A Delicious Way to Celebrate Inclusion

March 07, 2023

A Delicious Way to Celebrate Inclusion

February was Jewish Disability, Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month, and in honor of JDAIM, JF&CS hosted its 4th Annual Kugel Cookoff and Disability 101 Training on February 23. JF&CS Community Access Group Program Manager, Abby Frantz spoke with humor and grace as she delivered the training, defining the key elements of awareness, acceptance, and inclusion as they relate to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Her full presentation can be viewed here.

Following the presentation, JF&CS’ IDDS clients judged seven different kugels prepared by employees and friends of JF&CS, with flavors ranging from sweet to savory. CEO Terri Bonoff’s entry was more like a party in a Pyrex, crowned with unicorn sprinkles and miniature bunting. Other kugels were decorated with fresh sage and dill, raisins, frosted flakes, parsley and more. The judges took their job seriously, deliberating on smell, taste, and appearance. They enjoyed being introduced to the crowd of their peers and JF&CS staff.

Ultimately, HR Coordinator and kugel-making rookie Maggie TeGrotenhuis was crowned the 2023 Kugel Queen for her banana chocolate chip version -congratulations, Maggie!

Kugel is of course a quintessentially Jewish dish, which tied in nicely with the distinction of the “J” in “JDAIM.” Abby pointed out the past and current experiences which link the Jewish and disabled communities, and highlighted local and Israeli programs that serve people with disabilities here and internationally.

The Kugel Cookoff also served as a beautiful example of awareness and inclusivity. Our society does not offer much opportunity to naturally cross paths with people with disabilities, and the kugel competition provided a few moments to simply spend time together over a common love of comfort food. The event was also truly inclusive, in that the organizers respected and cared for the needs of the participants. Those who were able attended in person, with support staff attending as well, ensuring a comfortable environment for all.

In her closing comments, Abby gave an example of true inclusivity, relating it to how we interact at a party. Are we merely greeting people with disabilities at the door then going our separate ways, she asked, or are we continuing to dance together throughout the night?

Thank you to Abby and our IDDS clients for an informative invitation to dance alongside one another. If you would like to watch Abby’s presentation in its entirety, or learn more about our IDD services, click here.

Please Save the Date to join us at The Tasting on May 4th at the Stave Room-benefitting adults with disabilities in the nonsectarian Zimmerman-Horowitz Independent Living Program.

For photos of the kugel cookoff and other happenings, follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

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