Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month

February is Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) — a unified initiative to foster inclusion of Jewish communities worldwide. Here at The Associated, we work with our agencies to provide opportunities for people of all abilities to achieve their highest potential and lead independent, fulfilled lives.

It is our goal that in Jewish Baltimore, each person is cared for, welcomed and accepted.

What We Do

Every year, our agencies focus on making sure individuals with disabilities and their families are successful. In the past year, we have continued to make sure that our community has access to valuable services and resources. Here is what we have accomplished:

Attendance at SHEMESH’s support group for parents of children with attention and executive function issues continued to grow. This success has led to the creation of a quarterly support group for parents of children with autism spectrum disorders.

The Jill Fox Memorial Fund, a supporting foundation of The Associated, provided grants to local families to purchase equipment necessary for virtual visits like occupational therapy and funds to work with psychiatrists for extra support during educational transitions. The Fund is administered by the Macks Center for Jewish Connections, an Associated agency. 


Jewish Community Services’ (JCS) Employment Support Services helped individuals with varying abilities work on employment skills and offered programming that focused on communication skills and socialization. Through cooking classes, a coffee club, arts and crafts and so much more, JCS married the desire for socialization with goal setting, mock interviews and skills training, just to name a few. 

The Baltimore Jewish Abilities Alliance continued to promote inclusive, spirited programming. The BJAA provides vital access to services, support groups, workshops and clinics, connecting individuals with disabilities and their families to the resources they need.

MDSNAP, Maryland Special Needs Advocacy Project, a program under The Macks Center for Jewish Connections, advocated for the best educational resources at public and private schools for children with disabilities.

The Macks Center for Jewish Connections added a brand-new connector to engage young families with neurodiverse children in Jewish life. 

The J Camps Inclusion Program bunked campers with their typical peers where they had the chance to participate in all camp activities with their peers. Campers were paired on a 1:1 or 2:1 basis with specially trained staff.

Who We’ve Helped

Below is just one of the many success stories we have seen throughout our community. Batsheva, who today teaches kindergarteners Hebrew and English at a Jewish day school, grew up with a learning disability. But thanks to SHEMESH, she was set on a path for success and ultimately earned a graduate degree in teaching. Listen to her story from our Pull Up A Chair Podcast.

What’s Happening Now

Below is just a sample of all 2023 JDAIM events and activities in our community:

Wednesday, February 1 at 8:00-9:00 p.m.

Jewish Educational Services/SHEMESH Services – Parent Support Group for CHADD and Autism Spectrum Disorders. “It’s Not Fair! Supporting Siblings of Children with Special Needs Featuring Ilana Levy-Paris, Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist and Clinical Neuropsychologist Special session in partnership with our ASD Parent Group”

Learn more. To register, contact Faye Friedman at

Tuesdays, February 7, 14, 21, 28 at 7:30-9:00 p.m.

Presented by The Macks Center for Jewish Connections  

Learn more and register.

Thursday, February 9 (weather date Thursday, February 16) at 6:00-8:00 p.m.
JDAIM Resource Fair. Weinberg Park Heights JCC Auditorium. Connect with various community and government agencies to learn about services and resources available to individuals with disabilities and their families.


Wednesday, February 15 at 12:00-1:00 p.m.

Join Jewish Federations, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies for a virtual kick-off to JDAD on Wednesday, February 15. Come together for a program of education, advocacy, empowerment, and impact.  

Learn more and register.

Thursday, February 16 at 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Via live, real-time and interactive video conferencing

Individual Rights for Persons with Diagnosed Disabilities. Everyone deserves to be treated equally regardless of disability status. This program is designed to educate the community on all Human Rights.

Presenters: Jamie Leboe, Manager of Employment Support Services, Jewish Community Services
Stacie Atkinson, Case Manager of Community Living, Jewish Community Services
Karen Holt, Case Manager of Community Living, Jewish Community Services.   

Learn more and register.

Tuesday, February 21 at 10:30-11:30 a.m. in person and 7:00-8:00 p.m. on Zoom

This program is designed to support parents of adult children with differences as they explore intimacy, romance, and sex. We will discuss the importance of privacy and boundaries for the parent /adult children along with safety and trust in intimate relationships.

Learn more and register.

Tuesday, February 21 at 5:00-6:30 p.m.
Jewish Library of Baltimore at the JCC Park Heights
5708 Park Heights Ave, Baltimore, MD 21215

Meet service dogs from Fidos for Freedom to learn how service dogs support individuals with disabilities and help change lives.

Learn more.

Wednesday, February 22 at 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Jewish Educational Services/SHEMESH presents “Finding Your Center” a JES Todah Teachers (Teacher Appreciation) program for all educators in Baltimore’s Jewish community. In this interactive workshop, Miriam (Manela) Frankel will explore the physical and emotional interventions that can act as effective regulators for both you and your students.

Learn more and register.

Tuesday, February 28 at 1:00 p.m.
Weinberg Park Heights JCC. Parents and caregivers will receive valuable information and resources for helping children with disabilities navigate different stages of their transition into adulthood.

Learn more.

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