities and special needs. Through a variety of initiatives, JNF provides cutting-edge rehabilitative services, special education, and medical care for people with cognitive, sensory, communicative, developmental, and other disabilities. In addition, JNF makes its forests, parks, picnic areas, playgrounds, nature trails, lookouts and recreational facilities inclusive for all visitors, ensuring that everyone regardless of their ability level is able to enjoy nature with their friends and family. JNF’s partners in this mission include:
- ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran: A state-of-the-art rehabilitative village in the Negev, ALEH Negev offers unparalleled care for people with severe disabilities, empowering residents and outpatients to help them reach their potential for communication and development.
- LOTEM-Making Nature Accessible: LOTEM brings people with special needs closer to nature through field trips, accessible hikes in JNF’s first inclusive park, and creative workshops in nature that have been adapted to the needs of participants and for people of all ages.
- Red Mountain Therapeutic Riding Center at Kibbutz Grofit (RMTRC): RMTRC provides weekly horseback riding therapy to nearly 200 children and adults with physical and mental disabilities, as well as emotional and behavioral issues in Israel’s Arava region.
- Special in Uniform: An innovative and unique program, Special in Uniform integrates youth with disabilities into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and assists in preparing them for careers following army the completion of their service.
Like all of JNF’s efforts for the land and people of Israel, its work for those with disabilities and special needs is not limited to a month, but every day. Over the last year, JNF and its partners have made great strides in improving the quality of life for those with disabilities and special needs, including:
- Hosting over one million visitors with LOTEM at JNF’s inclusive trail in Nahal HaShofet.
- Doubling the number of participants in Special in Uniform and expanding the program’s presence to 15 IDF bases.
- Administering over 7,000 individual outpatient treatments at ALEH Negev and welcoming 50 new students to its special education school.
- Providing 10,000 therapy sessions at Red Mountain Therapeutic Riding Center, including 6,900 for 120 children through JNF scholarships.
- To see the impact that JNF and its partners have on people with disabilities and their families, check out this special video.
Throughout February, JNF’s website, blog, and social media channels will call attention to Jewish Disabilities Awareness & Inclusion Month. Follow along using the hashtag #JDAIM17. To learn more about our partners in Israel, please visit jnf.org/disabilities.
About Jewish National Fund (JNF-USA)
Jewish National Fund began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people. JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism. JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers. For more information on JNF, call 800.JNF.0099 or visit jnf.org.