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Disability and the Law: A Jewish Perspective

Disability and the Law: A Jewish Perspective

Sunday, March 2, 2014 - 2:00 pm

Listen to audio from the program

This symposium focused on how issues of disability are interpreted through Jewish law, Israeli law and U.S. law. Gideon Sapir talked about the status and legal rights of people with disabilities in Israel and the manner in which Jewish law treats people with disabilities. Deborah Pergament discussed the status and legal rights of people with disabilities in America and address how the Jewish community at large treats these complex issues. Moderator Suzanne Strassberger provided a connection between the presentations and lead a Q & A following the formal remarks.

Deborah PergamentDeborah Pergament is Managing Attorney of Children's Law Group, LLC, and a professor at DePaul University College of Law and Case Western Reserve. She is known for her work representing children with cochlear implants, autism spectrum disorders, visual impairments, and genetic syndromes, and for her expertise on legal issues surrounding prenatal genetic testing, educational policy, and mental health. 

Gideon SapirGideon Sapir received Rabbinical Ordination from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, an LLM and SJD from Northwestern University, and his law degree from Bar-Ilan University, where he serves on the Law School faculty. An expert on constitutional law and theory, he is the founder of two legal clinics, one focused on disability rights and one on rights for the elderly. Professor Sapir is Spertus Institute's 2014 Ezra-Sensibar Visiting Professor.

Suzanne StrassbergerSuzanne Strassberger, who serves as the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago’s Associate Vice President for Government and Community Partnerships, has more than 25 years of policy development, coalition building, and lobbying experience on behalf of children and families. Among other statewide roles, she is a founding member of Illinois Partners for Human Service, a coalition dedicated to strengthening the state-funded human service system.

Resources about Disability and Inclusion

February has been designated Jewish Disability Awareness Month. This portal, on the website of the Union for Reform Judaism, provides a comprehensive list of resources for congregations, organizations, and families. MORE>


This program was the Norman Asher Memorial Lecture and Alex and Klara Tulsky Symposium for 2014. Addressing challenges facing today’s American Jewish community, it reflects the vision of the donors of these long-standing Spertus programs.