Our goal is the full participation in the spiritual, educational and social aspects of synagogue life for people living with disabilities and for their families.
Jay Ruderman Photo: Noam Galai
The URJ recently announced a new partnership
with the Ruderman Family Foundation
to launch the Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Initiative, which aims to improve
attitudes about inclusion and disabilities among community leaders and clergy,
Jewish professionals, organizational leaders, and congregants, and to ensure
full inclusion and participation of people with disabilities and their families
in every aspect of Reform Jewish life.
Jay Ruderman commented on the partnership: "If we strive to be a light unto the nations, we must understand that social justice begins at home in our synagogues. The inclusion of all members of our community in our houses of worship will allow us to serve as shining examples to all those around us. We believe that our partnership with URJ in the creation of the Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Initiative will provide the tools for all Reform congregations to become inclusive for all members of our community."
The Hineinu guide is an innovative collaboration of disability professionals, activists, and policy experts from the Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist and Reform Jewish Movements designed to increase disability inclusion in our synagogues for people of all abilities.
Suggestions for helping synagogue communities become more welcoming and responsive to families with children with special needs by Dona Hare, Director of the Mitzvah Corp Program at Kutz Leadership Camp
The Winter 2011 issue of this publication for Jewish educators provides articles from educators, professionals, and lay leaders from all around the Reform Movement, each addressing the topic of creating an atmosphere of inclusion in all aspects of Jewish learning.
JDAM Reads for Children! presents practical ideas for raising awareness of disabilities and encouraging tikkun
olam using the picture book Jumping Jenny. Also includes information for a webinar featuring the book's author.
Praying with Lior asks whether someone with Down syndrome can be a "spiritual genius." As this moving and entertaining documentary moves to its climax, Lior must pass through the gateway to manhood - his Bar Mitzvah.
Prepared by Becca Hornstein, Executive Director Council for Jews with Special Needs
NEW Online Learning Program
congregations and Reform professionals are invited to participate in the Ruderman Synagogue
Inclusion Initiative Online
Learning Program beginning fall 2014. Choose modules led by experts on inclusion in worship, religious school and b'nai
mitzvah preparation, early childhood programs and more. Outstanding participation will be honored at the 2015 URJ Biennial.
In his Yom Kippur sermon, Rabbi Kipnes addresses the "veil of silence" and the discomfort people feel around mental illness. He offers a charge to lift up the veil, and not be afraid to talk about mental illnesses and to acknowledge that they, too, are in need of healing.
Through Jewish texts, Dr. William Cutter initiates a conversation of the tension between inclusivity and feeling estranged during a conference in 2001 at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Rabbi Lynne F. Landsberg talks about Jewish Disability Awareness Month, an opportunity for Jewish communities to break down physical, communicative and attitudinal barriers, educate ourselves on the true meaning of accessibility and inclusion, and reach out to Jews with disabilities.
Learn about the people and stories that make Bet Shalom Congregation in Minnetonka, MN an inclusive, welcoming environment, in the video below.
Disability Awareness Project made possible by the Epstein-Wenger Family Supporting Foundation & Warren and Joyce Heilbronner.