We know it’s important – and invaluable – to create a seat in the classroom for every child. But saying is easier than doing. How can we use the rules of improv to make inclusion happen in our congregations?
At the heart of the Reform Movement’s commitment to the concept of “audacious hospitality” is the belief that we will be a stronger, more vibrant community when we fully integrate the diversity that is the reality – and the future – of modern Jewish life. Jewish Disability Advocacy and Inclusion Month give us the opportunity to strengthen our commitment to social change and highlight the need for ongoing awareness.
Rather than planning separate programming for people with disabilities, take a look at what your community already offers and view it through an inclusive lens. Ask, “What can we do to make this more inclusive?”
As Jews, we know all people are created in the image of God, but seeing that Divine presence doesn’t happen simply because we wish it to be so. It takes intentionality to view each person, regardless of his or her differences, as unique and holy.
Rabbi Edythe Held Mencher, L.C.S.W. and Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner
While I realize that this kind of work doesn’t come naturally to everyone, I often take my own efforts for granted. I believe deeply in inclusion, so I make it a priority. You can make inclusion a priority, too.
Exemplar Congregations understand that education is a key component of successfully becoming an inclusive congregation, and they have begun the often-challenging process of igniting the cultural change necessary to bring clergy, lay leadership, and congregants on board.