Shabbat evening speakers – February 4 and February 11, 2022

TOS was fortunate to recently have 2 speaking events following Friday night Shabbat services. On February 4th, the TOS Brotherhood’s Ben Adler Health Initiative featured Dr. Sharon Levine.

Sharon A. Levine, M.D. is the Section Head for Geriatrics in the Division of Palliative Care and General Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.  A nationally known expert in geriatrics education, teaching and clinical care, Dr. Levine has focused her clinical, scholarly, educational, and leadership efforts on innovative approaches to collaborative care of the elderly. It is her mission to “geriatricize” health care, to inspire and train non-geriatricians and their institutions, and to provide care to older patients in informed and effective ways. She has designed, evaluated and disseminated novel curricula and national guidelines for students, residents, chief residents, fellows, faculty, and practicing primary-care clinicians. She is a current member of the Board of Directors of the American Geriatrics Society (AGS), is a current member and past chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine’s Geriatric Medicine Specialty Board, and served as a trustee of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation. She is a recipient of the Dennis W. Jahnigen education award from the AGS. 

Dr. Levine’s presentation entitled “Navigating Elderhood: What Matters Most to You?” can be viewed here:

Then on February 11th, in support of Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance & Inclusion Month (JDAIM), we heard from Jewish disability inclusion leaders Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer and Shelly Christensen. They shared their own stories as moms of autistic children, why belonging is the key to a more diverse and rich Jewish community, and how we can apply lessons of the past two years. 

Shelly Christensen co-founded JDAIM 13 years ago with the Jewish Special Education Consortium. She is the founder of Inclusion Innovations, where she provides consultation, keynotes, training, and guidance to Jewish and interfaith organizations and communities. She received the prestigious Reimagining Spirituality Leadership Award in 2021 from the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) Religion and Spirituality Network. Shelly’s most recent book is From Longing to Belonging: A Practical Guide to Including People with Disabilities and Mental Health Conditions in Your Faith Community. 

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer is an experienced Jewish educator, writer and disability advocate. At Jewish Learning Venture, she works as the Chief Program Officer and directs JLV’s Whole Community Inclusion initiative. Her most recent book The Little Gate Crasher is a memoir of her Great-Uncle, who overcame society’s prejudices about dwarfism to lead a remarkable life. She’s also written a journal created for fellow parents raising children with disabilities. Gabby holds a B.F.A. in Theatre and Creative Writing from Emerson College and an M.A. in Jewish Studies from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. 

Gabby and Shelly are the creators and co-hosts of the web series “Everyone’s Welcome-A Fresh Conversation About Disabilities.” Their new podcast “Stories of Belonging-Faith, Disability and Mental Health” will premiere in the spring. 

Gabby and Shelly’s program can be found here: