Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) is a unified effort among Jewish organizations and communities worldwide to raise awareness and foster inclusion of people with disabilities and those who love them.

In Ottawa, the theme for 2022 is “ableism.”

Read more in the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin

What is ableism?

Ableism perpetuates a negative view of disability. It frames being nondisabled as the ideal and disability as a flaw or abnormality. It is a form of systemic oppression that affects people who identify as disabled, as well as anyone who others perceive to be disabled. Ableism can also indirectly affect caregivers.

As with other forms of oppression, people do not always know they are thinking or behaving in an ableist way. This is because people learn ableism from others, consciously or unconsciously. Bias that a person is unaware they have is known as implicit bias.
What does ableism look like?
Lack of compliance with disability rights laws 
Segregating students with disabilities into separate schools
Failing to incorporate accessibility into building design plans
Buildings without braille on signs, elevator buttons, etc.
Inaccessible websites
The assumption that people with disabilities want or need to be ‘fixed’
Using disability as a punchline, or mocking people with disabilities
Refusing to provide reasonable accommodations
The eugenics movement of the early 1900s
The mass murder of disabled people in Nazi Germany

For more information, vist these links:

NewDay Northwest News
What is ableism? (United Nations Human Rights)
What is ableism? (Facebook)


What are ablest micro-aggressions?
Many people don’t mean to be insulting, and a lot have good intentions, but even well-meant comments and actions can take a serious toll on their recipients.
Micro-aggressions are everyday verbal or behavioral expressions that communicate a negative slight or insult in relation to someone’s gender identity, race, sex, disability, etc. In the case of ableism:
“That’s so lame.”
“You are so retarded.”
“That guy is crazy.”
“You’re acting so bi-polar today.”
“Are you off your meds?”
“It’s like the blind leading the blind.”
“My ideas fell on deaf ears.”
“She’s such a psycho.”
“I’m super OCD about how I clean my apartment.”
“Can I pray for you?”
“I don’t even think of you as disabled.”
What can we do to recognize and avert ableism?
Believe people when they disclose a disability
Similarly, don’t accuse people of ‘faking’ their disability
Listen to people when they request an accommodation
Don’t assume you know what someone needs
Never touch a person with a disability or their mobility equipment without consent
Keep invasive questions to yourself
Don’t speak on behalf of someone with a disability unless they explicitly ask you to
Talk about disability with children and young people
Incorporate accessibility into your event planning