February is Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month (JDAAIM). Each Friday this month, we will cast a spotlight on an individual who embodies the values of JDAAIM. This is a project of LiNK Jewish Buffalo’s Belonging Initiative and today we are delighted to feature Drew Boehnlein.
Drew is 21 years old with Down syndrome. Born in Chicago, Drew grew up in East Amherst and has been very involved in the Jewish community throughout his life. Drew became a Bar Mitzvah and was confirmed at Temple Beth Zion. He graduated from Hebrew High School and for many years has been active in Temple Beth Tzedek’s Outstretched Arms group. Drew loves going to temple where he dances and sings with the congregation, and he also loves to swim at the JCC.
Drew also enjoys Gigi’s Playhouse. This is a place where individuals with down syndrome can participate in classes. Drew loves his yoga class, Gigi fit class, cooking classes, and art classes. He also loves helping out with classes for younger kids.
More than anything, Drew loves to dance. He loves The Wiggles and can be seen dancing whenever he hears music.
Drew has enjoyed getting to know new and old friends during the last several years as a member of the Future Men’s Jewish Group Home. He looks forward to living with his friends in the new home in the future.
LiNK’s Belonging vision is for all Jews, their friends and Life partners of other faiths, and people exploring Judaism to feel welcome to participate in Jewish living and learning experiences to the extent of their abilities and interest, and to find a space of belonging in Jewish Buffalo regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or ability. For more information on Belonging, please email Mike Steklof here.