"First a person should put his house together, then his town, then the world."
Rabbi Israel Salanter (1810-1883)
In 2003, the Temple embraced Lech Lecha, a long range plan that recognized that efforts must be made to make our congregation a comfortable and welcoming place for all. It also set a goal of making Temple Sinai's facilities more accessible for all members of our community. With those principles in mind, the Access Committee was formed so that barriers to full access to the Temple could first be identified and then remedied.
In 2004 the Access Committee submitted and Access Report to the Temple's Board of Trustees. This twenty-page report explains and clarifies issues that the committee has identified as barriers which hinder or prevent full involvement in the Temple Sinai community by individuals with access concerns. Further, it also offers ideas and suggestions on how staff and leadership can begin to work toward resolving these concerns.
The Access report consists of two main sections. The first focuses on access issues with regard to creating a more sensitive environment to insure that all individuals who have specific access concerns feel welcome and able to participate in the various Temple activities. The second section addresses the elimination of barriers to physical access based on a preliminary evaluation of specific areas of the Temple facility by an access specialist. To see a copy of the Access Report, click here.
In 2006, the Access Committee hosted a workshop called "Removing the Stumbling Block: Welcoming and Opening a Path for All". This workshop was attended by Temple Sinai clergy, staff and lay leaders. The primary focus of the workshop was to provide practical ways of addressing issues of access in program and event planning. At the end of the meeting a list of practical suggestions of things we could do better as a community was compiled. To see this list of accessibility-related suggestions, please click here.
In October 2006, Temple Sinai amended its By-Laws to add direct representation of the Access Committee to the Board of Trustees. To our knowledge, we are the first congregation in the Union for Reform Judaism to take this action. To view the thoughtful proposal that was submitted by the Access Committee to the Board of Trustees to make this historic change, please click here.
In December 2006 , Temple Sinai became a member of the Accessible Congregations Campaign. To learn more about this interdenominational campaign, please click here.
Click here to read about creating welcoming programs and sacred spaces for individuals with disabilities. Here is an article by Temple member Neil Jacobson entitled, "People with Disabilities: An Untapped Resource" that was published in the the URJ's Torah at the Center Journal.
As a helpful resource, if you would like to see a copy of a booklet called Disabilities Etiquette: Tips on Interacting with People with Disabilities published by the United Spinal Association, click here.
If you would like to learn more about the Access Committee or would like to discuss an accessibility issue at Temple Sinai please email the Chair of the Access Committee, Rabbi Ruth Adar.
For more information about Jewish Disability Month, February 2019, click here.