Disability-Informed Rabbi to Discuss Autism in Jewish Culture

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Rabbi Ruti Regan is set to speak from 7:30-9:00 pm Friday March 23rd at Bnai Keshet in Montclair on understanding autism and inclusion through Jewish Culture. Regan will headline the Montclair synagogue’s 2018 scholar-in-residence program March 23-24th, located at 99 South Fullerton Ave, Montclair.

Regan, herself a disabled rabbi, will delve into the many traits of autism that are interwoven into Jewish culture and offer possibilities for greater inclusion. Regan works with Jewish disability organizations Matan and Anachnu and focuses her research on disability-informed spiritual leadership, feminist liturgy, and including disabled perspectives in Torah study.

“We have focused interests, and we talk with our hands,” said Regan, referring to the traits autism and Jewish culture share. “We have structured ritual, and we move when we pray. We use phrases and references to communicate with one another and with God”.

In addition to her Friday night presentation, Regan will present, “From Degradation to Praise: The Haggadah as a Source of Resistance and Resilience”, at 9:00-10:00 am. Saturday March 24th. She will offer a “disability feminist perspective on the seder as a defense against despair and a way to uphold sacred things in degrading circumstances”. She also will teach a workshop for Bnai Keshet faculty on Thursday, March 22nd, and will be visiting religious school classes throughout the morning on March 24th for age-appropriate workshops on disability and Judaism.

Ordained with an MA in liturgy and ritual arts in 2017, by the Jewish Theological Seminary, Regan studied at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Studies, the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and Washington University in St Louis.

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