So many congregations want to find ways to be inclusive of people with disabilities, yet leaders are often uncertain about to how to proceed. They may be concerned that accommodations will cause financial hardship, or that they lack the necessary expertise or staff resources. They may fear resistance among members or decreased membership due to misunderstanding of the needs and capacities of people with disabilities. Temple leaders want to find ways to create access and full participation for all and to remove the social and attitudinal barriers that often
are more significant than the architectural ones, but they often feel isolated in their efforts and uncertain about what might be effective.
The Disability Inclusion Active Learning Network will offer opportunities to learn from professionals in the disabilities community, as well as from
congregations that have successfully developed inclusion strategies that enrich congregational life, increase membership and strengthen sacred
relationships among members while increasing pride in the congregation's inclusivity and ethical leadership. Information about developing Inclusion
Committees, practically applicable resources, funding strategies, special education approaches, partnering possibilities with other organizations and
networking opportunities will be offered as each congregation contributes its experiences, ideas, questions and hopes. When all congregational members and
potential members feel that they and their family members will be valued and seen as having something to contribute, whatever their current or future
abilities or disabilities, everyone's sense of hope and security is enhanced and the synagogue is truly viewed as a welcoming and enduring spiritual home.
More details to follow.
Participation is free for URJ congregations. Registration for the current ALN cycle is now closed. Please check this
page for any updates or for information about future openings
Shelly Christensen, URJ faculty member and co-developer of Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month
Lisa Friedman, disabilities advocate and educator with expertise in inclusion in Jewish religious schools and congregational education programs
Rabbi Lynne Landsberg, Senior Advisor on Disability Issues, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; co-founder and co-chair of the Jewish Disability Network, member of the
steering committee of the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition, and founding chair of the Committee on Disability Awareness and
Inclusion of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.
Barbara Weinstein, Associate Director Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Director of Commission on Social Action.