I am Here; Hear Me Bark: Comedy, Disability, and the Inclusive Synagogue

Does inclusion come at the cost of limiting ourselves for the sake of accommodating the needs of only a few individuals? Pamela Schuller challenges this assumption by presenting a new framework for inclusion as the beginning of a humorous and holy improvisational process—a process innate to our very tradition. Reflecting on her experiences growing up with Tourette’s Syndrome, Schuller examines the pitfalls and successes she’s encountered in the Jewish community’s attempts at inclusion, while also outlining what the future of inclusion could look like for the Jewish community.

Pamela Schuller is an internationally known inclusion advocate. Her extraordinary personal story of growing up with the most severe case of Tourette Syndrome in the country, and turning that challenge into professional and personal success, is engaging, funny, a little bit heartwrenching, and deeply meaningful. Pamela is an inclusion specialist as well as the manager of a teen and mental health initiative for the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services, and is also a stand-up comedian and founder of www.StandUpInclusion.com. She holds a BA in Psychology and Youth Outreach Through the Arts from Knox College, and an MA in Child Advocacy and Policy from Montclair State University, where she focused her studies on creating improvisational theater programs as a tool for youth with disabilities to improve self-advocacy skills. Named one of the "36 under 36" who are changing the face of the Jewish community by The Jewish Week (May 2016), Schuller is known for using storytelling, laughter and improvisational theater to inspire communities to a new understanding of inclusion.

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