Message from Jennifer Phillips, Keshet CEO, for Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month.
There is not a minute that goes by where I don’t think about what makes the Keshet community special. Keshet is a place of belonging for everyone; it embodies my dream of what the world should be for us all. Those who know me know that I think about inclusion just about every minute of the day. Making our community inclusive is not just a mission of mine, but it is something I am determined to make happen. Our community carries out this mission every day in all that we do. Making this happen is not just something we talk about, it is our mindset.
I often think about what it means to feel like you are part of something. Not all adults are able to have a voice at the table or are capable of speaking up for themselves. I am so proud and happy that our adults have been heard even more over the past year as we have created new opportunities and experiences in response to the pandemic Keshet creates space for everyone and values each person’s unique gifts, ensuring that our adults have the choice to participate in ways that are meaningful to them.
Our adults have become great advocates for themselves. The skills they have learned extend far beyond Keshet’s walls. I can see it in the clear voices of our team members at GADOL and our residents every day. We worked hard to build this culture of belonging. The impact is huge, and has been a priority since the time our adults were young people at Keshet.
Inclusion provides our adults with opportunities to makes choices built around what they want to do, who they are, and who they want to be. It begins with interests they have, enables them to learn more, gives them opportunities to teach others, and develop relationships with others who have shared interests. Inclusion says that you belong to something that matters to you and others; it says you are part of something. It is what is right and natural.
Now is the time for us to stop just talking about inclusion, and to show the world what belonging is. Keshet is a community that provides opportunities for all. We know that this is just the start of creating a world where everyone has the freedom to choose to live a life of meaning and value.