Laszlo Strategies is pleased to offer free online links to concrete sessions and materials on how to build Jewish communities that are more inclusive of individuals with disabilities and their families. This panel was available online so we can help achieve the goal of building accessible, accepting, accommodating and welcoming Jewish communities for individuals with disabilities and their families. The Jewish Federations of North America, the Mizrahi Family Charitable Fund, the Jewish Funders Network, and the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes all sponsored this conference. It featured leaders with experience in helping communities promote a culture of inclusion and provided an opportunity for federation professionals, family service agency professionals, educators, planners and lay leaders to develop the tools necessary to begin the effort to accomplish this important goal.

The program schedule and links to materials and the sessions are below:

Opening Abraham’s Tent: The Disability Inclusion Initiative

Featuring Keynote Address by Governor Jack Markell of Delaware, Chair, National Governors Association

Nov. 13-14 Conference to Expand Disability Inclusion Initiatives, Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland

Tuesday, November 13

6:45pm-7:30pm – Opening Reception

7:30pm-8:45pm – Keynote Address

The Honorable Jack Markell, Governor of Delaware, Chair of the National Governors Association (NGA) 8:45pm-10:00pm – Dessert Reception and Jewish Funders Network Book Launch 

Steven M. Eidelman, editor, JFN’s Guide to Funding Disabilities and Special Needs, H. Rodney Sharp Professor of Human Services Policy and Leadership and The National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities, University of Delaware

Wednesday, November 14

7:45am-8:15am – Light Breakfast

8:15am-9:45am – Acceptance and Welcoming: how do we manifest our Jewish values that promote a welcoming community? How do we ensure people with disabilities and their families are treated with respect and dignity and are able to participate in our communities in meaningful ways?

Moderator: Dan Guyer, MD, Co-Chair, JFNA Human Services & Public Policy Disability Committee

Rabbi Lynne Landsberg, Senior Advisor on Disability Issues, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Linda Burger, Executive Director, Jewish Family Service of Houston

Shelly Christensen, MA, Chief Executive Officer, Inclusion Innovations


9:45am-10:00am – Coffee Break

10:00am-11:30am – Accessibility and Accommodation: how do we ensure that people with disabilities and their families can access Jewish institutions and all activities held within them? How do we adapt our environments and programs to ensure full accessibility and participation? 

Becca Hornstein, Executive Director, Council for Jews with Special Needs

Facilitator: Steve Rakitt, CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Washington


11:30am-12:00pm – Box Lunches Served

12:00pm-12:45pm – Luncheon Conversation Jerry Silverman, President and CEO, The Jewish Federations of North America

12:45pm-1:00pm – Break

1:00pm-2:30pm – Innovative Programs: A Look at the Issues

Moderator: Vivian G. Bass, CEO, Jewish Foundation for Group Homes

Arlene Remz, Executive Director, Gateways: Access to Jewish Education

Rebecca Wanatick, Community Coordinator, MetroWest ABLE

Dr. Jeff Lichtman, Executive Director, YACHAD, The National Jewish Council for Disabilities


2:30pm-3:00pm – Wrap-Up: What is at stake? Where do we go from here?

Facilitator: Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, Laszlo Strategies

Facilitator: William C. Daroff, Vice President for Public Policy and Director of the Washington Office, The Jewish Federations of North America

For more information, including a full listing of speakers and sessions at the conference, please visit or


Download a free e-copy of "A Guide to Funding Disabilities and Special Needs".


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