Addressing ‘ancient stigmas’
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The Kulanu Project of UJEB

Addressing ‘ancient stigmas’

"Many of the seeds of this bitter fruit of stigma can be traced back to some of our most ancient communal narratives."

From left: Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann, Tal Spinrad, Ruth Gross, David Cohan and Sandra Cavallo.
From left: Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann, Tal Spinrad, Ruth Gross, David Cohan and Sandra Cavallo.

Last week, the Kulanu Project of UJEB hosted a multi-traditions gathering at the ARK Centre to address the stigma that taints the general community’s perception of members of our communities living with disabilities and/or who are on the autism spectrum.

The event, titled “The Courage to Reimagine; the Challenge of the Sacred Inclusion Narrative”, hosted guest speakers that included educators, elders, clergy, and concerned community members.

The event aimed to create open-ended dialogue on how to create a reciprocal inclusive template with an eye on enriching the lives of all within our communities.

Event organiser Tal Spinrad of the Kulanu Project told The AJN that even in 2022, “within our communities … across all our communities, are timeless, ancient stigmas that haunt families and either inhibit their lives, creating stumbling blocks or even worse create an environment where they are forced to ‘closet’ family members because of preconceived notions about their loved ones”.

Spinrad added, “Many of the seeds of this bitter fruit of stigma can be traced back to some of our most ancient communal narratives.

“The question is, do we continue to retell these ancient stories in the same way and thus prolong the ghettoisation of members of our community or do we summon the courage to deconstruct and reimagine these sacred texts in a way that embraces the diversity that enhances our communities? … The choice is ours.”

Rabbi of the ARK Centre Gabi Kaltmann added, “This initiative is critical to better including young persons in our community with disabilities.

“Our community is richer when it includes all voices and I hope this project continues to gain momentum and widespread support.”

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