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Jewish Abilities Atlanta

Knowing that one out of five individuals live with a disability, Jewish Abilities Atlanta (JAA) promotes an inclusive community that celebrates the uniqueness and abilities of every member across the life span. JAA lifts the voices and perspectives of people with disabilities. JAA supports Jewish Atlanta in welcoming and including people with disabilities by providing capacity-building resources to Jewish Atlanta’s synagogues, camps, schools and other Jewish organizations. 

What We Do

  • Lift the voices and perspectives of people with disabilities across Jewish Atlanta. 
  • Foster collaboration and planning around disability inclusion across the Jewish ecosystem.
  • Increase the capacity of Jewish Atlanta agencies in creating a community where people with disabilities are engaged, supported, and feel a sense of belonging. 

Grants

  • Microgrants: The Jewish Abilities Atlanta (JAA) offers Jewish agencies the opportunity to apply for funding up to $1500 for disability inclusion initiatives. Grantees will be selected by a committee and evaluated on the project’s innovativeness, impact, leadership, and organization.
  • Large Scale Grants: Jewish Abilities Atlanta (JAA) offers Jewish community partners the opportunity to apply for grant funding ranging from $10,000-$20,000. This one-year JAA grant will support community partners in launching projects that create more inclusive and accessible communities for people with disabilities.

JAA Community Initiatives:

  • Community Programs that lift the voices and perspectives of people with disabilities and foster a shared community dialogue and vision of disability inclusion. 
  • Training for professionals, lay leaders, volunteers, and students to increase their awareness of people with disabilities and the barriers they face engaging in Jewish life. In 2022, JAA provided training to 812 community members. 
  • JAA Inclusion Grants to foster community inclusion projects. In 2022, JAA awarded funding for 20 inclusion projects.
  • The Ina Enoch Training Fund, providing funding to Atlanta professionals and lay leaders seeking skill-building opportunities around disability inclusion. More information about the Ina Enoch Training Fund here.  
  • Information and Referral, helping individuals and professionals connect to important local resources. Learn more here.

Engaging Synagogues

The JAA has a long history of supporting synagogues and religious schools to be a welcoming community for all. The JAA has an 18-month long Disability Awareness and Accessibility Education Project with the goal of supporting synagogues in creating a community of inclusion for people with disabilities ensuring that their space, information, material is accessible and that members of the communities have knowledge of the social model of disability and the importance of creating inclusive communities.

The project is being kicked off with the convening of Synagogue Disability inclusion Committee Luncheon on September 21st at Temple Sinai. If you or members from your synagogue would like to get involved, please contact amurphy@jfga.org 

Educational Support:

  • Jewish classroom observations and inclusion strategy consultations.
  • A Shared Resource Library, loaning curriculum, sensory materials, and a beautiful illustrated Torah, to Jewish educational settings.
  • Skill building trainings for educators, including Bright from the Start certified trainings for early childhood professionals.

Early Child Education Initiative

In December 2024, JAA will introduce a preschool initiative to address the need for Jewish Preschools to be more inclusive of students with disabilities, creating a community that welcomes, cares for & educates ALL.

The JAA believes that, by supporting attitudinal changes and upskilling preschool staff to build their inclusion competencies, it will increase their capacity and knowledge and allow them to develop and implement strategies to ensure that the preschools are more inclusive and students with disabilities are welcomed and supported in the classroom.

This initiative will consist of 2 preschools and introduce a curriculum to build capacity of the preschool educators, strengthening the classroom culture & structure, using teacher-led strategies, parental engagement, and internal and external supports which will impact students enrolled in Jewish preschools. If you would like to more information or like to participate, please contact amurphy@jfga.org 

Training

Ina Enoch Training Fund

Training support is available for community professionals and lay-leaders who wish to attend a professional development opportunity which supports the inclusion of individuals with disabilities and their families.  Individuals wishing to apply for funding may do so by submitting a completed Training Fund Application.

The completed application must be submitted no less than 8 weeks prior to the training date. Applications must include organization and/or individual financial participation.  Applicants will be informed of the final decision within 2-4 weeks of submission. Apply here:

Application – Ina Enoch Training Fund (office.com) 

About Lindsey Flax

Lindsey Flax, JAA Training Coordinator at Jewish Abilities Atlanta, leads accessibility training initiatives in Atlanta’s Jewish community. She holds an extensive background in disability advocacy and notable roles at organizations like the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Full Radius Dance, The Smithsonian Institution, and as a trainee graduate from Georgia State University’s Center for Leadership and Disability Georgia LEND program. Lindsey earned a bachelor’s degree from Beacon College, the first college in the country accredited to award bachelor’s degrees exclusively to students with learning disabilities, ADHD, and other learning differences. Beyond her professional endeavors, she enjoys spending time with loved ones, traveling, and attending cultural and community events.

JAA Resources and Guides: