Suzanne Kosowitz is a passionate advocate for people with disabilities in Perth, WA. She has been involved with the Youth Disability Advocacy Network to co-design a framework for engaging with disabled young people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities in 2022. In 2023, she participated in consultations with the Disability Legislation Team regarding the review of the Disability Services Act in WA.
Suzanne promotes the “social model of disability”, which defines ‘disability’ as something that is ‘socially constructed’. This challenges the “medical model of disability”, which supposes people with disability are thought to be different to ‘what is normal’. This model implies that ‘Disability’ is seen ‘to be a problem of the individual’, and hence, not something that society at large should solve. The medical model goes against the Jewish principles of “tikkun olam” and “pikuach hanefesh”. Thus, Suzanne sees that the social model provides better outcomes for disabled members of our community and aligns better with Jewish values.
Suzanne is passionate about providing language, knowledge, and context around access and accommodation needs to both disabled people and the wider community. She draws inspiration in her advocacy work from her Jewish background and its ethical literature, and her love of sci-fi series such as Doctor Who. Just as mitzvot can be deemed “space-based” (i.e. mitzvot that can only be observed in Israel) or “time-based” (i.e. mitzvot that can only be observed on Shabbat or Chagim), she devised a framework for access needs around space-based and time-based parameters. This language assists all members of our community in beginning a discourse around access and accommodation needs in an open, flexible and inclusive environment.
“As Doctor Who reminds us, we all navigate this world through time and space. It is therefore only fair to consider what barriers society presents to our disabled friends and family in this light, and what we can do to repair the world for their, and our benefit.” shares Suzanne.