JFS Houston has joined a coalition of more than 20 Jewish organizations, led by the disability nonprofit RespectAbility, to present a new series entitled; “Leaders of the Future: Leadership Series for Jews with Disabilities.” This six-part series, which will run virtually from June 22 through July 20, will introduce Jewish lay leaders with disabilities to topics and skills that will help them to lead as volunteers and professionals in nonprofit organizations. Topics will include everything from fundraising and social media to nonprofit operations and effective advocacy from the inside.
According to the U.S. Census, fully 1-in-5 people in America has a physical, sensory, cognitive, mental health or other disability. Well known Jewish leaders with disabilities include actress Marlee Matlin, violinist Itzhak Perlman, actor and author Henry Winkler and disability rights leader Judith Heumann. However, the Jewish community deserves to benefit from the talents of the many other Jews with disabilities who have not yet had the chance to lead.
Said Matan Koch, who leads RespectAbility’s Jewish work, “It’s key for us to have the skills and contacts we need to succeed as we break glass ceilings in the Jewish community.” Koch obtained his undergraduate degree from Yale, earned his law degree from Harvard and was confirmed into a senior government role by the U.S. Senate before he was 30. He is also quadriplegic. Koch continued, “This series will give Jews with disabilities who are ready to serve as leaders a boost that will help them – and the organizations they serve – for years to come. I hope Jews with physical, sensory, cognitive, chronic, mental health and other disabilities will get involved and join us!”
Joshua Steinberg, RespectAbility’s Program Associate who played a major role in planning the series, added “organizations are at their best when they welcome, respect and include people from all backgrounds, including those with disabilities. Jews with disabilities – like myself – want to serve as professional staff and/or lay leaders in Jewish organizations.”
The entire series is available online and for free. People can watch live and ask questions via Zoom or watch on RespectAbility’s Facebook page. In addition, a recorded version, along with the PowerPoints and transcripts, will be available on www.respectability.org/jewish-events in perpetuity. All sessions will include American Sign Language (ASL)interpreters and live captioning. This series will offer a broad and comprehensive set of considerations and tools, on topics including:
Tuesday, June 22 – Effective Social Media Posts: A Primer
Thursday, June 24 – How Nonprofits Work
Tuesday, June 29 – Development: Individual Prospects
Thursday, July 8 – Development: Foundations
Tuesday, July 13 – Leading at the Next Level: Working in the Jewish World
Thursday, July 15 – Effective Disability Advocacy from the Inside
Tuesday, July 20 – Accessible Events: Both In-Person and Online
There is no cost to participate, but in order to be fully included in the series, participants are encouraged to register at www.respectability.org/jewish-events. All seven webinars will include ASL interpreters and live captioning. Additional accommodations required to participate, including requesting an accessible copy of PPTs prior to each session, may be requested by emailing JoshuaS@RespectAbility.org.
This training is made possible by support from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, The Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, The David Berg Foundation and other funders.