The Tikvah Program and Darkhei Noam!

In honor of Jewish Disability Awareness Month, Congregation Darkhei Noam in New York City hosted a program called “Opening the DN Tent: Addressing Inclusion.”  Here are some reflections from Camp Ramh in New England’s Tochnit Avodah (Vocational Education program) Advisor Chana Fuld:

This past Shabbat, in honor of Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month, Howard Blas, Sarah Klabal, a Voc-Eder, and Jacob Pierson, a post voc eder, visited Darkhei Noam.  During davening, on Shabbat morning, Sarah opened the A’ron Kodesh, Jakie carried the Torah, and Howard spoke about Tetzaveh and Communal Responsibility.

Howard, Sarah, and Jakie were then welcomed by the community with a beautiful kiddush. Community members had a chance to get to know Howard, Sarah, and Jakie and speak to them about their experiences at Camp Ramah.

A communal lunch followed with more than 100 in attendance.  Howard spoke about how to Open the DN Tent and make Jewish Synagogues a more inclusive place.  We were honored to have Shelley Cohen, director of The Jewish Inclusion Project at lunch who contributed a lot to the discussion.   

Sarah and Jakie spoke about their experiences in the voc ed program and how it has had and continues to have a positive impact on their life.  Jakie and Sarah both traveled to Israel with Ramah and the Darkhei Community was wowed by their stories about what a meaningful experience the trip was for each of them.  Sarah loves the Camp Ramah Tikvah buddy program because through it she has developed life long friendships with other staff members in camp.  Everyone also loved hearing about how Sarah works as the Camp Ramah photographer providing pictures for all the parents back home to spend the first half of every day looking at. Jakie works in themarp where he enjoys helping Olga, the head nurse.  Both Jakie and Sarah took questions from the audience about their experiences at Ramah. 

By the end of the lunch the entire Darkhei Community was engaged in a discussion about opening Darkhei’s doors in the most inclusive manner possible.  Yashar Kochachem to Howard, Jakie, and Sarah on a wonderfully successful and eye opening event!