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Disability in the Pews: What Does Your Community Do?

Harretz.com reports a new initiative to focus on making synagogues accessible to those with disabilities. Jay Ruderman, a philanthropist, took the stage at the URJ Biennial plenary session, asking the audience if they or someone they knew were disabled in some way. Almost everyone’s hand went up.

Ruderman wants to push for greater inclusion of those who are disabled “to ensure full inclusion and participation of people with disabilities and their families in every aspect of Reform Jewish life.”

Think through your congregation or community in terms of those with disabilities. How many steps are there to get into the building? Where is there room for wheelchairs in the sanctuary — near the front, or toward the back? Do you have large-print resources, including bulletins and hymnals? To be welcoming to those with disabilities, think through how people with different disabilities will experience your building and traditions. What changes would you need to make to be more accessible? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

Ellen Childs
About the Author
Dr. Ellen Childs holds a Ph.D. in sociology from University of Notre Dame. She is Website Director at StudyingCongregations.org