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History and Advocacy

In the words of Mary Ann Malinak, one of the co-founders of the Celebrations program at Reconstructionist synagogue Congregation Ner Shalom, “Accessibility is a moving target.” Similarly, the goals of disability justice and rights activism shift over time, as movements grow and previously marginalized voices emerge. 

The open letters and statements below reflect Reconstructing Judaism’s evolving understanding of its commitments to inclusivity and justice. Read them to ground your own work within the movement’s history of advocacy and to spark discussion of where we might go next. 


Jewish Disability and Advocacy Day Community Letter to the 118th Congress (2023)

On February 15th, 2023, Jewish Disability and Advocacy Day, 135 Jewish organizations across the nation—including Reconstructing Judaism—together urged the 118th Congress to “continue to prioritize policies that promote inclusion and accessibility and empower people with disabilities to lead lives of greater independence and economic stability.” Read their letter and see the other signatories.

National Jewish Group Letter Supporting the Americans with Disabilities Act (2018)

In 2018, Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association were among 55 national Jewish organizations who signed a letter urging the Senate to protect the Americans with Disabilities Act. View the letter and its other signatories.

JRF Taskforce Report on Inclusion for People with Disabilities (1994)

The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation’s Task Force on Inclusion for People with Disabilities issued this report in 1994. You can download the document to learn how Reconstructionist leadership understood the call for accessibility in the years immediately after the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990.

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