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February is Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month

Mark Your Calendars—February is Jewish Disability Awareness Month
Disability Awareness Shabbat: From Welcoming to Belonging
Friday, February 10, 6:30pm, Albers Chapel and Livestream
Celebrating Temple Sinai's Access Committee 20 years of action and accomplishment, this year's Jewish Disability Awareness Shabbat will focus on moving forward to take our synagogue from a place of welcoming to a place of belonging for all congregants. Following introductory remarks and a thought-provoking reading during the service, there will be an interactive discussion aimed at opening our minds to new possibilities for building a diverse and vibrant community.
Shabbat Minyan
Saturday, February 11, 10:30am, Classrooms 315-316 
Myriam Easton and Denise Jacobson will deliver the drash: Getting to Belonging. It will be in-person in classrooms 315-316 and live-streamed.

Other Events in February:

  • The Religious Action Center will be partnering with the Jewish Federations of North America and other organizations as hosts of the Annual Jewish Disability Advocacy Day (JDAD) on February 15th from 9:00 – 10:00am PST. This will be an online program of education, advocacy, empowerment and impact. Register Here. 
  • Racial Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (REDI) 101, Mon, 2/6, 8:00 – 9:30pm ET Beyond Welcoming: Addressing Racism, Homophobia, Ableism, & More. Start building stronger communities and transform the ways in which you can create meaningful Jewish experiences for people of all backgrounds. 
    Register Here. 


"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.

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.

For an Accessibility Checklist for Meetings and Events, 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.



Sat, September 23 2023 8 Tishrei 5784