Conservative Synagogues Get $375K To Better Include Disabled

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism is launching a new push to help congregations become inclusive of people with disabilities.

The initiative, funded by a $375,000 three-year grant from the Ruderman Family Foundation, will involve up to 20 congregations. Each synagogue will assess its current handling of disabilities issues, create an action plan to become more inclusive and then implement it, the foundation announced.

With the new grant, the Ruderman Family Foundation is now funding multi-year partnerships totaling millions of dollars with the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Jewish movements. The foundation also operates a partnership with 70 Faces Media, the parent organization of JTA.

“Disability inclusion is an issue not just confined to one movement or denomination, it’s an issue that has no borders and we see great importance in working with every movement inside Jewish life,” said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation.

An official statement from the foundation heralded the partnership.

“This effort aims to create congregations in which the community culture supports all aspects of inclusion – from the entryway to the bima, from education programs to prayer services, from social activities to the very attitudes of congregants and leaders – allowing people with disabilities and their families to participate fully and comfortably in congregational life,” the statement said.

Rabbi Steve Wernick, the CEO of United Synagogue, said in the statement that the partnership’s pilot stage provided proof that “one can make inclusion a spiritual and programmatic reality.”

“The Hebrew word for inclusion, hachlala, is related to vayachulu, the word used to signify the completion of creation,” Wernick said. “In the same way that creation was not complete until Shabbat was included, our kehillot are not complete until all people are included.”


Conservative Synagogues Get $375K To Better Include Disabled

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Conservative Synagogues Get $375K To Better Include Disabled

Thank you!

This article has been sent!