A look at JF&CS’s special needs services during Jewish Disability Month

February is most commonly associated with Super Bowl parties, romance and predictions of an early spring (or lengthier winter). But February also welcomes Jewish Disability Awareness Month, a time when Jewish communities and organizations unite for the purpose of raising awareness and supporting meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities and their families in every aspect of Jewish life. Many synagogues hold special disability awareness Shabbats and days schools may provide sensitivity training or other disability awareness programming.

At JF&CS, we strive to make resources available year round for families with special needs. We also offer special events and programming, including two upcoming events:

A free training session, “Long-term Planning for Your Family Member,” will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, January 23, at Rodef Shalom Congregation. For most individuals with disabilities, estate planning is needed to ensure sufficient financial resources for personal needs beyond what a parent or guardian can provide. In this workshop, presented by The Pennsylvania Training Partnership for People With Disabilities And Families, an experienced estate planning attorney will explain trusts for individuals with disabilities. Planning offers the opportunity for family members and individuals to have peace of mind when it comes to their loved one’s future, regardless of whether they live with parents, in a residential facility or by themselves, says JF&CS resource coordinator Linda Marino.

The second event is a free screening of the film “A Place for All: Faith and Community for Persons with Disabilities” from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 1 at JF&CS.

Linda Marino, along with Terry Feinberg-Steinberg of the Agency for Jewish Learning, will host this engaging film. All faiths are explored, says Linda, who has more than 25 years of experience in special needs information & referral, service coordination and advocacy. She is the parent of an adult child with special needs.

“Including people with disabilities can be enriching to everyone,” Linda says. “Accepting everyone, especially in religious aspects, benefits us all.”

All are welcome to both programs. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Linda at 412-802-5945 or lmarino@jfcspgh.org.

Jewish Family & Children’s Service is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization. Services are provided and referrals are made without regard to race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, place of birth, sex, sexual orientation, familial status, age, handicap or disability.

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