Disability Advocacy In #36under36


The Jewish Week has just released its 10th annual “36 Under 36” supplement, highlighting the amazing work of artists, activists and other leaders in the Jewish community who are making a significant impact in their work at a young age. It is exciting to see that among this year’s 36 winners, two of the leaders are people with disabilities who are making a difference in the field of disability inclusion.

Cheri Srour, 27, is spreading her brand of spiritual resilience through a nonprofit she formed called Because I Can, which aims to bring a never-give-up message to the Jewish community. Srour knows about resilience first-hand: ten years ago she was a typical teenager who was struck with an autoimmune disease that paralyzed her. After intensive rehab, she went on to college and then to pursue the amazing work that she is now bringing to the world. Read her complete profile here.

Lauren Tuchman, 31, is a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Tuchman, who is blind and perhaps the first-ever blind female rabbinical student, is helping her fellow students and also professors to wrestle with some problematic Jewish texts around disability and to think about inclusion through a more expansive lens. Read her complete profile here.

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer directs Jewish Learning Venture’s Whole Community Inclusion which fosters inclusion of people with disabilities through the Philadelphia Jewish community. She loves writing/editing for “The New Normal” and for WHYY’s newsworks. Her latest book The Little Gate Crasher is a memoir of her Great-Uncle Mace Bugen, a self-made millionaire and celebrity selfie-artist who was 43 inches tall and was chosen for this year’s Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month Book Selections. She’s recently shared an ELI Talk on Standing With Families Raising Kids With Disabilities and has released a journal designed for special needs parents.