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2021 Faith Inclusion Survey Responses – Jews

Methodology of the Survey

The survey was administered online from October 5 – October 19, 2021. The questions reached a total of 2,924 respondents.

Respondents were reached through:

  • Paid email blasts (JTA, The Forward, Jewish Journal)
  • Email blasts to RespectAbility and partner lists, as well as social media
  • Individual outreach to Jewish leaders

This is not a random sample and will include more engaged Jews and people with a disability connection than in the general population. The conclusions carry statistical significance within the respondent group, because it is a large population with 2,321 Jews responding.

Due to rounding, some of the numbers in the presentation will not always add to 100%.

Same methodology as 2018 survey

Survey Results

Q1. A disability can be a physical, cognitive, sensory, mental health, chronic pain or another condition that is a barrier to everyday living. In describing your connection to disability, please check all that apply:

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
None of the above 23.01% 534 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 100.00% 534
I have a disability 27.83% 646 100.00% 646 22.75% 336 0.00% 0
I have a close friend or family member with a disability 51.14% 1187 46.75% 302 80.37% 1187 0.00% 0
I work professionally on behalf of people with disabilities 16.98% 394 16.10% 104 26.68% 394 0.00% 0
I regularly volunteer for disability causes 10.56% 245 12.69% 82 16.59% 245 0.00% 0
I am a primary and unpaid caregiver to a person with a disability 8.92% 207 8.05% 52 14.01% 207 0.00% 0
Answered 2321 Answered 646 Answered 1477 Answered 534
Skipped 0 Skipped 0 Skipped 0 Skipped 0

Q2. What is your religious affiliation?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Protestant Christian 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Roman Catholic 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Orthodox Christian 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Evangelical Christian 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Jewish 100.00% 2321 100.00% 646 100.00% 1477 100.00% 534
Muslim 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Hindu 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Buddhist 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
No Religion 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Other (please specify) 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Answered 2321 Answered 646 Answered 1477 Answered 534
Skipped 0 Skipped 0 Skipped 0 Skipped 0

Q3. Would you describe yourself as primarily…

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Just Jewish/Culturally Jewish 13.24% 282 16.33% 98 11.62% 160 14.89% 70
Reconstructionist 4.65% 99 7.83% 47 4.79% 66 3.83% 18
Reform 24.46% 521 27.17% 163 24.62% 339 21.91% 103
Conservative 25.68% 547 21.83% 131 26.87% 370 24.89% 117
Modern Orthodox 12.35% 263 11.83% 71 11.84% 163 13.62% 64
Orthodox 3.71% 79 4.33% 26 3.27% 45 3.83% 18
Chabad 9.81% 209 2.83% 17 10.24% 141 12.77% 60
Other (please specify) 6.10% 130 7.83% 47 6.75% 93 4.26% 20
Answered 2130 Answered 600 Answered 1377 Answered 470
Skipped 191 Skipped 46 Skipped 100 Skipped 64

Q4. Overall, how well is the Jewish community doing at including people with disabilities in synagogues, Jewish organizations, and communal activities?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Extremely Well 10.64% 227 6.79% 41 9.56% 132 14.35% 67
Very Well 19.88% 424 17.55% 106 18.83% 260 22.91% 107
Somewhat Well 40.98% 874 40.73% 246 44.10% 609 35.76% 167
Not So Well 14.30% 305 19.54% 118 15.50% 214 8.99% 42
Not At All Well 2.63% 56 3.81% 23 3.19% 44 0.86% 4
I Don’t Know 11.58% 247 11.59% 70 8.83% 122 17.13% 80
Answered 2133 Answered 604 Answered 1381 Answered 467
Skipped 188 Skipped 42 Skipped 96 Skipped 67

2018 Survey: Overall, how well is the Jewish community doing at including people with disabilities in synagogues, Jewish organizations, and communal activities?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Extremely Well 3.07% 70 3.38% 17 2.51% 35 3.32% 23
Very Well 14.89% 340 12.33% 62 14.29% 199 16.33% 113
Somewhat Well 42.97% 981 41.75% 210 46.16% 643 37.86% 262
Not So Well 16.08% 367 18.89% 95 18.52% 258 11.99% 83
Not At All Well 2.28% 52 3.38% 17 2.73% 38 1.16% 8
I Do Not Know 20.72% 473 20.28% 102 15.79% 220 29.34% 203
Answered 2283 Answered 503 Answered 1393 Answered 692
Skipped 298 Skipped 59 Skipped 157 Skipped 106

Q5. Compared to 5 years ago, how is the Jewish community at including people with disabilities?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Much Better 26.58% 569 18.65% 113 26.59% 368 30.21% 142
A Little Better 37.65% 806 39.60% 240 40.90% 566 32.34% 152
About The Same 20.18% 432 24.09% 146 19.73% 273 16.60% 78
Somewhat Worse 0.98% 21 1.82% 11 1.16% 16 0.43% 2
Much Worse 0.19% 4 0.33% 2 0.14% 2 0.21% 1
I Don’t Know 14.43% 309 15.51% 94 11.49% 159 20.21% 95
Answered 2141 Answered 606 Answered 1384 Answered 470
Skipped 180 Skipped 40 Skipped 93 Skipped 64

2018 Survey: Compared to 5 years ago, how is the Jewish community at including people with disabilities?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
MUCH BETTER 19.44% 444 16.44% 83 20.03% 279 18.52% 128
A LITTLE BETTER 36.65% 837 37.62% 190 40.06% 558 31.26% 216
ABOUT THE SAME 16.07% 367 17.82% 90 17.01% 237 13.60% 94
SOMEWHAT WORSE 0.96% 22 1.19% 6 0.93% 13 1.01% 7
MUCH WORSE 0.18% 4 0.20% 1 0.29% 4 0.00% 0
I DON’T KNOW 26.71% 610 26.73% 135 21.68% 302 35.60% 246
Answered 2284 Answered 505 Answered 1393 Answered 691
Skipped 297 Skipped 57 Skipped 157 Skipped 107

Q6. Where in the community do you find the most access and inclusive environment for people with disabilities?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Jewish Federation 4.92% 105 4.79% 29 4.57% 63 6.18% 29
Jewish Day Schools 3.84% 82 2.98% 18 3.63% 50 4.48% 21
Jewish Summer Camps 9.09% 194 6.94% 42 11.39% 157 7.04% 33
Synagogues 21.17% 452 21.49% 130 19.65% 271 22.39% 105
Social Organizations such as Pop-Up Shabbat, Chavurahs 2.67% 57 2.98% 18 2.83% 39 1.92% 9
Jewish Human Services Organizations 13.86% 296 9.75% 59 15.81% 218 12.37% 58
Jewish Social Justice/Civic Engagement/Advocacy Groups 5.20% 111 6.78% 41 5.00% 69 4.26% 20
I Don’t Know 31.76% 678 36.69% 222 28.50% 393 37.31% 175
Other (please specify) 7.49% 160 7.60% 46 8.63% 119 4.05% 19
Answered 2135 Answered 605 Answered 1379 Answered 469
Skipped 186 Skipped 41 Skipped 98 Skipped 65

Q7. Where in the community do you find the most challenges for access and inclusion of people with disabilities?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Jewish Federation 3.34% 71 2.99% 18 3.21% 44 3.21% 15
Jewish Day Schools 11.95% 254 8.80% 53 14.94% 205 7.48% 35
Jewish Summer Camps 5.41% 115 6.98% 42 5.25% 72 5.56% 26
Synagogues 18.11% 385 24.09% 145 18.22% 250 13.46% 63
Social Organizations such as Pop-Up Shabbat, Chavurahs 4.84% 103 6.64% 40 5.25% 72 3.21% 15
Jewish Human Services Organizations 0.89% 19 1.00% 6 0.73% 10 0.85% 4
Jewish Social Justice/Civic Engagement/Advocacy Groups 1.98% 42 3.65% 22 1.90% 26 1.07% 5
I Don’t Know 49.67% 1056 40.37% 243 46.21% 634 63.46% 297
Other (please specify) 3.81% 81 5.48% 33 4.30% 59 1.71% 8
Answered 2126 Answered 602 Answered 1372 Answered 468
Skipped 195 Skipped 44 Skipped 105 Skipped 66

Q8. Please check off if you live in a community served by any of these:

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
None of the above 61.61% 1313 65.56% 394 58.49% 806 67.24% 314
Jewish Federation of Greater Washington 8.07% 172 7.15% 43 9.07% 125 6.21% 29
Jewish Federation of Greater Houston 9.01% 192 6.49% 39 10.45% 144 6.85% 32
UJA- Federation of New York 10.42% 222 9.32% 56 10.60% 146 10.92% 51
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles 10.89% 232 11.48% 69 11.39% 157 8.78% 41
Answered 2131 Answered 601 Answered 1378 Answered 467
Skipped 190 Skipped 45 Skipped 99 Skipped 67

Q9. Which of the following do you think is the most convincing reason why inclusion of people with disabilities should be a more important priority for the Jewish community? 

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
We are a stronger community when we are welcoming, diverse, and respect one another. Everyone should feel that their presence and participation is welcome and meaningful. We want our children, parents, grandparents and friends with disabilities to have an equal opportunity to fully participate in our community. 57.56% 1180 53.20% 308 59.69% 798 56.24% 248
Jewish tradition teaches us to include people with disabilities. Some of our greatest religious leaders had disabilities, including Moses, Jacob and Isaac. 9.46% 194 8.64% 50 8.45% 113 11.11% 49
Problems are best solved by working with people who have experienced them firsthand and understand solutions that work. Jews with disabilities should be at decision making tables, just like anyone else. 9.66% 198 13.99% 81 9.80% 131 6.80% 30
If we value Jewish survival, that means we value all Jews, everyone is needed. If we exclude a Jew with a disability, we will lose not only them but risk alienating their entire family as well. 8.68% 178 8.98% 52 8.45% 113 8.16% 36
Jews should be at the forefront of social justice and inclusion of all people, including in racial equity, sexual orientation and identity, disability status and other marginalized identities. 14.63% 300 15.20% 88 13.61% 182 17.69% 78
Answered 2050 Answered 579 Answered 1337 Answered 441
Skipped 271 Skipped 67 Skipped 140 Skipped 93

Q10. And what would be your second choice? 

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
We are a stronger community when we are welcoming, diverse, and respect one another. Everyone should feel that their presence and participation is welcome and meaningful. We want our children, parents, grandparents and friends with disabilities to have an equal opportunity to fully participate in our community. 25.43% 508 25.74% 148 24.77% 324 27.25% 115
Jewish tradition teaches us to include people with disabilities. Some of our greatest religious leaders had disabilities, including Moses, Jacob and Isaac. 17.67% 353 19.30% 111 18.04% 236 15.40% 65
Problems are best solved by working with people who have experienced them firsthand and understand solutions that work. Jews with disabilities should be at decision making tables, just like anyone else. 20.32% 406 21.04% 121 21.25% 278 18.48% 78
If we value Jewish survival, that means we value all Jews, everyone is needed. If we exclude a Jew with a disability, we will lose not only them but risk alienating their entire family as well. 15.97% 319 14.43% 83 15.44% 202 17.54% 74
Jews should be at the forefront of social justice and inclusion of all people, including in racial equity, sexual orientation and identity, disability status and other marginalized identities. 20.62% 412 19.48% 112 20.49% 268 21.33% 90
Answered 1998 Answered 575 Answered 1308 Answered 422
Skipped 323 Skipped 71 Skipped 169 Skipped 112

2018 Survey: Which of the following do you think is the most convincing reason why inclusion of people with disabilities should be a more important priority for your faith community:

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Answered 2269 Answered 493 Answered 1385 Answered 689
Skipped 312 Skipped 69 Skipped 165 Skipped 109

Q11. How important are each of the following to you?

Total Jewish

Not At All Important Not So Important Somewhat Important Very Important Extremely Important Total Weighted Average
Increasing inclusion of people with disabilities in faith-based organizations and institutions 0.35% 7 1.09% 22 13.54% 274 38.36% 776 46.66% 944 2023 3.3
Enabling people with disabilities to get the education, skills and jobs they need to succeed 0.25% 5 0.30% 6 3.32% 67 24.32% 491 71.82% 1450 2019 3.67
Fighting stigmas and low expectations that undermine and limit people with disabilities 0.20% 4 0.79% 16 5.25% 106 28.71% 580 65.05% 1314 2020 3.58
Empowering people with disabilities to get leadership opportunities and have seats at decision-making tables 0.69% 14 1.83% 37 10.24% 207 33.15% 670 54.08% 1093 2021 3.38
Answered 2026
Skipped 295


Not At All Important Not So Important Somewhat Important Very Important Extremely Important Total Weighted Average
Increasing inclusion of people with disabilities in faith-based organizations and institutions 0.52% 3 0.86% 5 11.74% 68 37.65% 218 49.22% 285 579 3.34
Enabling people with disabilities to get the education, skills and jobs they need to succeed 0.35% 2 0.17% 1 2.95% 17 22.92% 132 73.61% 424 576 3.69
Fighting stigmas and low expectations that undermine and limit people with disabilities 0.52% 3 0.70% 4 3.30% 19 24.52% 141 70.96% 408 575 3.65
Empowering people with disabilities to get leadership opportunities and have seats at decision-making tables 0.52% 3 1.04% 6 6.41% 37 29.64% 171 62.39% 360 577 3.52
Answered 580
Skipped 66


Not At All Important Not So Important Somewhat Important Very Important Extremely Important Total Weighted Average
Increasing inclusion of people with disabilities in faith-based organizations and institutions 0.08% 1 0.61% 8 12.49% 165 37.09% 490 49.74% 657 1321 3.36
Enabling people with disabilities to get the education, skills and jobs they need to succeed 0.08% 1 0.15% 2 2.96% 39 22.10% 291 74.72% 984 1317 3.71
Fighting stigmas and low expectations that undermine and limit people with disabilities 0.00% 0 0.76% 10 4.70% 62 26.21% 346 68.33% 902 1320 3.62
Empowering people with disabilities to get leadership opportunities and have seats at decision-making tables 0.45% 6 2.12% 28 9.92% 131 32.17% 425 55.34% 731 1321 3.4
Answered 1323
Skipped 154


Not At All Important Not So Important Somewhat Important Very Important Extremely Important Total Weighted Average
Increasing inclusion of people with disabilities in faith-based organizations and institutions 0.70% 3 2.56% 11 17.02% 73 43.82% 188 35.90% 154 429 3.12
Enabling people with disabilities to get the education, skills and jobs they need to succeed 0.47% 2 0.70% 3 4.19% 18 29.07% 125 65.58% 282 430 3.59
Fighting stigmas and low expectations that undermine and limit people with disabilities 0.23% 1 0.93% 4 7.21% 31 37.91% 163 53.72% 231 430 3.44
Empowering people with disabilities to get leadership opportunities and have seats at decision-making tables 1.40% 6 1.40% 6 13.52% 58 37.30% 160 46.39% 199 429 3.26
Answered 430
Skipped 104

2018 Survey: Which is currently most important to you?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Increasing inclusion of people with disabilities in faith based organizations and institutions 8.15% 208 7.99% 44 9.62% 148 6.23% 49
Protecting access to healthcare, Medicaid and SSDI for people with disabilities 43.63% 1114 49.91% 275 43.21% 665 42.19% 332
Enabling people with disabilities to get the education and jobs they need to succeed 30.20% 771 24.32% 134 29.63% 456 32.40% 255
Fighting stigmas that undermine and limit people with disabilities 18.02% 460 17.79% 98 17.54% 270 19.19% 151
Answered 2553 Answered 551 Answered 1539 Answered 787
Skipped 28 Skipped 11 Skipped 11 Skipped 11

Q12. Which of the following do you think is the biggest barrier to fully including more people with disabilities in your faith community?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Inclusion is expensive and the community has limited resources. 21.06% 414 20.53% 116 19.50% 251 25.30% 105
There is prejudice and unacknowledged stigma against people with disabilities. 32.15% 632 36.28% 205 33.72% 434 25.30% 105
Religious leaders and activists want to be inclusive, but they don’t know how. 19.38% 381 17.52% 99 20.90% 269 17.35% 72
Other emergencies and communal needs are more pressing. 5.24% 103 5.49% 31 4.97% 64 5.54% 23
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) exempted religious institutions. 2.54% 50 4.60% 26 1.86% 24 2.65% 11
There aren’t many people with disabilities and those in the community are included. 4.48% 88 2.48% 14 3.50% 45 7.71% 32
Including people with disabilities can be complicated and we don’t have the expertise to serve every need. 15.16% 298 13.10% 74 15.54% 200 16.14% 67
Answered 1966 Answered 565 Answered 1287 Answered 415
Skipped 355 Skipped 81 Skipped 190 Skipped 119

Q13. And what would be your second choice?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Inclusion is expensive and the community has limited resources. 16.47% 321 15.40% 87 16.94% 216 15.85% 65
There is prejudice and unacknowledged stigma against people with disabilities. 16.21% 316 17.35% 98 17.41% 222 12.20% 50
Religious leaders and activists want to be inclusive, but they don’t know how. 23.76% 463 25.84% 146 24.55% 313 21.71% 89
Other emergencies and communal needs are more pressing. 11.03% 215 10.44% 59 10.12% 129 12.68% 52
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) exempted religious institutions. 4.41% 86 8.14% 46 3.84% 49 3.41% 14
There aren’t many people with disabilities and those in the community are included. 4.21% 82 3.36% 19 2.98% 38 8.29% 34
Including people with disabilities can be complicated and we don’t have the expertise to serve every need. 23.91% 466 19.47% 110 24.16% 308 25.85% 106
Answered 1949 Answered 565 Answered 1275 Answered 410
Skipped 372 Skipped 81 Skipped 202 Skipped 124

2018 Survey: Which of the following do you think is the biggest barrier to fully including more people with disabilities in your faith community?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Answered 2066 Answered 450 Answered 1280 Answered 610
Skipped 515 Skipped 112 Skipped 270 Skipped 188

Q14. Has the leadership of the faith organization you most closely align with made a specific commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion that has been made public to management, staff, stakeholders, and the public?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Yes 56.88% 1133 50.09% 286 60.40% 787 53.79% 227
No 12.35% 246 15.94% 91 12.20% 159 10.43% 44
I Don’t Know 30.77% 613 33.98% 194 27.40% 357 35.78% 151
Answered 1992 Answered 571 Answered 1303 Answered 422
Skipped 329 Skipped 75 Skipped 174 Skipped 112

Q15. Please check all the diversity areas that were specifically named:

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Race 72.23% 801 76.87% 216 71.85% 554 71.04% 157
Gender 71.06% 788 76.16% 214 71.60% 552 69.23% 153
Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity 71.06% 788 78.29% 220 70.95% 547 70.14% 155
Disability 88.01% 976 86.83% 244 89.23% 688 84.62% 187
Ideology 28.76% 319 32.74% 92 28.79% 222 25.34% 56
Other (please specify) 7.57% 84 8.19% 23 7.91% 61 8.14% 18
Answered 1109 Answered 281 Answered 771 Answered 221
Skipped 1212 Skipped 365 Skipped 706 Skipped 313

Q16. In the faith-based institutions and groups that you are active in, do you feel that people with disabilities are included? (i.e. social activities, men’s clubs/sisterhoods, youth groups)

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Yes 36.88% 717 30.62% 173 35.53% 452 41.77% 170
Sometimes 41.87% 814 42.83% 242 45.13% 574 36.86% 150
No 6.79% 132 9.56% 54 7.47% 95 2.95% 12
I Don’t Know 8.85% 172 9.20% 52 7.31% 93 11.79% 48
I am not active in any faith based institutions 5.61% 109 7.79% 44 4.56% 58 6.63% 27
Answered 1944 Answered 565 Answered 1272 Answered 407
Skipped 377 Skipped 81 Skipped 205 Skipped 127

2018 Survey: In the faith-based institutions and groups that you are active in, do you feel that people with disabilities are included? ( activities, men’s clubs/sisterhoods, youth groups)

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
YES 32.74% 733 32.11% 158 30.95% 425 35.22% 237
SOMETIMES 41.09% 920 38.62% 190 46.54% 639 33.73% 227
NO 5.36% 120 6.71% 33 6.05% 83 3.57% 24
I DON’T KNOW 9.69% 217 9.15% 45 7.57% 104 13.37% 90
I AM NOT ACTIVE IN ANY FAITH BASED INSTITUTIONS 11.12% 249 13.41% 66 8.89% 122 14.12% 95
Answered 2239 Answered 492 Answered 1373 Answered 673
Skipped 342 Skipped 70 Skipped 177 Skipped 125

Q17. How has the increase in virtual formats/online participation impacted your ability to access and be included in your faith community?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Significantly Increased my ability to participate 33.83% 652 40.64% 228 33.39% 422 29.68% 119
Somewhat Increased my ability to participate 33.11% 638 32.26% 181 33.62% 425 32.42% 130
Somewhat Decreased my ability to participate 5.50% 106 5.88% 33 5.62% 71 4.99% 20
Significantly Decreased my ability to participate 2.75% 53 2.85% 16 2.53% 32 3.24% 13
No Impact 24.81% 478 18.36% 103 24.84% 314 29.68% 119
Answered 1927 Answered 561 Answered 1264 Answered 401
Skipped 394 Skipped 85 Skipped 213 Skipped 133

Q18. Have you or another person with a disability in your household ever been turned away from an activity at an organization in your faith community because of its inability or unwillingness to make a reasonable accommodation?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Yes 14.84% 288 21.57% 121 17.94% 228 3.19% 13
No 52.19% 1013 60.43% 339 53.42% 679 41.42% 169
I Don’t Know 11.70% 227 11.41% 64 12.67% 161 10.05% 41
Not Applicable 21.28% 413 6.60% 37 15.97% 203 45.34% 185
Answered 1941 Answered 561 Answered 1271 Answered 408
Skipped 380 Skipped 85 Skipped 206 Skipped 126

2018 Survey: Has a person with a disability in your household ever been turned away from an activity at an organization in your faith community because of its inability or unwillingness to make a reasonable accommodation?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
YES 11.74% 250 18.26% 86 16.98% 223 1.75% 11
NO 40.21% 856 56.48% 266 45.09% 592 23.33% 147
I DON’T KNOW 12.78% 272 15.50% 73 15.08% 198 7.78% 49
NOT APPLICABLE 35.27% 751 9.77% 46 22.85% 300 67.14% 423
Answered 2129 Answered 471 Answered 1313 Answered 630
Skipped 452 Skipped 91 Skipped 237 Skipped 168

Q19. OPTIONAL: If you or someone with a disability has been excluded, please share when and what happened and any ideas you have in order to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Answered 317 132 227 31
Skipped 2004 514 1250 503

Q20. Do you feel that people with disabilities are encouraged to serve on the boards and committees of your faith-based institutions?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Yes 14.52% 279 15.32% 85 13.04% 164 16.63% 67
Sometimes 22.23% 427 22.34% 124 22.10% 278 23.33% 94
No 25.92% 498 29.55% 164 29.01% 365 15.14% 61
I Don’t Know 33.52% 644 27.93% 155 32.67% 411 39.95% 161
I am not active in any faith based institutions 3.80% 73 4.86% 27 3.18% 40 4.96% 20
Answered 1921 Answered 555 Answered 1258 Answered 403
Skipped 400 Skipped 91 Skipped 219 Skipped 131

2018 Survey: Do you feel that people with disabilities are encouraged to serve on the boards and committees of your faith based institutions?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
YES 15.52% 347 17.96% 88 13.80% 189 17.11% 115
SOMETIMES 20.89% 467 23.47% 115 23.21% 318 15.92% 107
NO 24.42% 546 25.31% 124 28.39% 389 17.71% 119
I DON’T KNOW 30.95% 692 24.69% 121 27.66% 379 39.43% 265
I AM NOT ACTIVE IN ANY FAITH BASED INSTITUTIONS 8.23% 184 8.57% 42 6.93% 95 9.82% 66
Answered 2236 Answered 490 Answered 1370 Answered 672
Skipped 345 Skipped 72 Skipped 180 Skipped 126

Q21. Do you know of any clergy or staff with disabilities at your own faith-based institutions?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Yes 19.77% 380 22.48% 125 21.84% 275 14.89% 60
No 54.32% 1044 52.16% 290 52.90% 666 57.07% 230
I Don’t Know 22.27% 428 20.14% 112 22.32% 281 24.07% 97
I am not active in any faith based institutions 3.64% 70 5.22% 29 2.94% 37 3.97% 16
Answered 1922 Answered 556 Answered 1259 Answered 403
Skipped 399 Skipped 90 Skipped 218 Skipped 131

2018 Survey: Do you know of any clergy or staff with disabilities at your own faith based institutions?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
YES 12.52% 280 15.42% 76 14.33% 196 9.35% 63
NO 55.43% 1240 50.10% 247 54.75% 749 58.01% 391
I DON’T KNOW 22.98% 514 22.72% 112 23.90% 327 21.36% 144
I AM NOT ACTIVE IN ANY FAITH BASED INSTITUTIONS 9.07% 203 11.76% 58 7.02% 96 11.28% 76
Answered 2237 Answered 493 Answered 1368 Answered 674
Skipped 344 Skipped 69 Skipped 182 Skipped 124

Q22. OPTIONAL: Please specify any institution that you know of that has clergy or staff and/or leaders with disabilities? If comfortable, please also provide their names.

Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Answered 237 98 154 39
Skipped 2084 548 1323 495

Q23. OPTIONAL: If you have seen a particular example of successful disability inclusion in your faith community, please share it with us. 

Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Answered 437 149 326 58
Skipped 1884 497 1151 476

Q24. Have you engaged with RespectAbility over the past few years? If so, please share how you have engaged with RespectAbility. Please check all that apply.

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
I have attended their in-person events 4.04% 75 5.23% 28 4.89% 60 1.56% 6
I get their emails 14.16% 263 17.20% 92 16.31% 200 9.38% 36
I read and/or use their toolkits 6.35% 118 9.72% 52 7.26% 89 3.39% 13
I have attended at least one of their free webinars 7.16% 133 12.15% 65 8.65% 106 1.82% 7
I have sought them out for advice, technical assistance or support 2.37% 44 3.55% 19 2.85% 35 0.78% 3
I have not engaged with RespectAbility 80.88% 1502 77.20% 413 78.14% 958 87.50% 336
Answered 1857 Answered 535 Answered 1226 Answered 384
Skipped 464 Skipped 111 Skipped 251 Skipped 150

Q25. RespectAbility’s mission is to fight stigmas and advance opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. It is a diverse, disability-led nonprofit that works to create systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities and advances policies and practices that empower people with disabilities to have a better future. On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very unfavorable and 10 being extremely favorable, how favorable is the organization RespectAbility?

Total Jewish

Star % #
1 0.70% 13
2 0.43% 8
3 0.16% 3
4 0.27% 5
5 2.09% 39
6 1.40% 26
7 2.09% 39
8 7.03% 131
9 6.49% 121
10 15.41% 287
I have not previously heard of RespectAbility 63.93% 1191
Total 1863
Weighted Average 8.47
Answered 1863
Skipped 458


Star % #
1 1.29% 7
2 0.37% 2
3 0.18% 1
4 0.18% 1
5 2.77% 15
6 1.85% 10
7 2.95% 16
8 7.56% 41
9 6.64% 36
10 14.58% 79
I have not previously heard of RespectAbility 61.962% 334
Total 542
Weighted Average 8.21
Answered 542


Star % #
1 0.24% 3
2 0.33% 4
3 0.08% 1
4 0.24% 3
5 1.96% 24
6 1.22% 15
7 1.71% 21
8 7.42% 91
9 6.93% 85
10 17.20% 211
I have not previously heard of RespectAbility 62.67% 769
Total 1227
Weighted Average 8.7


Star % #
1 1.04% 4
2 0.52% 2
3 0.26% 1
4 0.52% 2
5 2.35% 9
6 1.04% 4
7 2.09% 8
8 6.53% 25
9 5.74% 22
10 12.53% 48
I have not previously heard of RespectAbility 67.36% 258
Total 383
Weighted Average 8.18

Q26. At RespectAbility, we are working to expand inclusion and opportunities for people with disabilities. Do you have any advice for us that would help us to be more successful?

Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Answered 574 212 393 82
Skipped 1747 434 1084 452

Q27. Please share any additional information about inclusion efforts in which you are involved that we should know more about.

Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Answered 296 120 206 35
Skipped 2025 526 1271 499

Q28. What type of disability do you have or does a member of your household have? (PLEASE CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
I Prefer Not to Answer 6.76% 123 4.49% 24 6.22% 75 9.04% 33
No Disability 24.56% 447 0.75% 4 18.16% 219 61.64% 225
On The Autism Spectrum 13.35% 243 12.34% 66 17.83% 215 2.19% 8
Learning Disability 15.44% 281 16.82% 90 19.32% 233 6.58% 24
Developmental Disability 8.52% 155 6.36% 34 11.94% 144 0.55% 2
Cognitive Disability 7.36% 134 5.61% 30 10.20% 123 0.55% 2
Intellectual Disability 5.49% 100 3.18% 17 7.88% 95 0.00% 0
Speech Or Language Disability 6.98% 127 5.79% 31 9.54% 115 0.82% 3
Mental Health 20.88% 380 33.08% 177 25.12% 303 5.21% 19
Orthopedic Disability 11.92% 217 23.36% 125 13.02% 157 1.37% 5
Hard Of Hearing/Hearing Loss 14.01% 255 20.93% 112 13.60% 164 10.68% 39
Deafness 2.75% 50 5.05% 27 2.82% 34 0.55% 2
Blindness Or Low Vision 3.46% 63 4.67% 25 3.90% 47 1.37% 5
Traumatic Brain Injury 2.25% 41 4.86% 26 2.49% 30 0.27% 1
Neoromuscular Disability 5.60% 102 10.84% 58 6.80% 82 0.55% 2
Neurological Disability 7.86% 143 14.58% 78 8.87% 107 1.10% 4
Imuno-Deficiency 4.07% 74 8.79% 47 4.56% 55 1.10% 4
Auto-Immune 10.11% 184 18.50% 99 11.36% 137 3.84% 14
Chronic Pain 15.11% 275 31.96% 171 15.84% 191 4.93% 18
Other (please specify) 11.87% 216 17.20% 92 12.85% 155 4.11% 15
Answered 1820 Answered 535 Answered 1206 Answered 365
Skipped 501 Skipped 111 Skipped 271 Skipped 169

Q29. What is the highest level of education that you have completed?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Some High School 0.27% 5 0.19% 1 0.25% 3 0.53% 2
Certificate Of Completion 0.33% 6 0.56% 3 0.25% 3 0.00% 0
High School Graduate/GED 2.08% 38 3.20% 17 1.74% 21 1.34% 5
Some College/Vocational School 7.22% 132 9.23% 49 5.88% 71 8.29% 31
Associate Degree 3.28% 60 4.33% 23 2.65% 32 3.48% 13
Bachelor’s Degree 27.34% 500 28.44% 151 27.57% 333 25.67% 96
Graduate Degree 39.20% 717 39.74% 211 41.23% 498 35.56% 133
Professional Degree (JD, MD, DVM, etc.) 20.28% 371 14.31% 76 20.45% 247 25.13% 94
Answered 1829 Answered 531 Answered 1208 Answered 374
Skipped 492 Skipped 115 Skipped 269 Skipped 160

Q30. Which of the following best describes you?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Woman 68.03% 1251 69.29% 370 70.63% 856 61.74% 234
Man 27.95% 514 22.85% 122 25.41% 308 36.68% 139
Non-binary 1.03% 19 2.81% 15 0.91% 11 0.26% 1
Agender Gender 0.05% 1 0.19% 1 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Fluid Gender 0.16% 3 0.37% 2 0.17% 2 0.00% 0
Queer 0.49% 9 1.31% 7 0.33% 4 0.26% 1
Prefer not to answer 1.41% 26 1.69% 9 1.40% 17 1.06% 4
Prefer to Self Describe 0.87% 16 1.50% 8 1.16% 14 0.00% 0
Answered 1839 Answered 534 Answered 1212 Answered 379
Skipped 482 Skipped 112 Skipped 265 Skipped 155

Q31. What is your age?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
18 to 24 3.65% 67 7.34% 39 3.06% 37 3.17% 12
25 to 34 8.61% 158 11.30% 60 9.11% 110 6.60% 25
35 to 44 11.39% 209 11.49% 61 13.33% 161 7.92% 30
45 to 54 13.02% 239 13.75% 73 14.32% 173 9.50% 36
55 to 64 19.18% 352 19.02% 101 19.54% 236 18.21% 69
65 to 74 27.63% 507 23.92% 127 27.15% 328 28.23% 107
75 or older 16.51% 303 13.18% 70 13.49% 163 26.39% 100
Answered 1835 Answered 531 Answered 1208 Answered 379
Skipped 486 Skipped 115 Skipped 269 Skipped 155

Q32. How would you describe yourself?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
White 83.52% 1536 76.92% 410 83.17% 1008 87.57% 331
Black Or African-American 0.54% 10 0.94% 5 0.74% 9 0.00% 0
American Indian 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Asian 0.33% 6 0.19% 1 0.25% 3 0.53% 2
Hispanic/Latinx 0.76% 14 1.13% 6 0.74% 9 0.79% 3
Native Hawaiian Or Pacific Islander 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
From Multiple Races 2.56% 47 5.07% 27 2.72% 33 0.79% 3
I prefer not to answer 5.44% 100 4.88% 26 5.28% 64 5.56% 21
Other (please specify) 6.85% 126 10.88% 58 7.10% 86 4.76% 18
Answered 1839 Answered 533 Answered 1212 Answered 378
Skipped 482 Skipped 113 Skipped 265 Skipped 156

Q33. What is your marital status?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Single 16.50% 303 30.39% 162 14.96% 181 11.64% 44
Married 65.52% 1203 48.41% 258 69.92% 846 66.67% 252
Divorced/Separated 8.44% 155 11.26% 60 7.93% 96 8.73% 33
Widowed 7.35% 135 7.13% 38 5.45% 66 10.32% 39
Civil Union/Partner 2.18% 40 2.81% 15 1.74% 21 2.65% 10
Answered 1836 Answered 533 Answered 1210 Answered 378
Skipped 485 Skipped 113 Skipped 267 Skipped 156

Q34. What is your approximate average household income?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
$0-$49,999 14.11% 259 26.27% 140 12.89% 156 8.20% 31
$50,000-$99,999 18.41% 338 20.64% 110 18.18% 220 18.25% 69
$100,000-$149,999 13.45% 247 14.45% 77 13.64% 165 13.49% 51
$150,000-$199,999 7.52% 138 5.63% 30 8.35% 101 6.61% 25
$200,000 and up 15.36% 282 6.38% 34 16.86% 204 17.20% 65
I prefer not to answer 31.15% 572 26.64% 142 30.08% 364 36.24% 137
Answered 1836 Answered 533 Answered 1210 Answered 378
Skipped 485 Skipped 113 Skipped 267 Skipped 156

Q35. In which country do you live?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
United States of America 91.55% 1702 89.80% 484 92.89% 1137 89.58% 344
Canada 4.52% 84 6.49% 35 4.17% 51 4.69% 18
Israel 1.67% 31 1.67% 9 1.31% 16 2.08% 8
UK 0.81% 15 0.93% 5 0.74% 9 0.52% 2
Other (please specify) 1.45% 27 1.11% 6 0.90% 11 3.13% 12
Answered 1859 Answered 539 Answered 1224 Answered 384
Skipped 462 Skipped 107 Skipped 253 Skipped 150

Q36. In what state or U.S. territory do you currently live?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Alabama 0.12% 2 0.21% 1 0.00% 0 0.29% 1
Alaska 0.12% 2 0.00% 0 0.09% 1 0.29% 1
American Samoa 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Arizona 1.71% 29 2.27% 11 1.95% 22 0.29% 1
Arkansas 0.30% 5 0.62% 3 0.18% 2 0.29% 1
California 17.19% 291 21.07% 102 17.27% 195 15.45% 53
Colorado 0.71% 12 0.21% 1 0.71% 8 1.17% 4
Connecticut 1.18% 20 1.24% 6 1.33% 15 1.17% 4
Delaware 0.35% 6 0.21% 1 0.35% 4 0.58% 2
District of Columbia (DC) 1.42% 24 1.65% 8 1.15% 13 1.75% 6
Florida 6.14% 104 4.55% 22 5.76% 65 8.45% 29
Georgia 1.06% 18 1.65% 8 0.35% 4 2.04% 7
Guam 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Hawaii 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Idaho 0.06% 1 0.00% 0 0.09% 1 0.00% 0
Illinois 3.19% 54 2.89% 14 2.83% 32 4.08% 14
Indiana 0.30% 5 0.21% 1 0.44% 5 0.00% 0
Iowa 0.30% 5 0.21% 1 0.27% 3 0.29% 1
Kansas 0.30% 5 0.83% 4 0.18% 2 0.29% 1
Kentucky 0.12% 2 0.21% 1 0.09% 1 0.00% 0
Louisiana 0.12% 2 0.21% 1 0.09% 1 0.00% 0
Maine 0.12% 2 0.41% 2 0.09% 1 0.00% 0
Maryland 6.91% 117 6.40% 31 7.97% 90 4.96% 17
Massachusetts 4.37% 74 5.99% 29 4.43% 50 4.08% 14
Michigan 1.36% 23 0.83% 4 1.24% 14 2.04% 7
Minnesota 1.18% 20 1.45% 7 1.06% 12 1.46% 5
Mississippi 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Missouri 0.83% 14 1.86% 9 0.71% 8 0.29% 1
Montana 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Nebraska 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Nevada 0.35% 6 0.62% 3 0.18% 2 0.58% 2
New Hampshire 0.12% 2 0.21% 1 0.09% 1 0.29% 1
New Jersey 5.08% 86 4.55% 22 5.05% 57 4.96% 17
New Mexico 0.18% 3 0.21% 1 0.18% 2 0.00% 0
New York 13.76% 233 12.40% 60 12.93% 146 17.49% 60
North Carolina 1.48% 25 0.62% 3 1.77% 20 1.17% 4
North Dakota 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Northern Marianas Islands 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Ohio 1.30% 22 0.62% 3 1.42% 16 1.75% 6
Oklahoma 0.06% 1 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.29% 1
Oregon 0.59% 10 0.21% 1 0.71% 8 0.58% 2
Pennsylvania 5.67% 96 7.44% 36 5.67% 64 3.79% 13
Puerto Rico 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Rhode Island 0.65% 11 1.03% 5 0.71% 8 0.29% 1
South Carolina 0.47% 8 0.41% 2 0.53% 6 0.29% 1
South Dakota 0.18% 3 0.00% 0 0.09% 1 0.58% 2
Tennessee 0.89% 15 0.41% 2 1.06% 12 0.87% 3
Texas 15.24% 258 11.57% 56 16.65% 188 13.12% 45
Utah 0.12% 2 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.58% 2
Vermont 0.30% 5 0.83% 4 0.35% 4 0.00% 0
Virginia 2.36% 40 1.86% 9 2.39% 27 1.75% 6
Virgin Islands 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Washington 1.18% 20 1.03% 5 1.15% 13 1.46% 5
West Virginia 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Wisconsin 0.59% 10 0.83% 4 0.44% 5 0.87% 3
Wyoming 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Answered 1693 Answered 484 Answered 1129 Answered 343
Skipped 628 Skipped 162 Skipped 348 Skipped 191

Q37. In politics today, what do you consider yourself?

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Democrat 61.53% 1035 66.60% 319 61.89% 695 57.94% 197
Republican 7.49% 126 3.76% 18 7.30% 82 9.12% 31
Independent 13.85% 233 13.15% 63 13.98% 157 13.82% 47
Prefer Not To Answer 14.09% 237 11.90% 57 14.07% 158 15.88% 54
Other (please specify) 3.03% 51 4.59% 22 2.76% 31 3.24% 11
Answered 1682 Answered 479 Answered 1123 Answered 340
Skipped 639 Skipped 167 Skipped 354 Skipped 194

Q38. OPTIONAL: Would you like to be entered to win $250 for participating in this survey and to learn more about RespectAbility? If so, please provide your contact information. (Your survey answers will remain anonymous.)

Answer Choices Total Jewish PwD Comm NPwD
Name: 99.16% 949 99.42% 342 99.54% 649 97.99% 146
Company: 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Address: 96.34% 922 96.22% 331 97.09% 633 95.97% 143
Address 2: 23.41% 224 29.65% 102 21.93% 143 24.16% 36
City/Town: 97.18% 930 97.38% 335 97.70% 637 97.32% 145
State/Province: 90.49% 866 88.66% 305 90.64% 591 92.62% 138
ZIP/Postal Code: 96.13% 920 95.93% 330 96.32% 628 97.32% 145
Country: 94.25% 902 94.48% 325 94.48% 616 95.30% 142
Email Address: 98.12% 939 98.55% 339 98.16% 640 98.66% 147
Phone Number: 85.16% 815 88.08% 303 87.12% 568 77.85% 116
Answered 957 Answered 344 Answered 652 Answered 149
Skipped 1364 Skipped 302 Skipped 825 Skipped 385

Open-Ended Responses from Jewish PwDs

Q6. Where in the community do you find the most access and inclusive environment for people with disabilities? (Answers for Other)

Temple Sinai
Depends on community, important to realize people with disabilities can have gifts as well as challenges including high intelligence of people with Asperger’s etc.
I find Jewish organizations still generally resistant to accessibility (blaming cost!)
NONE. No one wants to help with mental health issues.
Informally organized social groups like havurot
Orgs that have a specific mission and mandate to serve this population- it becomes part of their culture and not something that has to be convinced or pushed to do.
Friendship Circle of Virginia
Organizations with the mission to help people with disabilities, such as Friendship Circle
Friendship circle
equally – camps, synagogues, social
Chabad organization more than the orthodox community
Chabad and Friendship Circle
Friendship Circle
Schools and youth organizations,summer camps
The Friendship Circle
friendship circle chabad
Friendship Circle
Friendship Circle
Friendship circle
Friendship circle
Friendship circle. Chai lifeline
Chabad House
Chabad activities such as friendship circle, schools, providing services to special communities, etc
Most shuls and schools do a good job. But there is no Jewish day school for children with special needs.
Friendship circle
Friendship circle
Friendship Circle run by Chabad has made a big impact on how the Jewish community engages individuals with disabilities
Friendship Circle
Friendship Circle
My son’s school, a school for students with special needs.
Youth Groups such as BBYO
Both Jewish schools and camps that I work in are very inclusive
In Toronto the services are extremely limited, in New York the options are endless
Vista Del Mar—B’nai mitzvah program
JCC, JCC gym and pool
Friendship Circle
Since having major complex brain surgery I have been left with acute sound sensitivity which is especially bad in crowded places like synagogues etc.  Depending on where you are and who you are with will be the experience you will get
Friendship Circle
jewish non-profit working specifically for furthering opportunities for people with disabilities
CJE/JADE of Baltimore
It’s a mix between Some souls, and “Human service organizations “
Online services and events
I find the Jewish community in serious denial about the existence of most “unpleasant” social issues.
Jewish Family Service Houston
Jewish Family Service of Houston
High Holiday Services online (closed captions)
Jewish Family Service
Jfs programs
Jewish family service
Multiple sources
Have rarely looked for anything.
Jewish Family Service
Chabad Friendship Circle
Jewish Family Services
All the above
Jewish Family Service
Jewish Family Service
All the above are generally considerate
It’s all pretty bad
It really varies depending on the group. We left one synagogue because they would not include my daughter. We changed congregations and the new one was into inclusion
Organization that helps Holaucast survivers
From personal professional experience as a Jewish educator, as well as recent research conducted throughout the Reform movement about inclusion in Jewish education settings, inclusion and engagement of neurodivergent participants is emerging as a priority. Camps have evved their programming significantly. Jewish K-6 supplemental religious school programs are intentional in their efforts to address factors that influence successful support of learners with disabilities.
Jewish religious school inclusion
Local Community center
I moved to the community a year ago and I don’t have a clear sense of our full services to people with disabilities.
I had an amazing experience with one day Camp, terrible with another
Hillel at college for my son.
Disability specific organizations
Social media
jewish disability organizations
Most have good access or I don’t know enough to comment
I think I would say Jewish Human Service Organizations as many are secular and fill the gap for those with and without supports. I work for a non profit and we create community for folks with disabilities. This is often their second family or main support. This is very important as many people with disabilities are unaffiliated.
Jewish Community Center
Jewish Community Centres (JCCs)
Reformed Judaism and Chabad
MetroWest ABLE, Friendship Circle
My community only has two synagogues so cannot compare to other organizations.
Nowhere for teens
Anything on Zoom bc of the pandemic
With regards to mental health, nowhere.
All of the above
from our experience (chabad, conservative synagogue, orthodox synagogue, jewish day school, civic engagement groups, bat mitzvah club, jewish summer camps..little to no inclusion, unfortunately none of these stand out for having more inclusion than others.
fundraising organizations
All equally bad
 Jewish social services jfcs
Jewish Family Services
Pre-schools, supplemental schools (“Hebrew school”), some summer camps
I am guessing Social Jusice groups, but know that even here, they might fall short
On Zoom; reaching out via phone.
I am deaf – there are no services that I can hear with severely impaired hearing – I do not sign – this is recent.
depends on the organization
I don’t know but my grandson is probably autistic and my son is getting a lot of support from the Jewish Day School where he teaches
my local Jewish Community Center
Any of the above now with Zoom and virtual outreach!
Jehovah’s Witnesses
JCC SpecialEd Department
Open Mikvehs
community organizations
The Our Space Program at Valley Beth SHalom
No inclusivity at all. I have encountered absolute marginalization at synagogues and in Jewish youth groups. I have a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome.  I just received my second Master’s Degree in Library Studies and received my first Master’s Degree in American History in 2018 at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.  I graduated from the University of California, Berkley with a B.A. in History, phi beta kappa.
Chavad. And some orthodox communities who are refusing to segregate based on vaccination status
Community Center
Jewish disability organizations that advocate for it, create it with other Jewish spaces
I don’t find any of these places particularly inclusive.
Democratic organizations
JCC Summer Day Camp
I don’t
There is no programming for persons with disabilities, especially developmental disabilities
Jewish Community Centers
Everywhere. When have we not in inclusive?
all of the above
Chabad’s Friendship Circle
from experience, Hillel and not community based organizations

Q7. Where in the community do you find the most challenges for access and inclusion of people with disabilities? (Answers for Other)

Synagogues, Jewish supplemental education programs, Jewish social engagement programs
See my previous answer
Cultural institutions
ALL. Kicked out of JCC camp b/c not enough 1:1, lots of non Jewish kids were kept.
All of them
Access challenges and successes are across different organizational frameworks, so it’s hard to pick one on either side.
I think many on this list can be challenging
I have mostly lived in small communities that don’t have most of these things so it is hard to say. I find that the issue is pervasive and due in part to lack of consideration on the part of rabbis interpreting halacha and that influencing organizations and communities.
It is difficult to tell whether accommodations are made unless it’s mentioned on the announcement/invitation.
Synagogue preschools
no challenges
Aside from one private school in my area that offers a true inclusion program, all of the schools and synagogues do a a pretty awful job, and frankly is shameful
Ultra Orthodoxy
O have not been out that much and tend to go for small groups
College campuses/Hillels
jewish pre-schools, day schools, and some camps
I find that active, visible, vocal participation is dependent on “Just Click Donate,” further enhanced by setting up auto payments.  When will those who can’t afford to click donate hsve a voice?
physical buildings are not built to accommodate for physical disabilities
several: synagogues, schools, Jewish institutions with buildings
I don’t really know but speculate all over.
Schools & workplace previously
residential services
Restaurants, entertainment venues
Trips to Israel
Melton trips (both domestic & international)
Jewish businesses
Religious school
My impression is that the Jewish Community is very sensitive and inclusive to people with disabilities
Most places, especially synagogue but also JCC etc
I feel there is inclusion and Inclusion with a capital I.  There may be “inclusion” as a pat your self on the back sort of thing but it is not fully inclusion if people do not actually talk to the person with disabilities.  This is very complicated and not the fault of any one institution.  People in DC are so high achieving they just don’t know how to interact with someone that is different from their current achievement level.
Older building wwith no options for disabled people to navigate
I don’t have regular contact with most of these groups.
Day Schools, and primarily Orthodox day schools
I find that all Jewish spaces are generally accommodating, even to non-Jews
schools with high percentages of persons with disabilities believe it or not!
don’t know enough to comment
I think there are challenges for people with disabilities in all of the above. We are improving but still have a ways to go.
All of the above
Conservative Judaism
Depends on level of observance-haredi groups often are in denial about cognitive disabilities
our community only has synagogues.
I happen to be DEAF.   The deaf are last served, and least served.  We are effectively invisible to the community at large and little to no “accommodation” is available across the board of all top seven of your list.
Accepting for some kids learning Hebrew isn’t what is important
My community has no other Jewish organizations besides the synagogue.
All of the above.
Synagogue religious schools
don’t know
all of the above except human services (no experience with it)
There are no activities except the synagogues
Older buildings and parking lots in general
Jewish schools
depends on the organization
woke mobs
older buildings with lots of stairs and no handicap restrooms
group outings
In every context above I have encountered discrimination.  That continues.
Several above apply. Mostly synagogues and schools
I don’t think it varies from place to place – all segments deal with same issues in some way or another
I have diffuse systemic scleroderma and can’t get out most of the time.
public transportation
Also synagogues and social organizations
All of them
Being referred to non-Jewish organizations that aren’t accessible
Hillel (Canada) – kids at colleges such as Seneca/Humber seem to be left out
Getting jobs
Access to Kosher food for observant people

Q19. OPTIONAL: If you or someone with a disability has been excluded, please share when and what happened and any ideas you have in order to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Shadchans are often prejudiced and unhesitatingly refuse a person with a disability. Addressing the issue in publications widely read by Orthodox Jews could help a bit.
In California, one child with ADHD excluded at a Jewish pre-school (2017); In Connecticut, one child on autism spectrum denied inclusion at a Jewish religious school (2002). Children moved to more inclusive organizations. More education/awareness?
Not feeling like that have a place to sit or have active participation in the service.

To combat this, our synagogue actively finds opportunities for people to learn and have active involvement.  We invite people with disabilities into our community to daven or lein or have a role to play so that they do not have to wonder whether or not they have a role.  They see they are necessary to the whole.

Regime change
My son was welcome at synagogue preschool but only if we hired / provided a 1:1 support person for him (doubling the cost of his attending) and only if his inclusion did not negatively effect the experience of other kids and teachers.
My daughter has autism. She had an inclusive Bat Mitzvah ceremony. Yet when the USY group went on trips, my husband or I were required to go as a chaperone, rather than other kids being encouraged to be with her. While we are Conservative Jews, we find far more accommodations within the Orthodox community. She has been a member of Yachad for over 15 years and even went to Israel with them.
At a previous synagogue, my son was not welcomed into, invited to participate in the youth group, young professionals group, only grudgingly allowed to join a meditation group.
My kids could not always attend jewish schools.
We must guard against a tendency by some well meaning people to think that they know what folks with shortcomings need or want.  Efforts must be focused on actual desires and needs.
Many organizations don’t make arrangements to have inclusion options BEFORE they are asked. Then it’s usually too late
Both my husband and I have been excluded, because my autism and his anxiety disorder made other congregants/club members feel uncomfortable. Some said we are “too complicated” needing “always” special accommodation.
Often lack of inclusion goes hand in hand with lack of resources and forethought. This is the situation at my synagogue. Though I am a board member and have offered to train staff for free, the resource of time has been at a premium with staff stretched to the limits
Jewish organizations refuse to make their websites accessible (WCAG conformant), refuse to caption and audio describe videos, refuse to provide real-time captioning for webinars (they *might* begrudgingly offer free auto cRaptioning), refuse to create accessibility and reasonable accommodation lines in their budgets, etc.  They’re all about social justice for other minorities (which is critical, no doubt), BUT refuse to be authentic in including people with disabilities, except patronizingly or condescendingly.
Online programs that do not include closed captioning or similar, holiday celebrations and event that did not factor in the needs and access of those with disabilities – those accommodations need to be considered essential NOT optional / nice to have.
Jewish day schools and camps are not trained to handle MENTAL health issues. parents are judged and not included in communal activities b/c child has behavior issues. DISGUSTING. I was particularly disgusted with JCC of greater washington.
Handicapped spaces in parking used for other purposes, handicapped entrance locked, etc etc.  Not on radar.
Pop up shabbats are rarely wheelchair accessible and rarely have ASL interpreters
For events with food, many of my allergens are vegan proteins (all nuts & legumes) and yet so many Jewish events serve vegan food as a “kosherest common denominator” because it’s parve, but then I’m keeping my hand on my EpiPen just in case. Stop assuming vegan/parve meals are accessible to everyone! Also, as a crutch-user, I find there is almost never adequate info about the parking, walking, stairs, etc. situation when I’m going to a new synagogue, organization building, Jewish school, etc. I never know exactly how far I’ll have to walk, which affects whether I need one crutch or two for the event/day/etc.
I have to exclude myself sometimes due to my disability, but in many cases, found how to work with it and around it.
My daughter with disabilities is now an adult. When she was much younger, she felt completely unwelcome/isolated at NCSY events because kids didn’t understand her nor feel comfortable with her “weird” behaviors.This was pre-Yachad and Friendship Circle, when kids with ID/DD and autism weren’t very visible.
I don’t have any ideas as to ensure it doesn’t happen again unless they get people experienced in teaching those with special needs and mental illnesses or offer a class for kids with special needs and/or mental illnesses.
Our son needs very specific specialized care.  It is hard to have him participate in a program for other children his age.
Not a direct answer to your question, but the ways in which organizations attempt to include people with disabilities makes certain assumptions about disabilities which are not true for everyone. People with mild disabilities, mobility problems and some sensory (sight, hearing) May be accommodated, while those with cognitive or behavioral disabilities will not even be considered unless they are very high functioning
My adult son has high functioning Aspergers and you wouldn’t necessarily know that. On Simchas Torah he asked for a bag of candy and was refused because “they were only for children”. We had to leave because he was having a meltdown over it
A child was excluded from religious education (day schools, camps, and Hebrew school) due to prejudice and refusal to listen to parents in one case, and inability of teen leaders/counselors to handle invisible disabilities.
Feeling they couldn’t meet their needs. They were excluded from school and community events. Education and knowing how important it is to be included and the consequences of being excluded.

Supportive resources.

They claimed terrain was too dangerous and could not provide someone to assist in managing terrain
Mobility impaired cannot access bima or Aron Kodesh   Need to rethink how we construct shuls
Accessible entrances
Jewish day schools need to figure out how to include neuro-diverse students
Yaveneh Hebrew Academy said we have no place for your child or any child with a disability. They left a message on our. Answering machine. Other schools were more accommodating. We had great experience with Mimonedies YULA Bnai Akiva and Bnai David. Each institution gained. We met the challenges and worked with each group and made adjustments along the way
Turned away from NCSY trip and AIPAC trip
day school was not prepared to deal with someone on the autism spectrum, even though he was high functioning and very intelligent
My daughter was kicked out of day school for her behavior.
I used to work at a JCC in another community, and we didn’t have an ASL interpreter available. One of our deaf participants wasn’t able to attend because of it.
Not as much excluded as not always accessible.
Our synagogue once had a fundraiser where prominent speakers. journalists, etc spoke at dinners at various congregant homes.  Ten members of our synagogue attended each dinner/talk.  7 of the 10 homes where thee sessions took place were not accessible to people using wheelchairs.
youth group event that was not planned with physical accessibility in mind.
Father wasnt turned away, just stopped going to synagogue after a lifetime of regular attendance because the walk is too long…and no one called to see if he is OK. Eventually if we get him a wheelchair we can find an accessible synagogue.
The deaf and hard of hearing community are often ignored or overlooked. We are not included and are often unable to participate due to a lack of communication, access, subtitles/captions and resources. Often, it seems many in the community simply do not care enough or see a need to include us.
The individual was not invited to celebrations (bar/bat mitzvah) because of their autism.
People with invisible disabilities need to be encouraged to self identify to aid the community in learning how to better include them as their situation advances, but will it feel safe enough to do that?
Nearly 30 years ago. Head of religious school wanted to know why I wanted my daughter included. That leader left and others were more accomodating.

!4 years later she had a typical bat mitzvah including reading Hebrew.

My son on the autism spectrum was asked to leave the junior choir at our synagogue because the cantor and his wife thought he was disruptive. Thankfully our senior rabbi intervened and reversed the cantor’s decision.
I feel that there is a lack of training among the teachers on how to interact with children with disabilities. I also feel that that educating classmates and teaching tolerance and kindness would help those students not to exclude those with disabilities.
I have myasthenia gravis & there is no awareness of my limitations
This was 20+ years ago but my older son is on the Spectrum and we had a difficult time at Shearith Israel. Many times he was asked to not participate in youth group and asked to not attend Sunday school
Religious Schools with mostly volunteers are not trained nor equipt to deal with persons with disabilities.
social activities at a private home that spouse who uses scooter and can’t walk can not access.
Captions and interpreters were not provided. In one case, a wheelchair user was called up for an honor, but unable to access the platform because there wasn’t a ramp.
chronic pain is often dismissed or underestimated in terms of the emotional and physical toll it can take and because it’s not visible; it’s not considered important
My son with developmental disabilities was not able to attend the Jewish day school that his siblings attended. Accessibility  would have been too expensive & the school lacked the resources to be inclusive.
Summer Camp was horrific for son
taking some things off zoom has prevented me from attending because of a low immune system
There should be transportation available for people wanting to attend services on Shabbat
Include me!
Daughter not included in mainstream Hebrew school due to lack of understanding about high functioning autism on behalf of staff at the time.
My son was asked to leave Hebrew school at a previous synagogue in the 1990s due to severe ADHD.  He never received further Jewish education after that.
It’s more of a careless disregard sort of exclusion — I have asked for support for people who have trouble walking to be helped and encouraged to attend a synagogue I used to attend.  And I was met by careless disregard, repeatedly.  And I needed a bit of help (translator, etc) to help them myself.   It’s not just a matter of making accommodation — it’s a matter of thinking things like, who could use a ride?  Can we be more helpful in welcoming people and giving them transport?  How can we support people in the travel to our place?  Who might need not only physical assistance, but a morale boost by being actively pursued to attend and be welcomed?
My disabled daughter with IDD has a twin brother. He was accepted to (several) Jewish pre school, she was rejected by all, not accommodated. Same with Jewish day camps throughout her childhood.  More recently, despite knowing her all her life, and rejecting her for preschool on the basis of her disability, local Jewish community center required me to submit medical proof that she could not wear a mask during coved. She has IQ of a 2 year old and not able to wear a mask (but was vaccinated early on ) I was very disappointed that consideration was not given to her.
For BBYO, Sunday and Hebrew school, bar mitzvah prep, chevurah
Lack of “cry rooms” or sensory friendly services.
Religious school didn’t have the resources, knowledge or will to serve my daughter despite good intentions. By the way I’ve done a lot of writing on this topic including this piece:
Many years ago, my daughter was not accommodated at a Jewish summer camp.  We found another institution.
it is very challenging to have involved chronically mentally challenged people (severe psychological issues, people who can be explosive, or physically aggressive) I am not sure the works is set up for that BUT that doesn’t mean we don’t work hard to try to get there
many years ago 30 . We made great progress but there is still work to do
I don’t think I have seen anyone directly excluded, but as a parent I have opted out when an event didn’t seem the right fit.
I am currently not aware of any specific incident personally.
I need a chair with a good back, not a folding chair. It’s pretty easy! When I am given one, sometimes the implication is that I’m being catered to and it’s a huge gift. When I’m not, the implication is that I’m narcissistic and I ask for too much and expect special attention. I haven’t been excluded directly but sometimes I don’t go to events or leave early because my back hurts or there is no place for me to sit.
When making bathroom renovations a local synagogue did not make the bathroom accessible  citing prohibitive costs
When there was a day of donating blood, the bus they had didn’t have any way I could donate because it was inaccessible.
We problem solved with team work but having a wheelchair ramp would’ve helped in the past with folks in wheelchair coming to our Chabad house. Cost is an issue.
We went to a Succos party, from an organization that serves people with disabilities, and couldn’t get our son inside the Succah because his wheelchair wouldn’t fit through the entrance.
My children were turned away because of their age not being the norm for the activity even though it suit them developmentally.
please call me: 7134172755 (jess faerman)
A temple my mother attended would not allow her to go to HIgh Holidays because of her financial hardship. Addtionally , the temple was not accessible to get to the social hall from he synagage .
I believe inclusion and acceptance starts at an early age.  Still today, our jewish pre-schools do not have the resources or personnel to properly provide support to our youngest community members to help them succeed and be accepted in pre-school.  If inclusion does not start here, we lose our young families.  I believe sharing an early childhood special education specialist between preschools who could properly intervene and provide support would greatly improve acceptance and not alienate our young families from their faith.
Job description was discriminatory.

Noise in social hall made it unbearable for someone with a hearing aide.

Masks makes it hard to lipread even if we’re outside.
I have physical and auditory disabilities. My shul had interior stone walls that echoed terribly and therefore I could not understand what people were saying (increasing volume with headphones would not have helped me; my auditory disability involves processing rather than hearing itself.) I asked to be provided a written copy of the drash before services so I could read along and feel included in the community, but I was told that it was not possible and headphones should be enough. The most frustrating part of this was that I had come up with a solution to my accessibility issue, but leaders in my community were unwilling to include me by providing an accessibility tools other than headphones to increase volume – which I repeatedly told them would not help. I felt so isolated each week when I couldn’t understand what people on the bima were saying that I eventually stopped attending. I later found a wonderfully inclusive and radically welcoming shul. I was quite involved in that community because people there proactively helped me access it. Now, years later in a different town, I find myself in a similar situation with accessibility difficulties, but I haven’t yet asked for accommodations because I don’t want to deal with the emotional repercussions of potentially being shut out of my community in a town with fewer shuls (also, my disabilities have increased – I have a neurodegenerative disease – so it would be harder for me to travel to a shul that is farther away.) I think the way to ensure this kind of thing doesn’t happen is to: (a) trust disabled people when they say they need particular accommodations, (b) partner with disabled people to provide accommodations (for instance, a disabled-led accessibility committee would be ideal), and (c) commit to devoting necesary resources so that all Jews can participate in Jewish ritual and community life.
I had to self advocate for myself to get adequate seating because if I hadn’t the event would have gone on with everyone standing and me sitting on the ground and no one would have batted an eye about this.
I don’t know.
A day school that wouldn’t look into whether they could/should accommodate my child
The exclusion I’ve experienced is very subtle. Activities/events are inclusive, but schmoozing often isn’t.
The issue is often lack of recognition or accommodation
When my daughter ( now 35) attended Hebrew School- inclusion meant singling her out to have her desk next to the teachers, use the side ( I paid for) for other classroom duties and failing to notify parents of classmates who were known to bully her! We left our synagogue because of these behaviors. The rabbi promised change but it never happened. Am I bitter- yes I am!!!!
Many years ago, my son, who had behavioral issues, was removed from a religious school class. They didn’t know how to handle him at the time.
About 2006 – requested oral interpreter for event at local synagogue in JFGW’s area and was turned down by rabbi and staff. Refused to provide because “no funds”. BUILD ACCESSIBILITY FUNDING INTO BUDGET. Include planning for accessibility when planning for events. Have point person who handles accommodations requests.
Failure to provide Closed Captions for virtual services.  (Facebook Live Closed Captions are based on voice recognition software and are therefore seldom accurate.
Socially, my adult disabled child is isolated
Chartered bus w/o lift & handicap seating.
Both day schools and summer camps lack the ability to deal with Neuro diversity and mental health issues.  Most summer camps do not have the ability to deal with physical disabilities
My child was asked to leave a YMCA day camp.  I understand this is not a Jewish organization.
My son was unable to travel to Israel due to his physical disability (paralyzed from waist down, uses a manual wheelchair)
BBYO years ago when my daughter was in BBG (20 years ago)
The poor sound quality in our sanctuary was a barrier for people with hearing loss.
Not applicable
please include LGBT, not that they have a disability, but they are often left out or made to feel different.
Diabetes management at summer camp but URJ sci tech camp east was fully embracing and provided an amazing inclusive experience
I can’t get on the bima because of steps.
Many times the activities planned do not afford my family member the ability to participate
I was unable to attend high holidays that were physically inaccessible; countless solutions exist here
I direct a theater project that includes an actress in a wheelchair and it is difficult to find affordable rehearsal venues. Venues that are accessible should thereore allow us to use their space for free.
Less turned away and more it was made inaccessible and not fixed. My fiancée has ~40% of her hearing and will lose the rest over the next 20-30 years. There have been multiple events where I was unable to attend for various reasons, and they didn’t have an interpreter or captioning because they assumed I’d be there to interpret the entire thing in ASL. I have epilepsy and autism, sometimes those big gatherings are too much for me, and I also shouldn’t have to interpret the entire event, they should have an interpreter or captions available
The bathrooms in the shule are not accessible.

2. There is a lift to get up to the shule but it is very slow and only holds one chair. It is very dangerous in the event of a fire or G-d forbid, an emergency situation such as a shooting

It’s all about attitude. My first group had no interest in my child and we had to leave. We searched until we found a place that was accepting. She was able to be bat mitzvahed
Wanted my family member to pay for dues but family member only has limited income and could not afford
Sometimes it’s hard to participate in Jewish organizations when struggling with mental health – I was sent home from a Birthright trip because I had a single PTSD flashback and it was decided that I couldn’t handle being on the trip
I think each Jewish orgoneeds to include serving the entire community, including people with all types of disabilities.
My dedication to supporting neurodivergent participants in Jewish faith communities is paramount. My specialization in neurodiversity and Jewish special education drove my master’s degree research from Hebrew College.  Based on data I collected, from educators in the Reform movement, I am aware of the need to develop networks of synagogues and Jewish faith programs that will enable me to guide communities to cultivate inclusive practice and understand resources available for support/expertise. I would be interested to connect with someone from your organization to discuss collaborative options for evolving inclusive practice and advocacy in Jewish faith communities.
Not all in my community are able to participate in virtual programs/religious services and have been left behind during Covid
hosting a program at a house where the wheelchair couldn’t access meant my mother could not attend
No ramp at one of the synagogues nearby, so close friend who is in a wheel chair can’t come.  No Shabbos elevator.
This happened when I was a Christian and the pastors wife always told me to shut up and that I wasn’t allowed to participate in the Bible study
Need for transportation, physical obstacles,

Better trained teachers and aides for children

K-12 grades

People just don’t make accommodations for people who have not developed the social skills normally necessary for involvement in social situations.
Not applicable
There are times when organizations are not ADA accessible and there are only stairs to enter a building. The organization does not have the means to build a ramp/elevator.
Learning disabilities is not taken into account for teen programs/ those events outside the scope of hebrew school
Synagogue building not wheelchair accessible
My son has an autistic spectrum disorder and was unfairly accused of sexual harassment in a university elevator resulting in his exclusion from the university (Hebrew U)
Activities such as Tashlich at the beach require mobility. The elderly and others who can’t walk on sand, and wheelchair users, are routinely excluded.
Auditory support has been lacking but we are making strides to overcome that difficulty. Systems are in the process of being installed.
I was told there wasn’t enough staff coming to include my son.  “If they had known” they would have hired additional staff.  But they did know and tried to discourage us from coming and then expected us to take the hint.
When my son was younger our temple had some accommodations for mildly disabled children. My son has severe autism. He was not included.
My children has been reprimanded and so have I, due to disability. People not realizing my child is disabled, but even without knowing, people should give kids and parents the benefit of doubt. This has happened many times, in Jewish settings, and it’s horrible (Eg with a child making noise, running, not understanding social cues). Also I think it’s much much worse for girls because they don’t fit the mold of people’s expectations of ND disability
A movement needs to occur from ground level up to encourage people in the community to invite people with disabilities to share shabbat in informal settings that could include homes and parks.
I have a friend with a mental health disability who, unfortunately, can be VERY difficult to accomodate because of his disability. I honestly don’t have an answer.
I was initially not recommended for a summer leadership training program run by a youth group when I was 15. This was because of personality traits that I now know were undiagnosed autism. The advisor had misjudged my ability and potential for success. I was accepted to the program and thrived there, learning practical leadership lessons that I still use today.
I am the mother of an  adult son with cystic fibrosis.   The day schools he attended were very accommodating.  As much as we would have loved for him to experience Israel–Birthright, Gap Year, class trip–we did not feel comfortable sending him.   We were fortunate enough to spend two summers in Israel as a family.  Our  greatest disappointment, however, was summer camp.  I am a registered nurse  and  made a proposal to the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) that I  had hoped would allow my son  to  enjoy the kind of Jewish summer camp experience I had as a child.  I was  happy to volunteer  as a camp nurse while my son was a camper.  In that way, I could oversee his treatment.  His treatments are  fairly routine. He  has always been  able to participate in sports and was always active in   programs at our shul.   At the time I was married to a non Jewish man. (I am still actually married to him–he has since converted to Judaism)  The USCJ policy at the time was  that  an intermarried Jew could not  work or volunteer in any kind of capacity  for the United Synagogue.  I actually understand  the existential threat that intermarriage poses.  My son was deprived of   a Jewish summer camp experience. It was, and remains heartbreaking.  I am not sure  how this whole experience should have been handled, but  the Camp Ramah leadership  behaved in a way that was  disgraceful.  To punish a Jewish child whose future is uncertain, who lives with a disease  that is  almost certainly fatal–is a shanda.  And   in complete opposition to a Jewish worldview that should stress gemilut chasadim.
I have a close friend whose son has a disability. They had to pull him from JCC daycare because they were not able to accommodate his feeding and other occupational needs.
Can’t think of any instance
In my particular community exclusions are oversights involving individuals with subtle disabilities such as emotional distress and/or depression, which easily go unnoticed.  Disabilities of this sort need to be  discussed broadly to facilitate sensitivity and acknowledge those silently suffering from these illnesses.
When I was a teenager my parents went through a tough financial time after my mom’s back was fused for the third time (this was before the ACA changed out of pocket costs). My parents could no longer afford many of the things they could before. They lost their house, our college funds, and their savings. Synagogue membership was out of the question.  I was the President of the youth group at the time. Initially, I was told I had to step down because my parents were no longer members. I explained what was going on, but they didn’t budge. Only after I complained to the regional headquarters was I allowed to remain as President. The synagogue did nothing for my parents. Not only that, the Rabbi once said from the Bimah, in reference to them, that it was a surprise that I was so involved given my parent’s lack of interest (which of course was not that case). I’m a Jewish professional now (have been for 12 years) but I have never once set foot in a synagogue again (and neither have my parents).
Exclusion is not the primary issue. Being prepared and sensitive to those who need more assistance is.
I have not been excluded but there are places of worship I can’t access.
Family member with a service dog ( not a guide dog) was told not to bring the dog to services. The rabbi is highly allergic and the president at the time is somewhat afraid of dogs.
Temple Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, CA has a study group every Saturday after morning services. The teacher wouldn’t allow me to take notes. I have Epilepsy.
Not turned away, but they just don’t bother coming because it’s difficult
Hi Matan. It’s redacted from Cincinnati. I worked for the Mayerson Foundation and oversaw Kesher. I am so happy you’re doing this. We were years ahead of our time which is why I don’t think we made as much progress as I would have hoped. Communities need to be ready and willing and while some congregations and orgs here were open, they just couldn’t find their way to making full inclusion a priority. Hopefully times have changed. Please feel free to call me at redacted if you’d like to talk more about this or if you think I can be helpful to you in any way. Wishing you a Shana Tovah and much luck with this endeavor!
N/ A
At Shabbat service my wheelchair ‘could not sit in the aisle’ as it is a fire hazard. I was moved to the back row, 8 empty rows in front of me and no way for my husband to join me and hold prayer book.
My brother is autistic, and has been turned away from events/camps in the past because he is “too difficult.”
Restaurants don’t have accessible, gender neutral bathrooms
I was excluded because I have a valid exemption which should be accepted as a waiver for not getting the COVID-19 shot because I have an enlarged heart, and there are testimonials from those who got swollen hearts after being vaccinated and  should NOT be discriminated on because of that, should I? I can double-mask as extra caution and socially distance appropriate but not have to be barred and left out!!!
It would be helpful to always include whether activities that are offsite our wheelchair accessible
i asked for a quieter meeting as I have MS and the cross talk makes it unable for me to attend.  I was scoffed at.
Our religious school experience at the first synagogue was not inclusive of kids with learning disabilities. I went to the teacher, director and rabbi.  I got disdain from the teacher,  “If they just like being Jewish that is enough” from the director and “Don’t worry, lots of kids learn to read late” from the Rabbi. What we did not get was a Jewish learning experience that included my kiddo and valued neurodiverse children. My kiddo started to hate to go to religious school and by extension not like going to synagogue.  We left the religious school because having such a bad experience was worse than not going at all. Learning disabilities like dyslexia and attentional disabilities like ADHD are pretty common. Most religious school educator and day school educators do not have any specific education on how to work well with these populations.Greater openness, greater awareness and education, less stigma and not seeing our kids as expendible would all go a long way. There are many ways to meaningfully contribute to the Jewish community and we need to cultivate these from an early age. We need to lose a one-size-fits-all model and look for an individual’s strengths and ways that they can meaningfully participate and contribute.
Like there are times when the Sukkah is not wheelchair accessible
Money and human compassion are the necessary quotients.
Due to Covid, workshops were presented on ZOOM. I asked for live captioning but was turned down. They said I could watch the event later when it was posted on youtube. First, that means I am not part of the community watching event together and could not ask questions. Second, youtube’s captions are often highly inaccurate as they can not do transliteration of Hebrew words. Words like shabat were fine. However, words like mehitza were spelt heeza???

If Jews considered disability access a priority, access funds would not be an issue. It is the combination of disability and poverty that turns us into a marginalized group.

I was yelled at – berated by – the rabbi for making a suggestion. That is a low bar to clear. Don’t do that. Listen to people and don’t tell them that they are the problem.

Another congregant told me that I should “reduce my expectations and stay home”. That sums up the attitude. After some consideration, I took her advice. This is painful because I am a convert. I upended my life for this community and we cannot acknowledge my existence or participation.

Community or organization events in places with limited accessibility, including rest room facilities
Inclusion can’t happen when people with disabilities can’t access gathering places. Steps need to be replaced with ram ramps.
The parent/guardian refused to include their person when services were offered.
Our son attended Jewish Day School. We wanted our daughter to attend the same Day School. Our daughter has high functioning autisim and the Day School advised us they couldn’t accomodate her. Hence she went to an outstanding public school, but couldn’t obtain the Day School education we wanted for her in Cincinnati.
I think that for many disability is equated with physical access, so it is thought that installing a ramp or elevator has created inclusion. Very little thought for those with other disabilities such as sensory and cognitive.
My 18 with an intellectual disability can no longer go to youth programs but there are no other programs foe him to be in.
Ramah summer camp some years ago. They  have improved since then.
Organization not understanding driving limitations and access to facility issues
Physical access to outdoor area or up or down stairs.
meeting spaces not accessible at all times
My mother was wheel chair bound for several years, and our shul did not have a ramp for her
I have a family member with a mental health condition, and while the format and expectations of Jewish schooling was not the best fit for them, they were never specifically excluded.
No Comment.
The Community Center is not accessible to people who cannot climb steps.
I think in our case, it’s less about organizations actively choosing to exclude people and more about the orgs being completely clueless and not set up in a way that is inviting. My husband has mental health needs that are just not compatible with traditional synagogue environments. If you asked the board, they would probably say that of course anyone is welcome and to just ask if you need specific accommodations, but the “accommodation” would really have to be a complete re-working of the entire model. I don’t think the burden should be on people with disabilities and their families to bring a gift-wrapped solution to the table that they can just go ahead and implement. The needs of people with disabilities should be considered from Day One by the leadership, regardless of whether or not there are known issues to address. Also, especially  in the case of mental health disorders, accessibility should not be contingent on people having to disclose that they have a disability. Lots of work to do here.
not selected for school cheer team
In our old synagogue building, there were stairs to climb to the Bimah and to the Ark.  Although we looked at multiple options to design ramp access, there were no easy or inexpensive solutions.  However, the schul needed to expand as the membership grew substantially.

So, when we built a new building, we were careful to design it as barrier-free and accessible as possible.   The sanctuary is all on one level, with the Bimah in the center and the Ark on the east wall.  In fact, the entire complex is on the same level, except for the parking garage below, which has elevator access and outdoor ramp access.

My son has Tourette Syndrome.  When we lived in Suffolk County NY and belonged to a conservative synagogue, he was kicked out of Hebrew School because they did not want to deal with his disability.  Also, I have a brother, now deceased, who had mental retardation.  When my parents died I had to take my brother to live with me.  Because he was an adult and not a member of my immediate family who belonged to the synagogue, they wanted me to pay full dues for my brother to join the synagogue.  I could not afford it at the time ,so I could not bring my brother to yizkor on Yom Kippur to say kaddish for our parents.  The way my son and my brother were treated by our conservative synagogue completely turned me off to Judaism.  Since then, we have moved to California and we joined a reformed synagogue.  I have not seen our reformed synagogue here do anything so cruel as to turn away disabled Jews as had been done to my family in NY
You invalidated this survey by including the question that didn’t solely involve disabilities and my impression is that you want to somehow fault Jewish institutions that have been at the forefront of supporting the disabled community.
have asked for help going to service, but no one cares. When I was of use, the calls never stopped asking, Now that I can serve, no one really cares. It’s that simple. I know we are all G-ds people, Will not give up hope. would like to go to services one day.
Our synagogue had a challenging experience a number of years ago. We had someone coming to services and other activities (Do not know if she was a member but that is not relevant.) She had Tourrets Syndrome. It was very difficult to include her because her outbursts were so disruptive. It broke our hearts because we wanted her to feel welcome.She eventually moved away to a large city where I hope she found a community that could be more accommodating. I just learned of another situation from the daughter of the woman in question who has since passed away. Her mother was on oxygen and the sound of the machine, according to her daughter, people at services found disruptive and she eventually stopped going because she felt uncomfortable. (I had wondered why we did not see her any more.)

We currently have a member who is very active who has a neurological disorder that makes her speech very difficult to understand. Those of us who do understand most of what she says find it a challenge but make sure others in the group know what she said by interpreting for her–per her request. She is very active in the congregation, taking on many committee roles. We have found a way to make it work–as challenging as it is.

All of this demonstrates how broad the inclusion of the term of disability is and the myriad challenges each presents. If you were to ask me what could have been done for the first two I have mentioned, I have not a clue, and I do not think anyone else in the congregation does either. Any idea I have come up with (such as having them sit in a side room with streaming video) is hardly satisfactory, nor respectful.

For years I volunteered with my congregation’s seniors group.  When I retired, as an officer, excuses were made as to why I was not included with the traditional lifetime membership.  There was NO congregational support and on that basis, I decided there was no reason for me to further participate in, and support this congregation.

Not that it should be an overriding factor, I would add that my family has donated to the congregation at a level that has placed it in the highest levels of contribution — that’s just the cash.  The symbol of the congregation was hand crafted my my father and installed gratis, as was paving of the entire parking area and I believe included the lighting — gratis.  Unlike all the other forms of contributions to the congregation there is not one tiny mention or plaque acknowledging these very significant contributions over decades of membership.  And “they” wonder why no one is active any more.

A number of years ago in NYC, my husband, who was in an electric cart, could not enter into two Reform Synagogues!  Also, not only could he not enter an Orthodox Synagogue, but the members of that Synagogue would not even look at him because he was walking impaired.
Rabbi does not feel comfortable with people with disabilities.
Some members don’t attend or don’t fully participate because of mobility issues or bathrooms that are only minimally accessible
It isn’t a question of being turned away. It’s about the fact that walking to shul is exhausting, being around other people takes all the strength I can muster. I’m not always up for it. No one is discriminating against me. It’s about the inherent limitations imposed by the disability.
At “Celebration Company” part of Jewish Family Services, my autistic son was rejected because of his disability. It is easier to reject him, rather than accommodate his special needs. It was very disappointing. and he was there for 8 years and now he is not gone out from his group home for the last 3 years.
I have hearing issues, and sometimes need to remind, or make arrangements ahead of time to remind, adminstrators at temple to be sure to have the captioning feature on, for Zoom.
Eckerd Connects is a Child Welfare contractor in Pinellas County Florida.  They removed by baby grandson.  Claimed we had abberations in our personalities.  They mimiced the way we speak and support workers opined over doctors.  We have some Spanish blood in our lineage.  True Separds.
Automatic door openers (and their absence) make an important statement.
Stairs prevent me from attending meetings, lectures, or services.
There are a lot of events in the city but special advanced arrangements must be made for special needs transportation. There needs to be an all inclusive needs transportation. With arrangement transportation…there can be no spontaneity. You can not run into a friend and just have lunch. You can not change your mind and go to the movie like anyone else. Your disability is directing your abilities in a very manipulative way. Transportation is the beginning;g of most disability “ability” lists. Let’s start there.
Social activities
Digital communications (i.e. electronic newsletters, & websites) within the local Jewish community do not consider the necessary methods for making their digital communications accessible for the visually impaired and the devices used to access.
There has been an interest to install a Looping system; however it is exorbitant in cost & also there are Halachic issues regarding use on Shabbat.

The new building we just completed is fully accessible ie no stairs to get to the Aron Kodesh & a Shabbat elevator.

I actually am not a Caregiver now, but before my father recently died, took care of my parents for 20 years. A big issue at Jewish community events is just seating, how to make sure it’s available, access to seating that makes one feel like a part of the event, easy access to building entrances from parking lot, etc. I also faced a lot of feeling excluded at times, and was hurt by people’s ignorance in thinking that Wheelchair= Mental/cognitive disability. The world needs to learn that it’s best to speak to people like you would hope they would speak to you- don’t assume that folx don’t know what’s going on. The people at my synagogue, especially, who didn’t turn their eyes away, but actually engaged my parents- they were blessings to my family.
Older buildings and facilities make it more difficult/costly to accommodate everyone.  Due to COVID, we are meeting outdoors, which adds to the physical barriers and also makes it harder for people with visual or auditory deficits to participate.
Cannot retrofit old buildings.

Steps make it hard to enter, exit, get around.

Sometimes lighting inadequate.

Need large print books for older eyes.

I am 91 years old and no longer drive.
Older adults with disabilities have been marginalized and infantilized.
Inclusion means being with typical peers not only subsets of other people with disabilities, this needs to change
Day schools are unwilling to accommodate students with disabilities, especially learning disabilities. They tend to prefer students who are easy to teach. They need to meet students where they are.
inaccessabilty (stairs in need of a ramp)
We were told by the Rabbi of a specific synagogue near our home that the synagogue could not make changes for our disabilities, although if you ask the community everyone would say that everyone is welcomed at that “progressive” shul.
My son was excluded from bar mitzvah lessons because of a learning disability in 1980.
I cannot hear the Rabbi when he is doing the service.  I have to rely upon another person, a stranger, if they could help by writing down what was said.  I felt isolated and ignored and many times, the person next to me told me to shush up!  I was talking very low and needed a transcriptual version of the service..none are provided.  I was Chbad, but they are great but not committed to expand their services with transcriptions or even offered to – hence, I became reform. I still believe in Hashem, the talmud et al, but my heart and dignity has now prevented me from attending services.  I still contribute to Chabad but some of that money should go to expanding the needs of the deaf.
not excluded but given lesser opportunities to participate in services because of speech impediment–not sure if they are trying to save my husband from the embarrassment of stuttering or they are too impatient to listen to him take part in a service. If someone who stutters is willing to do something, the congregation should not impose their own judgments of what is appropriate but welcome the volunteer.
During construction of a new ramp the sanctuary was not accessible for about a month. The new ramp was in place in time for the Holy Days.
Not excluded but I can’t hear them on the bima. I miss more than 50% of what is said.
When we were looking at schools for our son we were turned away from one of the Jewish day schools in our community. This was many years ago but they still have a reputation of not being willing to work with children who don’t fit their very narrow profile of “typical “.
Previous affiliations: Lack of ability to attend due to exposure to UV light in the setting; told to stand up when I was sitting because the indiv. assumed I was too young to have mobility issues; Service dog attendance brought comments about “early” prohibition of animals in the temple meant they should be excluded from a synagogue, even if present for mobility issues. (These issues really reflect educational lapses in the community, not necessarily any bias.)
I think many people define disability in regards to mobility and don’t consider less visible disabilities–hearing and vision in particular.
I have a genetic disease that makes me adverse to abnormal radiation. I recently contacted the Erie County NY Dept of Health and the EPA regarding a situation related to chain reacting radiation in my home and Synagogue. I also contacted the Laser Institute of America in regard to getting people with a Laser that can arrest the Chain Reacting items and materials. I haven’t heard from them yet.
Jewish community picnic in a park; impossible to get to on crutches, unless it was on the outer sphere of the park; this picnic was too far in the park; I was physically unable to attend, as I could not walk “into the woods”
When they heard that I was unable to attend Yom Kippur services due to parking issues (I had to go home) they FINALLY created 2 Handicap parking spots!
children’s events at temple are crowded and when the event ends there is a mass exodus and anyone with a mobility impairment is at risk for an injury
Non-disabled persons in youth and teen groups do understand mental health issues and therefore do not seek out or include those with mental health issues.
I have a hearing impairment and it’s so much that they are trying to exclude me, but they don’t have the resources to include the kind of captioning that would make me easier for me to understand lectures and movies.
Hearing loss; no captioning on virtual formats. Captioning MUST be included on EVERYTHING online.
Everyone wants to help, but they want to do it there way. THERE WAY = NO HELP! Disability = invisible in the Jewish community of Fairfield County, CT.
Telling people with limited mobility that there aren’t any steps to enter a space, when in reality there are 1-3 steps…that’s really frustrating.
Children in Hebrew school where Learning  Disabilities are not accommodated for
I am 89 with visual limitation and poor mobily. I need an escort to go anywhere. Sometimes there is a volunteer. Usually not.
At my synagogue we have a interm male rabbi who has real issues with gay men. He is repeatly dismissive to me and has told me “you are wrong!!”. As far as dyslexia, he does not have a clue. Sadly, he refuses to see his bigoty and educate himself. This is a Reform Rabbi.
women’s seating is upstairs and no way for a lady with a mobility disability can go up the many stairs
All three of my children have been formally turned away from the Jewish community because of their mental illnesses while they were enrolled in educational programming; two from Schechter Boston and two from Camp Ramah in New England. I have tried to find another camp to send my daughter to but so far the ones I’ve explored will not accept her. I’m sure my youngest son wouldn’t be accepted either if they knew the truth about his struggles.

So much training is needed to get the leadership on board with actually being accepting.

I was unable to find transportation to a local nondenominational synagogue (I couldn’t drive because of my disability) and their chesed committee was inactive and unorganized at the time. There has been a change in leadership and this is no longer a barrier.
When I have disclosed my disability to potential employers, I never have received a job offer — this despite the fact that I have two Masters’ degrees.  I write and publish regularly in the field of military history.  However, once the diagnosis of high-functioning autism is revealed, that seems to be the critical factor in denying employment.
Members of synagogues and schools are being segregated because of disabilities and medical choices. It is abhorrent that people who can’t getting vaccinated are being excluded from things like joining communal shabbat meals, getting Aliyot to the torah, attending certain events or participating in youth programs. Vaccine injury is a real occurence and those who have been injured are being told they can not participate in Jewish communal life as equals. Fear an panic have hijacked critical thinking and discrimination & segregation are being normalized in the world at large and especially in the Jewish community. This is wrong and based on false logic and worship of “safety” over commitment to ethics.
The synagogue just doesn’t have the resources and/or interest

to try to meet the needs.

Not applicable
Lack of resources
25 years ago a camp turned my son away, but the culture at that camp is completely different now due to advocacy efforts, and now all children are included
Many synagogues have steps without elevators or ramps. Usually no sign language interpreter either. Costs $$
Learning issues
I have been turned away from synagogues on the High Holidays because I could not afford the cost to take part.  Being poor is a disability in this country.
unable to join the congregation for meals and celebrations due to the lack of an accessible building. I am trying to get them to hold events at other locations to allow attendance for those with disabilities.
Make sure walks are free of ice and snow and that the door is either on the ground level or that there is a ramp, please remember including access to the Oneg is iimprtant.
not excluded but certainly not welcomed
lots of examples, but lots of people trying to overcome why and not let it happen again-
Programs have been eliminated, grants have been eliminated for programs that have received funding, there is no effort at programming or inclusion
My son is DeafBlind.  He needs a special interpreter for ASL for persons who are DeafBlind and has often met resistance in providing that interpreter.  Sometimes told they don’t have the funds to pay for the service or we re asked to pay.  I have argued this is access, same as a wheelchair ramp.
My brother-in-law uses a motorized scooter & was turned away from an Orthodox shul on Shabbat because it wasn’t “kosher”.
We make plans to include all people as needed
My synagogue spent money on an extensive renovation of its main sanctuary a few years ago and the powers that be decided NOT to do anything about the fact that there are steps leading up to the ark and also steps leading up to the center bimah where the Torah is read. So those parts of the room remain inaccessible to anyone who uses a wheelchair or walker or is otherwise not able to climb stairs.
Years ago my brother and his family wanted to join a synagogue but they were told that there were no “special programs” for kids with autism.
Doesn’t happen here
My son was disenrolled from a Jewish Day School that felt they could not serve him and would not allow us to bring support or time to evaluate. They accepted him to the school and we were new to the community. It was awful.
If it is not lawful or ethical to exclude someone Bc of their gender, sexual orientation, religion and anything else meant by DEI, how is it at all excusable to discriminate against people with disabilities, visible and not?
Jewish day school leadership had no ability or interest to accommodate my child on the spectrum despite the teachers ability and willingness
Valley Beth Shalom/ Our Space special needs program did not make medical accommodations for my son with down syndrome.
Hebrew School and Bar Mitzvah training.  Had to find another synagogue.
Long time ago at an amusement park would not allow 2 family members on bumping cars
As a child I couldn’t attend any camps, much less Jewish religious camp. The inclusion of leaders. Including rabbis, made a difference. For example, paths were paved which had not been previously.
the tail should not be in charge of the dog.each disability must be treated are putting a blind person in the same box as a are puttinf a deaf person with a downs seem to be part of the

problem.first get real with each can not place

My adult son on the autism spectrum was denied entry to a Shabbat Around the world challah making session about 5 years ago because he had his phone charger, cables, & other things that they viewed as “dangerous”. No logical argument would sway them. This was not our Synagogue where he was known but it was a traumatic experience for both of us. He insisted that I go in & make challah without him.  He spent that time crying in our car. My son is kind, helpful, & sensitive… This colored all his future interactions with Judaism unless he is directly assisting me. Even that is a struggle.
Physical access difficult in many traditional synagogues. The institution must commit to spending the money
my granddaughter has quadriplegia cerebral palsy. She occasionally shouts out and head turn and some people are noticeably distressed that their needs conflict with her inability to behave “appropriately.” My daughter and son-in-law usually remove her quickly from the service or other setting even though she usually stops these vocalizations soon. It would be good if people could learn to tolerate a few moments of discomfort. If people knew what their facial expressions give away perhaps they would not stare, frown, mumble to each other and display other offensive behaviors in the presence of people with disabilities. Congregational leaders and members of synagogues and organization can talk about this and consider together how to  be more welcoming and accepting.
Bullying and mobbed law in workplaces now are coming in our state , but was a victim and wanted them bully and ice people out  , I left the Synagouge and community leaders would not let me report abuse to the board.  Now the fallen Was brought on ethical charges and dethroned but , the Rabbi and his hand picked board, have there own community now it’s very unhealthy, I am in therapy never going back.  Bullying and mean abuse no one does anything if you do your iced out like me .   No power or money to challenge.
Not a specific incident, rather I’ve noted lesser interest/knowledge of people with invisible disabilities. It’s easy to provide access to a person in a wheelchair.
Jewish organizations are built around spectacularly wealthy Jews giving banquets for other spectacularly wealthy Jews.  FINANCIAL DISCRIMINATION BY JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS IS UNIVERSAL.  Involvement in Jewish organizations is not possible for people with normal incomes.  Disabled people are often not wealthy, so not welcome.
When I was younger and wanted to be a camp counselor at the JCC when I got older, but the director said that due to my disability of having Epilepsy. I could never be one when I got older.
Jewish day schools would not accept one of our children who has a disabilities. Another child with a disability was accepted but very poorly served. Synagogues and camps would not accept one of our children.

Q22. OPTIONAL: Please specify any institution that you know of that has clergy or staff and/or leaders with disabilities? If comfortable, please also provide their names.

I don’t know.
Rabbi at a synagogue in Bloomington, IL.
I prefer not to name people
Don’t know of any
Kol Tikvah – Woodland Hills, CA.  Our Religious School Director has ADHD. Our substitute torah study teacher has hearing disabilities.
I follow Rabbi Ruti Regan on Twitter, but unfortunately don’t know any staff or leaders with disabilities where I live in Berlin, Germany.
don’t know
Kerem Shalom in Concord, Mass., is led by Rabbi Darby Leigh, who is Deaf. His leadership has led to a broad-based ethos of inclusion in the congregation.
Beth Chayim Chadashim, Director of Education, Rae Antonoff Portnoy
The JCC, the Federation
Hillel Ontario
Yes, me.  Bayt haShira.
Our former Synagogue ED
I don’t know. We’ve been shunned.
We have had a guest Rabbi/Scholar in Residence who is deaf. I have participated in URJ activities with clergy in wheelchairs.
Adas Israel Rabbi Lauren Tuchman serves as the voluntary chair of the inclusion task force.
For example i know some Chabad Rabbis that are deaf and cater to deaf community
Local stores hire staff with disabilities. Our o community organization hire staff as well
YULA and Maimonides have both hired people with Downs Syndrome.
While he’s not technically a paid leader, Rabbi Y. Hurwitz’s presence in the Yeshivah Ohr Elchonon Chabad community directly impacted my son who frequently used to join the minyan in his apartment.
The Chabad at 17th Street in Santa Monica has a young adult who has significant physical special needs serve as both a counselor in their summer camp as well as a teacher in their Hebrew school
Chabad Friendship Circle of Fairfield County, CT
synagogue Rabbi has openly talked about his mental health challenges
synagogue, Federation, partner agencies
The disability may not be visible.

An administration member if my Jewish high school left because he was depressed and couldnt work. That is the rumor I heard, anyway.

Rabbi Lauren Tuchman, believed to be the first blind woman rabbi in the U.S., did a weekend of learning at my congregation, Beth El Hebrew in Alexandria, VA
Do not know
I know of two deaf rabbis, one in Illinois and one in Massachusetts.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and many synagogues in my area.
AVODAH — Rabbi Lauren Tuchman
Special Needs Partnership
But there may be invisible disabilities that aren’t spoken about
I don;t know of any!
I suspect when one gives a sermon about mental health that something increased focus. Often the impetus is not disclosed.
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Rabbi Leah Mosser
I work with rabbis all over the country and I know quite a few with different kinds of disabilities.
Everyone has a disability.
North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Hioghland Park, Illinois
Kerem Shalom in Concord MA has a Deaf rabbi. Rabbi Darby Leigh
I know of a few Deaf rabbis, I don’t believe any have their own congregation. One is specifically doing outreach to the deaf community in Israel
Rabbi Yehoshua Soudakoff – Bais Chushim in Israel
Chabad house Rebbetzin . Myself ADHD.  Rather not give name
Unitarian Universal Community

We have older persons with special needs as well as persons who use wheelchairs.partipating

Mishkan Torah hired me as Education Director and was one place where awareness of disability inclusion was on the agenda. It was one of the best places I ever worked.
Rabbi Rebecca Dubowe
Rabbi Darby Leigh (deaf, MA), Rabbi Rebecca Dubowe (deaf, IL), Rabbi Lauren Tuchman (blind, MD or DC), Rabbi Dahlia Kronish (short stature, NY), Rabbi Julie Adler (IL)
Jewish Family Service board member Michael Segal.  ReelAbilities Co-chair Michael McCollough
I serve as the Regional Director of BBYO Lonestar and I am disabled. There are others in BBYO who are also disabled. Within Houston, I know of local religious leaders with disabilities even if those aren’t public.
I know of rabbis with disabilities, such as Rabbi Ruti Regan, but to my knowledge there are no disabled rabbis or leaders in my town.
Michelle Rosen who is blind, is former president of Ida Crown Jewish Academy – the modern orthodox coed high school in the Chicago area.
I don’t know.
In the Boston area – me as CEO of Gateways: Access to Jewish Education, Rabbi Darby Leigh of Congregation Kerem Shalom in Concord MA
Temple Sinai, Oakland
Temple Sinai Oakland, Ca  Rabbi Adar. I was a board member for 17 years
Kehilla Community Synagogue in Oakland is inclusive of people with disabilities, as are Beth El and Netivot Shalom in Berkeley.
Temple Israel, Omaha NE – Rabbi Aryeh Azriel (emeritus)

Reform congregation in Chicago (blanking on name) – Rabbi Rebecca Dubowe

Reconstructionist congregation in PA (?) – Rabbi Darby Leigh

Non-congregational rabbis: Rabbi Lauren Tuchman (Conservative); Rabbi Ruti Regan (Conservative)

I only know of a hearing impaired rabbi, Rebecca Dubowe, who serves the hearing congregation in Illinois and the same for other synagogues.  There is only one temple I know of that serves the Deaf and HOH and that is often what I am told to join when I inquire about joining a temple in  my area.  I don’t want to be a member of an exclusively-Deaf/HOH synagogue.  I want to be a member, along with my hearing family, of a synagogue that welcomes me and all disabilities.
Beth Israel
We used to have a cantor who was blind, but she is no longer our cantor.  She served for 20 years, and leaving the synagogue had nothing to do with her disability.
Congregation Brith Shalom – rabbi
The new Rabbi has a disability
Netsacn Yisrael (Conservative community) Ashkelon, Israel
I heard a talk by the only female blind rabbi in the US. I think her name was Lauren.
Our project Mikva the Musical
None are visible or known to general congregants

Morgan Scherer

He is now retired but my rabbi Daniel Grossman is disabled and he made it possible for my daughter to participate
Not know
I would suggest reaching out to Rabbi Ruti Regan. She is a well-known rabbi who is blind and on the Autism spectrum.. Contact her and learn more about Jewish disability education services from the organization, Matan.
Don’t know
Kehillat Ma’arav, The Westside Congregagtion
Keshet in Northbrook Illinois has a board chair who is blind which would be me
IKAR has staff with disabilities
Not sure of
I think gateways;acess to jewish organizations has done a good job educating the community so many examples in our area
Wish I did!
Rabbi with Aspberger’s.
Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson, Texas
I am a rabbi with a disability— I don’t know of others at the institutions that I’m part of
Tamar Davis at Gateways
I don’t know any.
Howard Trachtman is on several committees and on the Board
Not currently, but the congregation I grew up in had a sisterhood leader who lived in a halo device due to an accident.
Rabby Darby Leigh
Adat Ariel
I think the Acton MA synagogue has a deaf rabbi
We have an occasional rabbi who is hearing impaired.
Don’t know any
I only know of clergy and staff that have invisible disabilities, like my own.
The TBS which stands for Temple Beth Solomon of the DEAF has been founded by the Deaf for the Deaf and many congregants have family members who are Deaf as well as staff who are Deaf
The only Jewish organization that I know of that specifically seeks out the leadership of people with disabilities is SVARA.  SVARA has had people with disabilities in leadership including Austistic scholars, a blind Rabbi and others.  They make sure that there are accomodations available such as providing live closed captioning on online Talmud classes.
Reform Jewish Institutions.
I know disabled clergy who are looking for work. Lots of them. However, they are only offered part time low paying positions. One Anglican minister who uses a wheelchair works in a homeless shelter even though he has an MDIV.
Don’t know if any
Mayerson Jewish Community Center and for a time Jewish Family Service of the Cincinnati Area
Hillel Ontario
No Comment.
Rabbi Ruti Regan comes to mind…I really can’t think of anyone else.
Learning differences
Congregation Beth Am in Palo Alto, CA had a rabbi or cantor who walked with the aid of customized crutches.  He has long since retired.  Don’t know of any other disabled clergy
don’t know
Former Rabbi Charles Sherman’s disabled son Ayal was always well received.
Several synagogues & day schools
I believe our cantor has a disability.
Temple Beth Shalom in Cambridge, MA
A leader with social anxiety
Hinanu, Baltimore, MD
Congregation P’nai Tikvah Las Vegas
Gateways Access to Jewish Education (Boston) – Tamar Davis
A current board member has a significant disability.
Temple Beth Israel, Eugene OR
Some Hillels
adat elohim..thousand oaks calif..usd to have a female rabbi who was limited in speech, but a great person
City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism in NYC – current rabbi has autism;  prior rabbi’s wife was required to use a wheelchair.  The congregation was extremely open and accommodating
Mayerson Jewish Community Center
Concord synagogue
Don’t know any
Temple Beth El of South Orange County
deaf, transgender
The Saranac Synagogue, 85 Saranac Avenue, Buffalo NY 14216( Rabbi Joseph Aryeh Selevan)( Gaucher’ s disease type 1).
Our synagogue in Concord, NH has a Rabbi with chronic health issues and Cantor with EDS and chronic pain.
my synagogue’s lay leadership includes individuals with disabilities, though i wouldn’t say this is the primary component of their identity.
There is a congregation in  Concord, MA with a deaf Rabbi.
dont know of any
I work for the Jewish Federation of Greater Binghamton and I have a hearing impairment.
Brith Shalom, Houston
Was a cantor in Woodbridge, ct with severe stutter
Union for Reform Judaism
Rabbi Darby Leigh, Tamar at Gateways
don’t know of any
This is not an appropriate question. Most disabled persons are trying to fit in, instead of seeking special attention. HIPAA
Some disabilities are invisible to most of us
There have been two Rabbis who were hard of hearing/ but they functioned normally in the community
I am head teacher and teach at our religious school.  I have MS and use a wheelchair
There is a synagogue in the Greater Boston area that has a Rabbi who is deaf.  It has become a magnet for individuals with disabilities.  I believe it is in either Lexington or Lincoln.
No idea
Congregation B’nai Amoona
Some institutions I know have clergy with intermittent mental health issues.
My synagogue (the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills) has an assistant rabbi who has a physical disability (he is missing fingers on each hand).
I don’t know
Our synagogue bookkeeper is hard of hearing
No one comes to mind–however many or most disabilities are not immediately noticeable, so I cannot be sure.  In reality, it is a question that cannot possibly be answered as a “no”.
yeshiva university, orthodox union
not wiling to do so-   its a mental health disability-
Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, DC
Don’t know of any.  Our synagogue used to have someone but she died.
Congregation B’Nai David in Visalia, CA
My Rabbi thinks he is funny. Is that a disability?
Bay area Jewish Healing Center – Rabbi Elliot Kukla from 2008-2021
my synagogue (has wheelchair accessability and asl signing for services.
Temple adat Elohim
Amy Sheinberg NY, NY
Jewish family service
Deaf Jewish  Female Rabbi- not sure where she is now practicing
Yeshiva Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Ari Hart Graduate

Rabbi Mlotek. Both wrote about their mental health challenges

Chabad but don’t know names. Someone that is blind has led a service
My beloved Rabbi has dyslexia.
Ahavat Torah Congregation
Jewish Family Service Houston has Steven Wiseman helping with some tasks. He is not clergy or a leader though he is given tasks to help.
JFS Houston
Rabbi tuchman, rabbi darby

Q23. OPTIONAL: If you have seen a particular example of successful disability inclusion in your faith community, please share it with us.

At our impromptu synagogue on High Holidays, the services are on ground level and people in wheelchairs can and do attend.
In our community, we have had individuals who are visually impaired who read the haftarah.  We are going to have a learning program to educate how she can read from the Torah in braille.  Also, we have people who cannot walk and have individuals who make an extra effort to find a way to welcome them the synagogue and get them there by pushing a wheel chair or assisting them in any way possible.  We also have people with emotional disability be it anxiety or depression and we find ways to include them in our space so that they feel comfortable.
In my synagogue, I was able to work directly with both of our education Director and rabbi in order to have my significantly disabled child not only be trained and have a full bar mitzvah service with modifications and accommodations for not just him, but his attendees with disabilities, but also to employ him as a madrachim during Sunday school
Increasing number of B’Nei Mitzvot for people with a variety of disabilities; great tutor and supportive Cantor and Rabbi
Camp Chi / Keshet at Camp Chi
Temple Sinai of PIttsburgh formed an inclusion committee some years ago. The work done by the board to enact cereal change to the physical building, adaptive equipment , education and over all welcoming  community is second to none in the PIttsburgh  area.
The social group for young Jewish people with disabilities, Yachad, works very well with the high schoolers who attend Jewish day schools.
Sunflower Bakery established by some Beth Sholom Potomac MD community members to teach youth with disabilities marketable retailing skills.
We built a ramp to the bimah specifically for physically disabled people. Accommodations were also made for a non-sighted member in the adult b’nai mitzvah class.
a congregant had a profoundly disabled relative who was included in bnai mitzvah services through collaboration with the caterer, rabbi and executive director. Exceptions to religious boundaries, like using food processor on shabbat were made so the relative could eat with the family. Children in the religious school were given an “intro” to the person who would be in attendance so that they were knowledgeable and not scared by the profound level of disability.
visual descriptions, welcoming screen breaks and body movement, captions
We redesigned the Bima so it now has a ramp.
Virtual programming that includes closed-captioning, included people with disabilities as cantor or speaker on programs.
how about accepting families and not assuming its just bad parenting and lack of discipline? not making us feel terrible and unwelcome if child misbehaves at synagogue, camp, etc?
Teaching the children in the religious school how to sign certain prayers in ASL (American Sign Language); having an ASL choir sign prayers and songs at services (predominantly the High Holidays).
Temple Emanuel-El of Edison has a bimah that is wheelchair accessible.  The bimah table is also wheelchair accessible. Through a private grant they also utilize assisted listening devices.
I once saw Rabbi David Kasher give a dvar Torah in sign language at IKAR
Disability inclusion at our synagogue started with a clear and explicit commitment by education director. Over ten years of advocacy and work to this end, including training teachers, hiring Para-educators, hiring and supporting teachers who have disabilities, and speaking up for the needs of young people with disabilities, others in the synagogue picked up the call, and created more inclusive rituals for b’nai Mitzvah and other life cycle rituals, more inclusive preschool, etc.
Member of the Board of Trustees
My synagogue began incorporating visual descriptions into all virtual events to support low-vision congregants.
Inclusion is a core value and is part of the mission
Leading a learning series with disability activist throughout the year
Temple Sinai in Pittsburgh, PA
Accommodations have bene regularly accessible on Zoom programming via subtitles, sharing screens to make notes available in real time, and other great technological means of inclusion.
Our community has an Accessibility Initiative that has advocated for and implemented ASL at services, captioning at online events, and legible on-screen texts for online events, a scent free policy, quiet spaces where people can go during in-person events, etc. We are currently working on ensuring that our website conforms to WCAG 2.1.
Aware of another community with hearing impaired clergy
All with chronic conditions, mental and physical are welcome.
Bridges program on durham, NC and inclusion at services and celebrations
B’nai David-Judea has a committee devoted to disability inclusion, chaired by our Rabbanit. We try to have at least one Shabbaton a year devoted to inclusion (in Feb), usually in partnership with either Yachad or Etta. Our Shabbat childcare program counselors have been trained to include kids with disabilities and facilitate social interactions, play and assistance. Part of the synagogue website describes the philosophy towards inclusion, we have a Shabbat elevator and large-print siddurim. We also have an annual Shabbaton devoted to raising understanding of mental health & addiction issues.
my synagogue got a few dozen “Yachad Siddur”s – prayerbooks for people with disabilities
Friendship Circle of Virginia.
Children with disabilities such as my son are welcomed in our synagogue’s sanctuary, even when they make noises or behave in unusual ways.  We do not feel scrutinized.  We feel supported in our challenges when our community sees us present.
Bimah access for wheelchairs with ramps making access also easier for seniors.
It is not necessarily my community, but the presence of a Friendship Circle organization in a community seems to increase inclusion throughout associated congregations.
Sunflower Bakery
YISE invited residents of residential homes for adults to attend on Shabbos
People with disabilities are often given roles in ritual or discussion where feasible
We are trying now with my son. He has a shadow pt in a private Jewish school.

I have seen events with buddies where they include others with disabilities.

Our synagogue has made the building accessible and take great care in making everyone welcome and included
The Chabad overnight summer camp in South Florida that had no program for children with disabilities took in my nefew who is severely disabled and the staff and the children were amazing at including him in their fun and activities. Specifically moving was the sensitivity of the children towards him.
Friendship Circle organization
B’nai David-Judea, Los Angeles. Physical Space.
Camp Emunah, Rebbitzen Hecht
My adult daughter, who is mildly cognitively disabled, has been asked to serve on committees and speak to our congregation.  Also she is invited to Shabbat meals fairly regularly though she does not (so far…!) reciprocate.  Also our community has two very active social groups for disabled adults. My daughter has a very full life both in our synagogue and in the wider Modern Orthodox community here in Los Angeles.
All types of disabilities accepted and encouraged to participate
The friendship circle
zabs place of Charlotte the provise job opportunity for people with special needs.
Friendship circle
At the menorah lighting ceremony on ChAnuka the young man singing the blessing for the crowd every year has a disability.

My daughter is missing an arm and her picture was just featured on a big Chabad Lubavitch publication.

My daughter was interviewed in a Jewish kids magazine to bring awareness to limb differences

Friendship Circle
Roza worked in the elementary school office.
Clergy, secretary, social worker, camp counselors
We’ve had an Inclusive Shabbat for a few years and I think it has gone well.  We have aa disability organization come to the synagogue for Shabbat.  We have people with disabilities read from the torah and/or stand next to to the people reading from it.  We also have people read some of the extra prayers (prayer for the government).  Sometimes people with disabilities give speeches during this particular Shabbat.  We play interactive games where we act out different parts of the torah with different famous characters.  These can include Darth Vader and Cookie Monster.  The people assigned these characters do their part in the character’s voice.  Everyone is involved, not just the “typical” people.  We try to find things for the children to do (that are age appropriate) about having a disability.  I once helped read a story to a group of small children (I think they were 3-year-olds) about a dog who was small, but could still help the larger dogs in the story with things (as they were too big to fit in a certain spot).  I think the kids were able to understand that story.  Our synagogue has an inclusion committee (which I am part of).
The schools and Shula have been great for my son. Unfortunately not all disabilities are the same. It hurts when I see the warmth given to my son and others have not seen the same grace. Also it is getting more difficult as individuals age. My sons peers are graduating college and getting married.
Etta Israel residents used to join us in shul when I lived in north hollywood.

Many  students in Chabad schools take part in friendship circle activities to everyone’s benefit.

Bnai David Judea does an amazing job. From the bima, through congregants and in programs.
At Bnai David the Rabbi and Rabbanit both make an effort to make learning accessible to all members, including those with cognitive and/or physical challenges. It creates a wonderful and inspiring environment.
Our synagogue has a ramp that allows those in wheelchairs to access the bima
Our synagogue has tried to address Mental health awareness in open ways which I think has been positive. They also made wheel chair access to the bima which was great.
My child is part of chai lifeline as well as friendship circle LA

One Chabad, one Jewish modern orthodox and both have reached out across all of the Jewish communities to have us included

The friendship circle in michigan as well as New Jersey has successfully created a city where special needs people of all ages can contribute to the operations of all that it offers. chabad worldwide are definitely leading the way in the area of inclusion.

we have a son who is 13 with severe autism, he is non verbal  and has a medical condition. Our chabad community welcomes his participation in services and all events.

We have several board members with disabilities and they are active leaders and wholly embraced by the other leaders and members.
The childrens program in our shul has multiple branches and children with all kinds of disabilitys are welcome and encouraged to participate in all of the programs. (The gesher program at Congragation Levi Yitzchak)
My community offers programs for people with disabilities, but that’s sometimes a different version of exclusion.
The Federation’s disability/inclusion efforts are a good source of ideas, accomodation info, etc for the synagogues in our area (those who have disability committees)
Having members of our community meaningfully participate in spiritual life in congregations, Jewish summer camps, Israel missions, teen programming, Jewish Disability Advocacy Day…
I wanted to add that the definition is very broad and therefore this can’t be answered easily or homogenously. There are more examples I see of people with physical disabilities being included in leadership roles. However, there is very little awareness that people with ID/DD or complex mental health illness are not even considered as being potential leaders. The prejudices and barriers to access and meaningful inclusion differ from group to group and need to need
The inclusion program at JCamps in Baltimore, MD
Maimonides School had a boy who was deaf, whose interpreter camw to school every say for years, and gave ASL lessons to the other kids. There are also ways for wheelchair users to get around.

In my community in Jerusalem is a blind woman who is invited for shabbat meals often, and people know how to lead her, explain where on her plate her food is, etc.

At my work (Jewish Agency) my team recently hired a woman who uses a wheelchair and oxygen tank, and treats her like anyone else (and gives her the accommodations she needs(.

Sometimes the inclusion is by policy, and sometimes grassroots, because people are nice.

But usually people are concerned about whatever is right in front if them.

my shul built a ramp to the community sukka, they began using the shabbos elevator again, they permitted me a discount on membership, and they’ve offered shiurim over Zoom so I could attend when not feeling well.
My daughter was included in religious school from kindergarten through confirmation (10th grade) wiht the help of a special student madricha.
There once was a chapter within BBYO lead by Limor Hartman for our special needs teens.  It was fantastic.
The Jewish life program at Vista Del Mar has been exemplary in including and enthusiastically welcoming people with disabilities.
synagogue put in push button front doors
Accommodations are always provided for wheelchairs at services – mostly at the end of the rows.
Our shul used to be more participatory when the rabbi had a daughter with special needs. Now the shul doesn’t do much.
The FriendshipCircle
My son who has epilepsy and autism is treated with such great respect and dignity at my shul. Even though he has a small speech impediment, he is always called upon to participate in the services and even on Yom Kippur was called to open the ark.
Rabbi [redacted] Also special needs programs at camp Ramah of California, Elana Naftalin-Kelman director
The Beis Community in Washington Heights NY has a wheelchair ramp that they made to make sure everyone can get in the door. They are also responsive to the needs communicated to them within the capabilities of the space that they occupy.

The ZA’AKAH Shabbat and Yom Tov warmline gives people a place to reach out to and speak to another observant Jew on Shabbat and Yom Tov to address emotional needs before people find themselves in crisis. Volunteers share crisis resources to those who need them and provide a listening ear to those who need it. I am privileged to be a volunteer and the scheduling is very accommodating to the emotional needs of us too. We have mental health professionals available for our own debriefing and I am never judged for declining a shift if my health requires.

I understand that there is a special camp for intellectually disabled Jewish children in the New York/New Jersey area as my study partner’s daughters were counsellors there and sometimes brought a camper home for Shabbat
PLAN through Jewish Family Services, Dallas TX.  Counselling (social, and financial) at Jewish Family Services, Dallas TX. Bar/Bat Mitzvah participation and preparation at Congregation Beth Isreal, Colleyville TX.
Celebration Company at JFS
Data of Plano tries to include my son and so does camp Nageela midwest
friend with autism has had several jobs with the help of their Jewish friends and some organizations
Friendship Circle
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College has striven hard to improve accessibility for those with physical, mental, and learning disabilities among its student base, staff, and faculty. It still has work to do, but it continues to push those efforts forward.
There is a Rabbi that is blind…. Not in Houston, but would love to have her brought in to meet our community!
REsharing this article:

New religious school has made some adjustments that are helping.

We raised money to build a ramp up to the bimah so it would be accessible to anyone in a wheelchair or with mobility issues.
Camp Ramah Palmer is a wonderful place for my daughter.  The people with disabilities ar included as a matter of course and everyone grows up comfortably with difference.  “Typical” campers who grow up at Palmer have been noted to be kinder and more inclusive then their peers for other camps of the same movement.
A nonverbal autistic girl was bat mitzvah in an orthodox Shul on Shabbat with the help of her digital speech device.
I think that Beth Yeshurun has done it successfully in instances but it is still an extra effort and not an automatic part of our planning process.
A young man in a wheelchair is regularly brought to many activities. He participates well. He has also worked as a day camp counselor.
Ner Shalom in Cotati has included developmentally disabled people very well. They also consistently tell people not to wear scents.
ramps, lowering the Bimah so the Aron Kodish is more accessible, movable shulchan, and several more changes
Kerem Shalom in Concord MA has an ASL choir and has offered ASL classes in the past.
the synagogue Kehillat Yedidya in Jerusalem
I know of synagogues that provide large print siddurim and chumashim. Some also provide the text of the rabbis sermon
Mosaic Law Congregation in Sacramento has the “Michael Bousinna Inclusion Program
closed captioning of services online b/c  of covid-19
Baltimore CJE is outstanding in including those with disabilities.
Celebration company through JFS, JCC day camps (i worked for them in undergrad), low sensory purim carnival, low sensory high holiday services and hanukkah party
Friendship circle of Chabad
Yachad and Friendship Circle are great. They have a lot of programs that are for the entire community and provide additional support for people with disabilities and their families.
The building has to be acessible
JADE run by Yael Zelinger
Some places have ramps. Some religious schools provide 1:1 aides for struggling students. I have visited one synagogue that provided sign language interpreters for regular Shabbat services.
Sinai Temple׳s Beit Bracha
All I can say is that number of institutions are trying. It’s mostly afterthought process which is painful. Mishkan of Chicago provide interpreters without asking. Their model is making their programs accessible regardless. Anshe Emet of Chicago, it provided captioning in live streaming services and if asked ahead of time, accommodation would be provided. Physical access in the space is fully accessible. Programmatic access is challenging at times and worst with masks.
My childhood rabbi, who was partially deaf, provided ASL (sometimes while also speaking) during all services.
Congregation Nevivot Shalom in Berkeley is particularly inclusive. Menachem Creditor, who was the rabbi there when I lived in Berkeley, is a great example of a Jewish leader who helps disabled people be included in as many aspects of Jewish life as possible. The entire community was disability-friendly (for instance, they ensured that I could get to shul and someone always volunteered – without me asking – to carry and fill a plate for me at the oneg – my hands were full with mobility equipment).
A member of our modern orthodox synagogue has an active member who has CP and is regularly called for an aliyah to the Torah.
A commitment to always including captions on videos, including live captioning or ASL interpretation at events.
We have many supports for inclusion available, including consultation, training and even some funding and it is seldom taken advantage of.
one synagogue in our community hires a sign language interpreter at their lectures and events. They have a member who is an interpreter and offer her free or reduced membership in exchange for some of her services as a professional ASL interpreter.
I don’t know.
It’s all a work in progress — seeing more improvement especially with teen volunteers at Gateways going back to their home communities and having a better understanding of how to help make accommodations and improve disability inclusion in tangible ways.
Our synagogue education program does include kids with various disabilities.  My daughter also celebrated her bat mitzvah in 2015, and I was able to bring her to practice in front of 5th thru 7th grade students so that she could get used to people being in the congregation.   This was a great experience for all.
I have seen responses to disability ranging from gossip to blatant ridicule, and an unwillingness to acknowledge such behavior. To quote a Cantor with whom I addressed this, “I only want pretty.”
At Temple Sinai in Oakland, Rabbi Ruth Adar often fills in to lead services and teaches courses. She has multiple disabilities.
jewish Family service houston
I wish I could affirmatively answer this!
Baltimore Hebrew Congregation – Pandemic High Holy Days 2020 – captioned all services for RH and YK (YouTube) in English and Hebrew transliteration. Rabbis at BHC provide text of RH/YK sermons upon request. Both the Chapel and the main Sanctuary are looped.
The sanctuary of the synagogue had an induction loop assistive listening system installed in the newly renovated building – which was the technology of preference for those who needed it.
I’ve not seen any to date, which is a shame in this day and age.
Celebration Company at JFS Houston is phenomenal!
Congregation Emanu El (Houston) provides CART at all services and ASL interpreters for High Holy Days; it is building a ramp to the Bimah in the Chapel; the inclusion committee has had some incremental successes in heightening awareness and making physical changes, e.g., lowering Talit hooks outside restrooms, installing push pads for restroom doors; adding an “Access for All” fund to the compendium of synagogue funds to which those who support inclusion efforts may donate.
JFS Houston has always promoted using accessible facilities, having CART/ASL/assistive listening devices & volunteers to help (when needed) at all events & community meetings.
acessable to disabled, hearing amp, magnifiers for low vision, services for neuro-atypical individuals, (though not ofter)
programs including disabled  folks
Jcc day camp at jcc of GW
….Jewish holiday events with those having intellectual disabilities (eg. inviting persons with disabilities to join for a

seder, Purim carnival, etc.)

For 20 years, our High Holiday cantor was a blind woman.  She brought her guide dog with her to services, and her pianist drove her to the synagogue.  While she is no longer our High Holiday cantor, she still does a guest appearance for us at least once a year.  Her name is Anita Bonanno.
Celebration Company with JFS in Houston, Texas and Friendship Circle of Houston
The Emery Weiner School was able to make accommodations so that my son could participate in all school trips including his Senior class trip to Israel and Poland.
Chabad Friendship Circle
Jewish Family Service
Our Congregation was one of the first to formalize inclusion by establishing an Inclusion Committee with the goal of making our facility accessible; welcoming; participatory; more caring; and a place where the disabled will want to be.  We have been successful in many areas.  So, we installed automatic doors to our building, the rest rooms, etc.; set aside areas in the different parts of the Sanctuary for disabled seating; installed ramps; held religious events open to all of the disabled community to attend at no cost; and more.
Beth Yeshurn has done some Inclusive events for the GLBT community here in Houston.
Jewish Family Service
Houston Jewish Family Service
Many years ago, and I’m talking at least 25. There was a family who had two children, when was Steph and the other wasn’t undiagnosed on the spectrum child. The rabbi at that time told the parents that neither of their children would be able to have their bar mitzvah. The parents came to me, and I worked with each of those boys to prepare them for that experience. They learned how to read Hebrew, and they read from the Torah. The child who is deaf and I worked through a prayer that’s very important in our liturgy and while I read it out loud, he signed it in his own words. Not a dry eye in the house.

But I do remember the frustrations of the parents and those children working themselves through religious school.

URJ sci tech east camp gave my son a phenomenal summer experience. During COVID. It was safe and fully inclusive. A true best practice example. Director Jayme dale Mallindine is amazing
Some synagogues have found interpreters for Bnai Mitzvot.  But it required significant advance request and was seemingly a foreign concept.
A lot more kids with special needs are being included in the religious school and summer camps
Equal membership in study groups and decision taking bodies.
There are some synagogues that now do a better job because someone put money behind it like Lincoln Square Synagogue because of Shelly Cohen.
My temple created a new board position for Disability and Inclusion
Synagogue was designed for access of people with physical disabilities.
They made a position on the temple board for me to join the board as I asked to be part of the board but the position that I wanted was taken by someone else so they made one for me because the Rabbi and others on the board really wanted me and my participation on the board.
Recently a new membership person took over and has made a lot of strides in this effort. Online services are more included. Outside facilitators of events have been disabled.
My disabled daughter was able to go to Hebrew school with accomodations
Adat Elohim used to have a Deaf Rabbi. She was amazing.
Not sure
ramps and elevators installed
The Union for Reform Judaism has a disabilities resource program ( in collaboration with the Ruderman Foundation. I would also recommend conferring with any of the Reform Exemplary communities identified for their superior inclusion practice (two congregations are Har Hashem in Boulder, CO, and The Temple, in Atlanta).
Some physical barriers have been removed
Temple Beth El in San Antonio TX where I have been the Inclusion Specialist for many years.I strongly believe that every Jewish Child is entitled to a religious education regardless of disability and that this education should be met in an Inclusive environment that can be achieved with reasonable accomodation and or modifications.
Friendship Circle in Squirrel Hill, PA
Many examples especially Chabad
Not too sure
Our entire bimah was rebuilt
MJC&S has promoted, supported and celebrated several Bar and Bat Mitzvahs for young people with disabilities.   People with developmental or other disabilities are welcomed at all services, all the time, even if they aren’t able to be quiet at all times.
we have an inclusivity internship – but the organization does not necessarily know how to do it
In chicago area, efforts and programs by keshet, juf, jcfs, libenu, skokie valley synagogue, cjds, friendship circle, yachad
During the Covid shutdown, the Reform Synagogue, Kol Hanishama, established reach out organized by neighborhoods in Jerusalem. So much appreciated this
Gateways; acess to jewish Ed.

Bar/bat mitzvahs take place in home synogogue thus educating community to the possible

Inclusion of myself in numerous bar mitzvah activities of my grandson. Problematic in that everything had to stop so people could help me navigate the venue. Too much attention was placed on me rather than the bar mitzvah boy.
JFS Houston staff and programs
Temple Etz Chaim in Franklin Ma does a great job including students in their religious schools who have all sorts of disabilities such as LD, autism and mental illness.
We lowered the bima and widened the accessible bathroom stalls.
Persons with intellectual disabilities included in a choir coordinated by the Reverend/ Cantor
The Inclusion Initiative of Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson, Texas. Contact person: Zelene Lovitt
For over 30 years I’ve felt the stigma of having to either not join a synagogue in attending or, when I’ve had a bit of money, having to explain to membership that I can not pay the full amount (or maybe anything) toward membership and Passover and High Holy Day Tickets. I have multiple autoimmune diseases and am on Social Security Disability with an additional small private inherited income. I feel embarrassment and stigma whenever I move to a new city and shul and have to explain this. Usually the synagogue member in charge of membership acts and speaks in such a way that I can feel the stigma. Having to reveal my health status and financial precariousness should not be part of joining a Jewish organization.
One staff member has multiple medical issues that make it difficult for her to get to work at 9 like the other staff. Accommodations have been made for her need for a flexible work day schedule.
A specific day camp at the JCC in durham NC, where they have an inclusion program thag benefits all kids really, even if they’re not in the inclusion program. Small things and some patience and understanding can go a long way.
We regularly provide interpreters for services and events; we have large print prayer books; very open to LGBTQ+ community; ramps, elevators, and accessible bathrooms
We have several children with disabilities and they have always been included and accommodated based on their specific needs.  Our community also recognizes that even with the same diagnosis the solution isn’t always the same they tailor it to the individual as much as possible
I believe the URJ succeeds at raising awareness and advocating for Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month
programming for jewish disability awareness month
I have not.
Howard has presented workshops, D’vars, and is a productive, active member of our synagogue!
Kehilat Shalom’s improving the sound quality in the sanctuary.
The leader of my sisterhood in my congregation growing up, and my college congregation had a member who led groups with a service dog.
Our own Ramah camping movement has a long history–we keep trying to improve
I do not know
The Acton MA synagogue and my own in Sudbury MA
I have an adult daughter who is one the spectrum of Autism. I wish more than anything there was a way for her to be involved in our Jewish community that wasn’t some segregated program for “individuals” with disabilities.
Ask the leadership at Tree of Life (Pittsburgh, Pa) about the brothers who were killed by the shooter.
Hybrid services (Zoom + in person)that will continue regardless of pandemic status. Addition of a disability non-exclusion committee at synagogue
A Wider Bridge had a sign language interpreted program featuring a film on disability.
There are outreach events for some special needs groups
We held a JDAIM shabbat and week full of events, where we spotlighted different individuals with disabilities (with their consent).
My synagogue installed ramps to the Bimah; it also provides captioning at services, has a coil installed in the main sanctuary which enhances hearing fo those with hearing aids and cochlear implants.  It also offers an ASL interpreter  at High Holy Days Services.
A daily occurrence.
Recently after many years our Shul did renovations, making the washrooms much more accessible. Our local Reform Camp, is impossible for me to go to! It is not accessible!
NCSY has several programs for kids with disabilities,

Camp HASC is developed for kids with disabilities

Already mentioned in previous question 22 about TBS Temple Beth Solomon of the Deaf.
my Rabbi used a part of the helping fund to pay for Uber rides to shul.
SVARA has been very successful by bringing to the forefront people with disabilities.  SVARA might dislike the word “inclusion” though because so offen it is used to tokenize marginalized communities.  What I see instead – is a centering of marginalized identities (queer, people with disabilites, etc) and inviting everyone else to catch up.  It is a decision to stop begging for acceptance but rather develope excellence among previously marginalized groups with the idea that it is precisely those groups with the most original ideas and whose ideas are needed to transform the larger community.
Ive seen accessible playgrounds for disabled kids. Thats because their parents donated funds. Wealthy able bodied parents create access for their children. Disabled adults however are rarely acknowledged as they are unlikely to donate large sums to the congregation. Even if disabled folks work professional jobs, they have additional expenses (hearing aids, ASL interpreters etc)  that preclude large donations.
At a zoom Torah discussion the Rabbi was not sighted but it was never mentioned and she was totally accepted and did an amazing job
Local synagogue installed an elevator-like device to allow access to the bima (pulpit) for the disabled.
Bnei akiva in Israel- my grandson’s specific branch tries very hard to include him
We have one adult included on our holiday service option.
I attended a Passover seder which was sponsored by a group of LGBTQ and Jewish organizations. It included many accomodations and was very respectful of sexual orientation
Designated area in sanctuary for wheelchair users
Rodelph Shalom in NYC has a monthly/holiday kirvinu service for people with disabilities of all ages
Railings and ramps on bima stairs. Movable bima to ground level.
There is a person who has Tourette’s syndrome that has been very included in our faith community.
Always having automatic captioning on Zoom meetings to accommodate those on call who are hard of hearing and providing copies of shared presentations and documents after the meeting to all who attended
Deaf Shabbat PAH! with OneTable and Gallaudet Hillel
Wheelchair accessible synagogue (including sanctuary, bathrooms, and social hall), sign language interpreters at synagogue and broader community events, mikvah equipment for wheelchair users
low sensory services, speakers on topics that address disabilities, large print books, chairs that don’t fold, some change to the bima for easier access
One member in a wheelchair taking services and reading from the Torah
We have had people who have co-occurring disorders who sometimes do not adhere to their medication regimes. Sometimes this has led to uncomfortable situations when they act out threatening someone, so there are congregants who know how to deal with such situations. However, usually such individuals are well accepted.
Person with many disabilities active on Disability Inclusion Committee.
job opportunities exist within the federation system for persons with various disabilities
Enabling support and participation to Bar Mitzvah with Downs Syndrome and including youngster with decision making & impluse challenges as featured Torah reader.
We have a few members who are mobility limited.  One joined quite recently, appears to be a polio survivor, walks with leg braces and two canes.
a handicapped man always come to services and is welcomed by everyone and clergy know him well
Cantor Joel Caplan at Agudath Israel in Caldwell, NJ works amazingly well with children who are differently abled to prepare for a bar or bat mitzvah.
honestly I don’t know
Only the one I previously mentioned. The woman with the speech impediment who uses members who are able to decipher her speech to translate for others. However the “translater” is not always around (like at board and committee meetings) so I do not know how she manages that. But she is extremely active so whatever challenges there are have been met.
See 21 above.
When Congregation Micah, in Nashville, TN, was constructed, it was made physically inclusive with a ramp up to the bimah and also it has wheelchair accessible seating areas  scattered throughout the sanctuary.  In addition, it has a push button which can be used to open one of the main entry doors.  The sidewalks are also accessible.
My son, on the spectrum as a child, was given a one-on-one aide in Hebrew school.
The Tucson JCC has a day program for people with disabilities. It is called Taglit.
The JCC in Marblehead MA is very committed to and accommodating to

Special Needs

Our cantor. Also I have seen a young person with a disability included, and an adult congregant.
Gateways in Boston, MA, makes Jewish education for children of all abilities.
A man with Tourettes who is very disruptive has nevertheless been welcome into our synagogue.
special armchair seating for the very ill
Friendship Circle
I have been honored by Australian Govt with the  medal Order of Australia for my volunteering and other notwithstanding I have a profound hearing loss
For 8 years Celebration Company part of JFS was a very successful disability inclusion, but not anymore after my son was kicked out.
The Atzmayim/Tikva program at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin
people with autism have been included in services even if they make “odd” sounds at times. There is a ramp to get up to the bima for those who cannot walk up the stairs.
I have attended bar mitzvahs of disabled people and have seen disabled people take all kinds of leadership roles at my congregation.
Full inclusion in all levels in Hinanu
 My Rabbi makes certain all people in our community feel safe. We have several members (including me and my husband) who have physical or developmental disabilities.
Madrichim (teenagers) help with the Talmud Torah program at Bnai Israel Congregation.  This is helpful for including students with special needs.
For the past ~~10 years we have offered assistive hearing devices during services in our Main Sanctuary.  Recently, we began providing non-prescription “readers” for use during services.  We also provide prayer books in several languages in addition to the standard bi-lingual (Hebrew and English) version.
Congregation P’nai Tikvah Las Vegas
Camp Ramah New England
We built a table to permit someone in a wheelchair to read torah.
Wheelchair accessible building. Board member with a disability.
just remodeled for access to Bimah
Hearing interpretations of prayers and holiday programs. One on one help for those with mental disabilities.
The St. Louis JCC’s Adult Day Center. A lifesaver for myself and the best place in town.
Our sanctuary was entirely remodeled with ramps leading up to bima and moveable chairs instead of installed pews. Devices for hard of hearing are available as well as large print prayer books. Zoom or livestream continues even as the pandemic wanes, allowing those who can’t make it in person to be part of the service.
Our synagog has a person with a disability actively lead choir solos and prayers
My synagogue hired a woman who had been homeless helping her and making her very much part of our community
Best bar mitzvah young man had some kind of disability, maybe on the autism spectrum
Ramping the bimah, devices for hard of hearing
Tikvah programs at Camp Ramah, especial Camp Ramah New England (home to the first Tikvah/Jewish special needs program)
an x rabbi…she was very good..a great leader….
We installed a motorized ramp to enable mobility impaired persons to access the pulpit. We have arranged for closed captioning for hearing impaired persons to participate in our streamed worship services. We provided headsets with enhanced audio for persons with hearing impairments to participate in our activities.
We have ASL interpreted Shabbat services every month. We have a chair lift to allow people who need it to reach the sanctuary and we are rebuilding our synagogue right now to add an elevator.
Bnai David has a monthly service for them.
Chai Lifeline
Our bima  can be lowered to accommodate a person in a wheel chair when called to the Torah. A middle aged man with an executive function disability and on the autism spectrum has given divrei Torah. When the synagogue was renovated all ADA requirements were included in the plans, including an elevator.
Congregation Ner Shalom in Cotati California (Rabbi Irwin Keller) has made some attempt to make the synagogue safer for disabled folks
when we remodeled our sanctuary we put in ramps to the torah table, the torah table can be tilted; in our beit midrash we eliminated a raised bimah, the torah table can be raised/lowered and there is enough space for a wheelchair
Bar/Bat Mitzvah inclsusion and adaptation to participate in Bar and bat Mitzvah
Ramps up to the bimah in the physical synagogue, and the use of auto-captioning in Zoom services and events.
We have a ramp outside now but still no way to access our social hall in the basement other than via steps.
Physical, mental
I have a service dog and my rabbi gave permission for my dog to come to temple with me and even on the bima for a special occasion
The inclusion of my service dog during services was certainly a first, though, as I explained, there were some who questioned the need. The Jewish community center went out of their way to welcome us.
We have installed an elevator, we have access for all to the bima, We have a ramp to enter the building.
At The Emanuel Synagogue of West Hartford, CT, we welcome everyone to fully participate, but a particular example is the comfort that some families with autistic or developmentally disabled children feel in our services.  We treasure these young people, and they have opportunities to participate in the services.
A webinar / discussion moderated by one of our Rabbis with Matan Koch was a very powerful conduit to a deeper understanding of disability inclusion and deeply moved the community.
Park Ave Synagogue most successful that Ive seen anywhere in NYC
My synagogue regularly invites a congregant with CP to chant Haftarah and he is either a Cohen or Levy and often is invited for the Aliyah.  There are other congregants who often give him rides to/from synagogue.
Our temple recently added a ramp to get up to the bimah!
our synagogue just replaced its horrible, old, mostly non-functioning bimah lift with an integrated lift that is stairs when needed and a lift when needed. equal access and clear message about the importance of accessibility and inclusion. it’s great! (need was expressed by the congregants and picked up by the accessibility and inclusion committee, who pitched the idea to the board, who picked it up and ran very quickly with it, aided by two very generous donations, one anonymous)
Support for the Special Olympics and support of summer camps for disabled individuals
there are religious education programs that enable teens who have disabilities to become Bar/Bat Mitzvah
The rabbi at the synagogue where I belong gives me written copies of her sermon so I can follow along.
Beth El Synagogue    Rabbi had a stroke  and was  encouraged  to be in shul          Montreal
Until this male rabbi took over in July of 2020, being a member of the LGBTQ community was a non issue. Since he has arrived most of the openly gay men and lesbian have left. One can only image how bad it would be if a young person know thought she or he was a lesbian, transgender or gay went to him for guidance. This is why we have a problem w/ homeless youth and youth suicide!!
Opening the Doors program
See above…. This cantor with a severe stutter at bnai jacob in ct
We installed an elevator in our 145 year old temple, and our community center is easy to access for all.
Pittsburgh — Tree of Life had bar/bat mitzvahs for disabled people.
Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh and Education Center, and its work with the Rising Tide Open Waters Mikveh Network
Inclusive of a person with Asperger Syndrome. And a person who is actively changing their gender identity. And a hearing impaired person.
For a while, My soul had a Havdallah service for young adults with special needs. They also had a seder one year.
There are adults with older, non-verbal children who participate fully in our community. The clergy makes them feel welcome during services and allows use of aids for them.
The Ramah conservative camps have been a leader in inclusive programs for children and young adults as early as 1965 when the first tikvah program opened . Ramah and other camps now run significant inclusion programs and family camps for disabilities
Not in my temple community but Or Ami in Calabasas is a great example of being successful with inclusion
My synagogue went to great expense to make it more wheelchair accessible
A boy with cerebral palsy confined to a wheelchair became a  Bar Mitzvah.
none whatsoever
Wheelchair ramps. Large print siddurim available.
Visual impairment
This is not the place for this kind of question. Our congregation has dozens of people with different disabilities. They are equal before G-d
Ramps leadintoTorahreadingand biaarsiftherearestr.
B’nai Israel in Milburn, NJ and Adath Shalom, Parsippany-Troy Hills.
Ruderman Inclusion Project run from Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston
No idea
Now all children of all abilities are supported in the day camp, religious school, youth groups, B’nai mitzvah, etc
Members living with brain injury are active participants and speak on the issues they face. A past president is an amputee with a prosthetic limb. There is easy access for members in wheelchairs, and transmitters under the rug for people with hearing aids.
People with low vision or blindness have been accommodated.
Zoom activities came about due to the pandemic. We are continuing using Zoom even though we can now hold in-person meetings and worship services. This has helped ensure participation of disabled members
Smaller quieter bar bat mitzvah option for children on the spectrum
Hearing loop installation in both the shul sanctuary and chapel.
A member of our community that suffers from a brain disorder is a welcome part of our group, and participate actively in learning and teaching with the group.
wheelchair accessibility,  inclusion in activities with members who are mentally and/or physically disabled
The Chicago Mitzvah Campaign that is devoted to serving the needs of senior citizens employs my 31 year old son who has developmental disabilities.
Lorain Synagogue does an excellent job.
We sometimes use ASL interpretation for services.
HUGS program for kids in Jewish synagogues,  We have at our synagogue a program for children with learning disabiities-  have made the building more physically accessible in past 3 years-
Sign interperter
Friendship circle in Palo Alto ( too far to go) Celebrations ( at Congregation Ner Shalom in Cotati) recently lost grant from federation
On disability shabbat once a year.  Also a bim that raises and lowers for people in wheelchairs.  We used to have a disability committee meeting regularly, before covid.
The rabbi of the shul , seeing from his vantage point a woman using a walker , coming to move chairs out of her path .
Accommodations for Sunday and Hebrew school students, autistic, mentally challenged and at home. Ramps and railings for access to the bima, library, and social hall, rebuilding synagogue to include elevator to second floor, access to bathrooms.
Wheelchair, Walker, Cane Access for students and for adults; Disabled inclusion in ceremonies and celebrations, including Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Aliyot
My brother-in-law donated money to build a ramp in their shul to allow disabled to be called to the bima/read torah etc.
Congregation B’Nai David in Visalia, California, is a small congregation, and is mostly run by student rabbis and volunteers.  I do know of one high ranking volunteer with cerebral palsy.  But everybody is welcome, no matter what.
Improvements for physical access for people with  mobility issues
For High Holidays, we move the chairs aside in part of the front row for people in wheelchairs/scooters/etc. They said in the prior synagogue they belonged to they had to sit in the back and could not see.
My shul has an elevator so that people who can’t climb stairs can get to the bimah. Also they have started closed-captioning parts of the services on zoom
I wish!
Don’t look for it.
see number 21 above.
Devises for the hearing impaired.
Working with an autistic child on their Bar Mitzvah
Adding elevator and access for mobility impaired folks.
At Vista Del Mar, our High Holiday service include people with autism and other special needs leading parts of the service, sharing their writings and singing.  We are not a regular synagogue – it is a unique social service agency with Jewish roots and we still have High Holidays.
Celebration Company

Friendship Circle

Valley Beth Shalom in Encino,California, has a good program.
A wheelchair-bound staff member at my synagogue.
See above
you must realize people with minor problems aere one thing butmost people who are more than just a little disabled will never be normal.that said they should be helped to their are talking about a tiny amount of can not spend 80 percent of your resoutces on a three percent problem.define your disabilities.a lbtg is a decision that people make,being blind is not.DO NOT CONFUSE THE TWO
We just do.
When searching vtor a new location, one of the requirements is handcap access
WBT is nice to my brother
Gay, transgender, and African American individuals are welcome
My granddaughter had a Bat Mitzvah at Temple Israel in Duluth, MN. She had to be able to meet some minimal criteria which she worked very hard to accomplish. The event will always be a highlight of her life and all members of the family.
My son, who had mental and emotional special needs, was given extra time to prepare for his Bar mitzvah, and our temple, Temple Beth Hillel, had a program, Kesher, to help children with special needs.
Zera Cafe.A nonprofit group. Developed by Eve Rocma. The group employs volunteers and people with disabilities. who is cooking vegetarian meals for elderly people? The disabled workers Are payed a salaty.
Monthly religious services
Our synagogue, Beth Sholom in Elkins Park, PA installed an elevator to increase access to our sanctuary.  This was no small task, as the building (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) presented many challenges.
My synagogue opened its preschool to special needs children.  The preschool is like an open psychiatric ward.  Children are stimming and screaming, biting, flinging items about and cursing.  They use food for everything except eating.  They are not potty trained and they are not GOING to be potty trained.  This environment is not suitable for a typically developing child.
Tutors and aides for people with mental disabilities in schooling and office work.
JFS Houston has an office assistant with a visible disability
Jewish camps are making solid efforts on inclusion. RespectAbility is helping. Key leaders like Howard Blass, Matan Koch, Aaron Kaufman and others are doing a great job

Q26. At RespectAbility, we are working to expand inclusion and opportunities for people with disabilities. Do you have any advice for us that would help us to be more successful?

Targeting the rabbis and heads of day schools. Change in the synagogues and schools needs to come from leaders of these institutions.
Market yourselves. I’ve never heard of the organization
The chairs in Olan Sanctuary are very low and people with disabilities have trouble sitting and standing.
Improve your social media presence
Maybe you already do this – to seek out especially the elderly who are homebound because of logistics. undoable staircases, no elevator, no transportation and the like.
Education to the community of ways to make all feel comfortable is a key before any program.  Then, appreciating that finding the path to accomplishing inclusion becomes simpler and then a no-brainer.  It just is what we do.  It’s a process.  But, the process works.
You were one of the few organizations that I am aware of that links disability and faith based communities. I watch for you on social media and an emails but I have not had the time to devote in recent years to expanding my knowledge of your organization
The problem is not so much inclusion and opportunity. people know it is the right thing to do. It is a lack of training, judgmental behavior, an unwillingness to think outside the box, etc. What is needed is training for the staff. While clergy tend to be warm and understanding, it is the day to day encounters with staff, gift shop workers and especially religious school teachers that made my child hate going to synagogue.
Continue advocacy to those who don’t easily get the information you produce
let people know what and how you doing .
Please carefully evaluate the use of the term Inclusion and the next step of Belonging, as a true outcome.  See the work of Dr. Erik Carter and others. Be sure to include people with intensive support needs, often the group excluded as “too disabled”.
More awareness about group bullying, social savagery.
Helpful to have typical people believe / understand why including people with disabilities is beneficial.  Not just in general or for those with disabilities, but for typical people (adults, kids, students etc.). That’s the best way to get them invested and support inclusion for people with disabilities.  Also, need leaders to know to set the example and coach / teach others (kids, adults, students etc.)
Have more social media presence and posts
We need to re-examine the ADA guidelines. There should also be some way to oversee these guidelines and be sure they are followed. No religious institution should be exempt. Maybe give incentives to organizations who employ and have er sons with disability’s on their leadership teams.
To reach out to all faiths , and to support them in what they need without attaching reqerments  of who they have to choose ( many religions have a hard time with sexual orientation). Wether we agree with them or not. one should try to support in what they are willing to accept
Using identity first language
Would like to find out more about RespectAbility, this is the first I’ve heard of it.
We must make it clear to boards and committees in synagogues what we can do to provide accessible routes throughout the synagogue, especially the bimah.
I think a lot of people know about intersectionality but only see that as different identities, but ignore disability as an identity that people hold.
Be VERY client focused – what do those with various short comings need and desire. Strategies and Tactics Should be set accordingly.
More outreach to the disabled community. Too few know you’re here. Expand your work into other cities with interested Rabbis and other Jews.
Ask temples and churches to partner with you and include your logo in their printed and digital presence.  For example, we include the logos of JQInternational, the InterFailth Family alliance of Los Angeles, and a logo clarifying that we are a GLBT safe zone.
As an autistic person, I would like to learn more about opportunities for autists and about best pratices on how inclusion of autists can successfully be achieved.
grants, even small ones, make a huge difference to small organizations which are stretched very thin, esp since covid. It would ensure the projects/training gets DONE.
There is a distinct difference between the physically disabled and the cognitively disabled. Great strides have been made for expanding inclusion for the  physically disabled. The same must be done for the cognitively disabled, and the SEEMINGLY cognitively disabled (e.g. people who stutter); a great stigma remains.
produce and publish position papers, with broad distribution (rather than waiting for those who need it to come looking – because they won’t.
Include specific calls-to-action in RespectAbility emails for allies of those with disabilities to include them in religious activities.
include MENTAL health!
Empowerment over anything else!
You are doing an amazing job!!
Raise the visibility of the “wins” you have had; share with organizations some of the steps that they can take.
Just get it on the radar.   SHAME people if you have to.
More face-t-face seminars and contact when the time is safe (COVID)
I am glad to hear you are disability-led!
Continuing to work with larger institutions that’ll impact all ages in disability inclusion work.
Microgrants, I don’t know if I have ever seen this from Respectability to apply for and to open this to Canada as well to foster new synergies/partnerships. In a virtual world, we can do new things that span borders.
Help more leaders and groups know who you are.
I find it so important to work WITH organizations who want to make change.  There are a lot of movements which frame the issues as two-sided, binary, “good” versus “bad.”  This framing can lead to this important work being politicized and can make it more likely for organizational leaders to posture defensively.  We will be more likely to accomplish our goal by working with our institutions, allowing them to share their obstacles to inclusion, and helping them break the obstacles down.
More people with disabilities on staff
Ensure that online surveys like this are as accessible as possible. This one would not meet the requirements of WCAG 2.1. For example, the contrasts between text and background colors in the buttons are difficult to read even if one does not have a visual disability. I have trouble using a mouse, so try to interact with the survey via keyboard, but was unable to access the radio buttons.
Doing a great job
If you do not include people with chronic neurological disorders, it is time.
both broader and targeted marketing
I’ve sung the praises of ResoectAbiliity to many and find they often have not heard of your organization. How can I help get the word out?
Gather leaders and atakeholders in sifferent institutions if you haven’t already done so.
Be more visible! Because I am in the disability community, I knew about you early on, and I read the excellent cover story the Jewish Journal featured. However, I have neither seen nor heard much about what you are actually doing in the Los Angeles community, nor how people can get involved in your activities. I have no idea which synagogues you’re involved with, whether your are working with the Jewish day schools to be much more inclusive, what kind of advocacy work you’re doing here, in Sacramento, or in DC. You need a strong PR person to get the word out, build coalitions and work with the organizations that are already on the ground! There’s still so much work that needs to be done to build greater understanding and opportunities, especially in the areas of employment and affordable housing for adults with disabilities!
No idea since I’ve never heard of them.
Scholarships for capital improvements at institutions.  Our synagogue needs an elevator.
Collaborate more with other disability focused groups
Training for clergy, especially Chabad clergy. They have little to no pastoral education and are a real stumbling block because, in my experience, they don’t know what they don’t know and they don’t care that they don’t know
Expand outreach and information about range of disabilities and how individuals and communities can increase understanding and help/collaborate.
In Jewish communities, education is a major issue for inclusion.  When children are excluded from Jewish education, they aren’t in the social circles or getting the background of their age-peers.  This is the number one issue facing Judaism today… Because these kids often end up either hating school or in non-Jewish schools.
Most organizations do not seem to know much about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)/Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). While all individuals with FAS have brain damage, some have more than others (i.e., they are on different parts of the spectrum), and their abilities vary.  If this disability is not being included, please learn about it and help educate the public about it, and include these individuals in appropriate initiatives.
Too often inclusion activities make a big deal that they are including some group, instead of just treating it as a normal event. While this may help generate attention to the issue, ultimately it fails as it is seen as a onetime enemy. There needs to be longer sustained inclusion so it becomes the norm.
Just some feedback on the survey, which is largely very well done: There were a few questions where I was supposed to answer about whether my faith-based organization practiced “inclusion” in whatever context. But there are innumerable subtle ways and degrees in determining whether inclusion takes place. Most saliently in my mind, official or verbal policy and encouragement, laudable as it is, is a far cry from systemic change and proactive accommodation based on a deeper understanding of needs. This is especially true of mental disabilities, which are often flip-sides to strengths borne of neurodiversity.
Positive attitude. Support, such as a buddy system. Knowing the child a little beforehand and talking with the family to see their need.
Think out of the box
More engagement with the Orthodox community
Younger population is now experiencing more services and inclusion, but adults are still left behind.. many feeling isolated and lonely
Educate clergy and lay leaders how to best address needs
No sorry
Ask people with disabilities their opinions
Sounds great.

Publicize your successes!

Success leads to more success!

Maybe publicize the successful programs in the Modern Orthodox community in Los Angeles.
Provide more awareness and funds
Destigmatize disability
I would need to first learn about the organization, before responding to the question
Keep up your great work!
The majority of people I speak to do not know who you are. You guys need to do a better job getting your name out there
Keep going!
Help regular schools to include…
Don’t lump everyone together.
People are more likely to want to include those with disabilities when they know someone with a disability. Making sure to include mental health.
I would love to see the organization become more public/better known. I have a chronic health condition and have not heard of the organization before today.
Consider including older adults with cognitive decline in your parameters
The orthodox jewish community says one thing and does another. No jewish day schools I know of cater to any child with disabikities even if they say they do. In fact the Hilarkham Hillel school is not even ada compliant based on a “grandfather” policy. If a major schook does not stand for the right thing and is not educating children the right way how can anyone else.
Jewish Day schools need a lot of work to improve inclusion and educational opportunities for disabled students. It’s sad that many parents forfeit a jewish education for their children because the schools aren’t equipped to provide equal opportunities for them.
find ways that people with disabilities can be of service to others. it builds their self worth and actually fills needs of others.
A lot of people want to do the right thing. But they don’t have the language or don’t know how to begin. So they don’t do anything. A cheat sheet or something that provides people first steps in an easily digestible format would be great to distribute widely, in public libraries and such.
Invisible disabilities like food allergies are important to recognize
introduce yourselves to the faith based institutions.
I would love your help identifying grants to help us launch disability and inclusion work in our community
Please hurry.
Suggest a greater focus and effort on addressing misinformation, misperceptions, stigma.
Teen advocacy opportunities

Advocacy training for communities

Remind people that if they are lucky, they will live long enough to become disabled.
Work with Tofer Breuer for signing.
Please see my comments in an earlier spot in this survey
Reach out to synagogue inclusion committees and let us know which topics/issues are the focus of which speakers listed on your website. (Or post this info online.)
Please help cultivate companies that are willing to hire people with disabilities and provide the support they need to be successful.
Sorry, not really.
I was not aware of the organization, yet I have been involved with other platforms that address disabilities.  Spreading the word is the key to more inclusiveness
Partner with local school systems to support field internships for students as well as college counseling for students with disabilities
Not all disabilities are visible
People was be informed and trained
Promote more socialization
support for families navigating public systems (for example, education), working with Jewish day schools to accommodate for diverse needs, offering grants for Jewish institutions to expand learning on disability inclusion
focus on the disabilities that you can’t see in the same way that you focus on the disabilities that you can see
Start inclusion programs at a young age so our children grow up comfortable with various challenges/differences.
more publicity
be open to working with anyone with a disability no matter how severe
In my experience, there is often programming and opportunities for individuals who are on the more severe end of the scale, individuals who fall in the moderate category, are not able to find a place for themselves as they are too independent ( not sure this is the correct term… forgive me!)to qualify for certain programming, yet not independent ( again, the correct term is not coming to mind)enough to integrate into regular/ typical programming . This is my experience in Toronto.
Act with heart and mind
I’m not sure what y’all are doing regularly so I don’t know what advice to give. Centering the target community in org leadership is my biggest thing and you say you’re already doing that. Yay!
Teach people how to be helpful and kind without being patronizing.
I think fighting stigmas are critical and doing it within the context of faith seems like a good place to raise awareness.
Make sure you respect the values of faith based organizations.
Marketing and outreach activities so people know about you
keep doing what you are doing, get the message out there and have programs, meetings, training sessions, in person and on Zoom
My experience is that children and teens with disabilities are lonely and have very few friends. And institutional events don’t solve that challenge. Institutional inclusion is very important, but finding ways to establish friendships is very important and often overlooked.
You’re doing great.
Extend your reach

Look beyond the ‘usual suspects’

The Disability Community consists of so many different voices with different needs.  You can’t be everything to everyone.

I would suggest that you contact Rabbi Paul Kipnes at Congregation Or Ami in LA… his leadership has made his congregation a real leader…
More marketing on social media and through synagogues as I hadn’t heard of your organization before this. Perhaps develop a high school program to bring to Temples for their high school students.Create a special Shabbat service your members could bring to various temples to introduce the members to your organization and share your mission. Contact local public high schools and middle schools and work with their special education personnel and provide those students with info on how to connect with your organization-let them know they’re not alone, provide job counseling to college graduates with disabilities.
Bring attention to unseen disabilities. I feel like mental health challenges is a very closely related issue. Congregations aren’t particularly good at welcoming new people period, even less so for people with more or less obvious differences.
I think there is a need for programming/resources for young adults.
To be quite honest. RespectAbility appears to have no presence whatsoever in either of the two synagogues which I am very involved in.  They are both of different denominations and both are the largest synagogue in their denomination.  I find it very odd indeed that there is no presence of RespectAbility here at all.  JAMI yes but not RespectAbility
Contact and be included as a part of other civic, social, and religious organizations.
Include more groups involved – I had not heard of the organization before but I think it sounds like good work
Make sure you continue to bring on strong disabled people who can publicly speak to break stigma and do much lobbying. There needs to be more strong voices for advocacy.
Include all disabilities, not just the major ones. I ‘look’ not disabled but my injury is real. Work on not having a hierarchy of disability and include the full range of sensory, mobility, intellectual, etc., etc. disabilities.
Thanks for the question but I really can’t address the issue intellegently since I am not familiar with the organization
Avoid excessive celebrity worship
more web pages. I had heard of Respectability from time to time. But didn’t know whT THEY DO.
Consider re-thinking the language and help people understand that everyone has, cares for, knows someone or with time will have a disability as defined by the ADA….
More education about invisible disabilities.
People with disabilities are extremely diverse in terms of their capabilities and needs.  Some can barely move or speak and have significant cognitive limitations. Others have difficult behaviors.  Others look “fine” but have disabilities that are hard to see. Inclusion means very different things to different people.
You need widespread advertising
Have a list of low cost options.
sensitivity & trauma training for partner organizations such as Jewish Family Service of Houston
Engage with existing organizations with disabilities.  This is the first I have even heard of your organization.
Reach out to local religious groups with a survey
Inclusion is not a one size fits all.  Sometimes people with disabilities are more comfortable with people with their same interests and likes.  That does not mean they cannot be fully included, but in some instances it is not comfortable for the individual.  We need to be more open minded about what inclusion truly means.
I’d like to learn more about your organisation
Provide more ASL interpreters and close captions to anyone who needs for easier access.
Read the book, “No Pity”, by Joseph Shapiro if you haven’t already. Show “Crip Camp” fat and wide. Don’t use “able bodied “ people as some kind of standard. Help organizations have access to Braille materials, hearing assistance devices, etc. Maybe talk about the disenfranchised rather than the “disabled”.
Do you encourage faith organizations to use Braille in as many places as possible?
People with disabilities need more self esstem to get more involved in the community. So, take care of them psychologically as well.
Always ask those with disabilities how a problem should be solved

Administrators are not always aware of problem solving

Braille Torah’s for a community to share
I think we should target foundations that could help sponsor accessibility in faith organizations.
case studies of what’s doable without breaking a bank and incorporating what’s already being done. Changing of attitude is what’s needed.
Getting the word out is key.  More people need to know about you!
Non-profit work often ends up being a place where staff work 50-80 hours a week because they believe in the mission and are expected to put in extra hours. This can be quite tricky for those of us with disabilities. I don’t know how you might solve that, but the assumption that non-profit employees work 7 days a week may be a good thing to dismantle.
I’m so happy to learn that you exist! Do you have written policy statements on what steps shuls should take to become more disability-inclusive? I feel like each shul is making things up as they go along, and it would be so helpful to have a central written policy on inclusivity that shuls could commit to.
More outreach to synagogues to make inclusion a priority
Connect more broadly with young adults about inclusion efforts and opportunities for fellowships.
The people I engaged with at Respectability could use sensitivity training to better understand Orthodox Judaism. Like people of every other religion, sect and ability group, Orthodox Jews deserve the same acceptance and sensitivity.
Understand and teach how ableism is linked to racism/white supremacy, capitalism, colonialism/empire, patriarchy/gender based violence, etc.
Tell us more about the group.
Help more people know about you.
Getting more leadership of faith-based institutions to make public declarations of their commitment to disability inclusion, and share at least one practical goal of what this means for them (ie representation on board, changing physical structure to accommodate, etc).
Have your events that are virtual listed in the local Jewish agency that disseminates info about special needs.  I watched the JDAIM event that took place in NJ (I think), very impressive panel.  Enjoyed it very much.
I am totally unfamiliar with RespectAbility.  There has been no mention of it within my local Jewish community.
Perhaps expand the focus from entertainment and religion to a larger, more broad audience.  Parenthood, Education, etc
Collaborate and network with other disability-related organizations.
more focus on improving people with disabilities’ self esteem
Become better known.
Mental health should be included
I liked that you popped up when I went online to view the Jewish Journal.  Otherwise, I’d never have known about your organization.
More opportunities for employment are vital
Please take Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) seriously as a disability. People with MCS are often excluded even from disability rights events because people hold meetings in toxic spaces with perfume, toxic cleaning products, mold, new paint, etc., and because other participants insist on wearing fragrances. Fragrance-free policies need to be created, and enforced!
Undertake national campaign to heighten awareness of the organization and its work, in order to broaden supporter (and donor) base.
Not at this moment
efforts/opportunities via fellowships and other roles for those with more significant disabilities, most especially for those having intellectual developmental disabilities
All disabilities are not visually seen it’s important to include those who have an invisible disabilities and to be more aware of there needs. Thank you!
Finding partnerships with multiple organizations and practitioners.
Marketing as I have never heard of this organization
Partner with other organizations
Yes.  You ***MUST*** distinguish between those with physical disabilities who possess normal IQ etc., and those who are physically normal but have neurological differences (i.e., the IDD community).  The needs of these 2 communities of the disabled are totally different.  Rarely is that address when talking about “inclusion, etc.” and this survey also fails to understand that disctinction.
Make sure that the clergy understands how any important inclusion is for individuals with any disability is regardless of age
Surveys like this one, and public announcements of what the organization is/will be doing would be helpful.
I have been active in the disability community for nearly 12  years and know nothing about your organization.  My advice:  make your organization known via media, personal visits, advertisements, speakers, etc.  Our Congregation would welcome a speaker from RespectAbility.  Contact me at: [redacted]
Not at this time
Provide informative education for this cause.
Get out the word
Ask the people with disabilities to provide more information for you to be successful.
Being able to work with people in the lower density population areas would be such a help. I think that’s where a lot of people get fallen through the cracks because of the lack of understanding of their needs at a local level. Once you get out of the larger cities, I know there is a lack of understanding about people with disabilities.
Ask everyone for their perspective and to help create solutions vs complaining about what’s not right.
Support the cause but don’t know enough about the org to offer suggestions.
Many people with disabilities could be accommodated by having a copy of the outline of the service
Get more speaking engagements and other opportunities for people with disabilities
I don’t know
Listen to what the people with the disability wants
No, I think Respectability is doing a great job at what they are doing!
people need more education about certain disabilities- for example Down Syndrome- some people dont even know what that is
Your board and staff do not represent the diversity you claim to center and are trying to do too much
Be open to all kinds of disabilities including “less severe” ones such as learning disabilities or ADHD in children and youth.
My experience in the Jewish community is that if something affects people personally or their families personally they will make changes such as online services or using hand sanitizer at potlucks but if it doesn’t affect people personally they could care less. So the jump that needs to be made is doing it because it is right not only if it affects you personally. And people talk a good game but then don’t do anything so I have witnessed some truly terrible things happening at my shule including somebody crawling on the ground in pain and nobody even stopping music to help the person
I am very involved in synagogues both in the Liberal and Reform movements – Until this survey I had never heard of RespectAbility and I wonder why?
I would like to suggest that the ed. has to start from the Primary classes, sometimes I see a parent very unfavorable and his child is actually much more open…a  matter fo generations and old style stigma!
I’m not always able to access your mass emails(a technical support fellow would be greatly appreciated).
 Create diverse programs via different Jewish organizations
Just because you can’t see the disability, do not presume or assume it does not exist.
more publicity
I would be interested in discussing this with you in greater depth. My information: [redacted]
Not now
I’m thinking how important employment, even if unpaid, is to people with disabilities. I’d love for faith organizations to incorporate people with disabilities in the daily running of their institutions and affiliated businesses
Short clever videos about disability etiquette
Make sure inclusion is normalized so that disabled people dont have to request accomodation
Continue to get the word out.
Hold orientation events that showcase your contribution.
I would like you to mail me by US mail any information about your institution so that I can present them to the administrators at my synagogue.

Please mail to: [redacted]

Better recognition of Respectibility
early education
If you attempt to include those who claim to be a different Gender than described by HaShem himself in Bershit, or seek to include those who HaShem himself called an Abomination – then YOU are not a Jew… and HaShem himself said you are not a Jew.

I pray you are only talking about ADAM… and not the modern version of leftwing extremism that pervades the world today…

I am very happy that there are availabilities for disabled individuals!!
Need more help tackling hearing/auditory and acoustic challenges in our sanctuary
Let a representative of the advocacy group know whats. Happening so we can advice members
Continuing to reach out and help educate non-disabled people about how everyone can be included, and people with disabilities can and should be an integral part of every activity in all communities and organizations.
no idea what it is
Make sure to include deaf hard of hearing and blind in your work –  all severely underserved
Always include those with disabilities in the decision making process and reach out often and consistently
Bring in teenage volunteers it educstes as it aetves
Become actively involved with community institutions and projects
My biggest problem is physical accessibility. Once that problem is solved, other issues can be prioritized.
Continuing your amazing work and outreach is amazing and extraordinary so this issue is addressed and  remains at the forefront of our Jewish organizations and community.
None that I can think of.
Sounds like a wonderful and necessary organization. I hadn’t heard of it and I tend to follow things like this so I suspect that more publicity about the org and outreach may be indicated. Of course I could have simply missed any reference to the org but in either event more publicity in whatever form is indicated. Maybe run seminars, eg, at houses of worship to get the word out there, advertise in in print and online mags that are popular with certain religious groups, become better known within social service orgs who make referrals  to houses of worship
Keep up the good work you do.
Keep doing what you’re doing! Great effort!
Include a focus on needs of the elderly “newly disabled” in conversations.
Reach out to Jewish professionals working in rehab departments in local hospitals (my husband and my daughter are both such people)
Come to our community
Recognize that the community is not a monolith. For example the needs of a physically disabled person are very different from an intellectually and developmentally disabled individual.
If engaging with the Jewish Community I would urge you to connect to more than just Federations and synagogues. There is a vast, vibrant, and engaged Jewish community out there with the desire to work to Repair the World, including as it relates to inclusion and opportunities to people living with disabilities.
I am wondering if an informal home shabbat (rotating houses) could be started.  There could be members with disabilities and allies and friends.  The key is it would be informal and people can walk around the whole time if they want.  I would volunteer to help 🙂
I know you’ve worked with leaders in entertainment to include more people with disabilities which is good. Please let us know more about your efforts for inclusion of people with disabilities in faith-based communities. Also, poverty limits the options for adults with disabilities. Respectability could work on this issue too.
Better treatment internally of those volunteering and working for RespectAbility itself.
Perhaps banners for backs of wheel chairs, walkers, or back packs.
Getting the name out there and maybe encouraging older teen with disabilities involvement
I don’t know enough about your work to comment.
People with some mental health issues need a lot more in the way of resources before inclusion is really possible.
wow–that’s a tough one. Listen to people!  Ask them what they  need.
Brochure with information on the table in the foyer.
Rabbis (and clergy in non-Jewish institutions), governing bodies, sisterhoods, gabbis and congregations in general, including and especially children should be contact points.  All Jewish institutions such as Yeshivah University, American Sephardi Federation, etc.
Captioning videos is huge.
Define the group with the disabilities so the adjustments made can be reflective of the group.
Get the word out through nonreligious and religious media, including posters, community meetings.
Work on the balance between helping a disabled person and hurting everyone else. A man in our shul has been bringing his intellectually challenged 14 year old to services. He was asked ( by a congregant) to not bring her as she was disrupting the service. She has the behavior of a 5 year old and does talk etc sometimes.
I think since I have trouble processing information quickly, because I have a learning disability,a conversation with someone would be great (Depending on the day and what the event is).
Read William David Roth’s books and article on the subject
Such useful resources but sometimes headache making to navigate since they are SO plentiful. Not sure I have a good solution
I appreciate that you are doing this survey because asking your target audience what they want and need is what most Jewish organizations neglect to do. I would be happy to be part of a focus group, especially with my daughter to brainstorm ideas and talk about what’s still missing or what could be better.
work on more PR and brand recognition
Emphasize what individuals can do, rather than what they cannot do.
It’s important to not dismiss people’s views or personal perspectives on things and instead provide a platform. I see a lot of people dismiss or just smile and nod when disabled people try to share their perspectives.
I have never heard of this organization. Is it American? (I’m in Canada.)
The exclusion mentality is pervasive in all parts of our society. Housing is not built to demand universal design. Medicare only funds medically necessary not services so I can fully participate. I am put like unwanted furniture  by the kitchen in restaurants, never a choice in theaters. Rental cars were not included in ADA requirement. As uber and Lyft replace taxis availability, they have no vans for wheelchairs, they claim they are a software company. My over 55 community said if has NO responsibility for access. My ADA rights die at the gate. They are covered by Fair Housing and access is not required. I am a Polio survivor and it has never been easy or fair. I left my Christian upbringing as the Baptist kept saying I was crippled because I sinned against God. They would not consider I contracted a virus before there was a vaccine to protect me. I sincerely believe America would be happy if we simply died or moved someplace out of site. From childhood parents need stop slapping their children when they stare at me and ask questions. I cannot enjoy activities until I am safe in Activities of Daily living. Companies need for unbridled profit often means as a minority group my needs means nothing. I have lived in Australia, Great Britain and The Netherlands showed me USA is not great. [redacted]
Communicate more widely
Please don’t exclude the chronic illness community – especially invisible illnesses. Most people have a very limited understanding of disability. “You’re a professor and you don’t look sick; you’re not disabled.” I have four major disabilities. Seven total.
More extensive marketing through synagogues, Jewish communal service organizations, Federations, and Jewish and general media.  (Yes, I realize it’s expensive.)
more support about ADHD and how it affects adult life- a lot of my students are just now getting diagnosed and struggling with it
Yes… keep reaching out and asking questions.
People need to understand that a disabled person is not always in a wheel chair, many disabilities are un seen!
Does RespectAbility have legal assistance for those who have been discriminated against because of their disabilities, please? My email address is [redacted]
Help more people with disabilities
Talk with college students
Reach out to New York City’s Museum Access Consortium and individual museums to increase visibility and partnership.
It might be helpful to include a statement on all literature that gets sent out that states all abilities and disabilities are encouraged to participate and accommodations will be made Whenever needed
I would like to see more of a promotion of the idea that people with disabilities have a lot to offer BECAUSE of their lived experiences of disability not despite them. I would like for non-disabled people to know that they need people with disabilities – without people with disabilites our learning, justice, community, worship is incomplete.
watch for cognitive disabilities.  they often get left out or scoffed at.
While I am not sure this is “advice”, I have noticed that sometimes folks have little education on both disability on a whole, but also invisible disabilities and how to better accommodate those.
Given that I am not familiar with the organization, I can’t answer this question.
The term “disability” is far too broad and lumps together people with too many disparate issues.  People with physical disabilities face different challenges than people with intellectual disabilities or people with learning issues (such as dyslexia or ADHD).  It is time to stop thinking that all of these groups have common needs and/or challenges.
Engage those that understand the limitations in organizations.
More outreach.
RespectAbility is doing very important and meaningful work. I think they are an important organization in our community and truly walk the walk. They have folks with disabilities integrated into their leadership and educational programs and work to make great change. We have had disappointments in trying to partner and work together with RespectAbility as a non profit. We have been told they want to help with advocacy but every time we have reached out to ask for assistance with developing curriculum or receiving training for our staff and clients we do not get any response. Also when using the Speaker’s Bureau we have gotten different and confusing messages about how payment works, and who has what role in working with the speaker. I would like to see RespectAbility work to partner more with the nonprofits who work day to day with people with disabiltiies to hear more about peoples’ struggles and how we can work together to make change. I would also like to see how we can include more people with ID/DD into roles to work for change.
Make yourselves better known. I never heard of you.
Sorry, no
seek the advice of those who are most affected
Get the word out more widely. Also train Jewish leaders on What RespectAbility can do for various of their faith based organizations. Tout successes. Identify areas needing support, help and education and do your best to either provide those or aid the organization in finding such assistance.
Include parents/guardians in helping them accept inclusion.
I am responding from Toronto Canada and clearly you are an American based organization. Seems like you addressing the appropriate issues.
Advertise and directly engage with faith organizations in a more obvious or public manner. This is the first time I’ve heard of your organization.
Prioritize inclusion while also fully supporting and validating other choices in education, should parents/students wish. Congregated special ed classes can be highly effective learning options and safe spaces esp for certain special needs and at certain time windows, producing multiple social and emotional benefits and accelerated learning results. The two are NOT mutually exclusive.
Bring materials and assistance into Shuls and communities
I suggest you market to synagogue caring community/mental health initiative groups
I admire your work.
Keep doing what you’re doing.
Do you all provide grant funding for local organizations? I suspect that not having enough funding is an excuse for not including people with disabilities, and if that excuse were eliminated, we could get to the root causes more directly.
listen carefully to disabled who speak out
FUNDING is the biggest reasons areas are no inclusive
Keep at it…
make more people aware of the problem of inclusion.

many may not be aware.

People with disabilities perhaps may prefer a more terse, simplified questionnaires in future surveys administrated like this.
You could advertise your website to various congregations.
I’m in Canada and it appears this survey is for the United States.  But, overall, my opinion is that transportation is a huge problem preventing many from participating.
Should interact with local disability services offices of local governments.
Pairing young children with other children with disabilities from a young age in pre-school and onward in school.
None of your materials (including this survey) appear to mention mental health challenges that qualify as disabilities.  The stigma on mental health disabilities is far greater than the stigma on physical disabilities, so your group should address that discrepency.
Educate people who have not seen or lived with disability up close; teach how to include people with disabilities; model inclusion of people with disabilities
would it do any good to asked ?  I have asked from those that I have served, only to be laughed at.
Consider that “disability” covers such a wide spectrum of situations that it almost seems that each situation may require its own solution.
You might figure out a more effective campaign among those with disabilities to increase membership.  You might also support my own efforts to reconstitute the NY Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  I’m campaigning quietly to become one of the Commissioners.
Keep up the good work…it is greatly needed!!!
be better known, I’ve never heard of you.
recognition that mental health issues can constitute disability
Provide list of dependable vendors for items such as hand rails.
Greater exposure & involvement with the “religious” part of the Jewish Community
I am not even sure you serve the Boston area. If so advertise in the Jewish Press and online.
Teach rabbinical students kindness and respect. Somehow the training has to get in deeper so they come out truly models for communities to learn from. See Rabbi Joshua Lesser, Rabbi Emeritus, Bet Haverim, Atlanta.
“Nothing about us without us.” Make sure the disabled are listened to.
Look at and teach people about the ways that disabilities overlaps with other areas of diversity including interfaith, LGBTQIA, PoC, JoC, socioeconomic status, and age.
it sounds like you are really topnotch!
The area of disability inclusion that is most important to me and my family pertains to food. We have many food allergies and sensitivities, so events with food are always tricky and potentially dangerous. Keeping snacks in the original packages enables us to read labels. Catered food should have all ingredients listed. We appreciate when parents are mindful to wipe their kids’ hands to avoid exposing our kids to allergens via shared toys. Food allergies don’t often come to mind when one thinks of disability inclusion, but 1 in 10 people has a food allergy and food is regularly a part of religious and social events.
Expand outreach to all businesses, especially airlines to keep them informed of ADA requirements and regulations.
Go out of your way to talk and communicate that you sincerely want to help where you can.
More awareness of organization is needed
Include healthy lifestyle education
The Jewish education programs are so inept when it comes to handling kids with ADHD, sensory issues, anxiety issues, and language processing.
Am not an American cannot answer
Stick with disabilities.  Do not get involved in the swamp of intersectionality.
I think leaders at my temple, and probably many other places, need reminders, all the time–otherwise, they may just forget to constantly be on top of implementing accessibility tools.
Disability is a word with many meanings. Clarification would be helpful. Ie: long term, short term, physical, mental, emotional, those with service animals.
Thank you for being there! We appreciate organizations that work toward being part of the solution.
A way to inform executives/organizational leaders about disabilities people may have and how to be helpful and welcoming….
Have some literature available and visible at Synagogues and offer to possibly do a zoom presentation for a Synagogue so that disabled people can also participate.
Include faith based leaders at family court appearances
Consult with synagogues on physical accomodations
Contact organizations with questionnaires to

ascertain how active their policies are re:offering

assistance to disabled members and what help they  expect from you.

Include more people with mental health disability
I was Director of Servces for Students with Disabilities for 15 years and retired just over two years ago. I would love to work with RespectAbility. [redacted]
Contact Accessibility Committees in Temples/Synagogues
Improve public awareness, popular media exposure
Identify small things that an institution can do to accommodate accessiblity.  One synagogue I visited installed a type of wallpaper that absorbed sound, to accommodate individuals that are overwhelmed by noise. This was expensive. This is too expensive for most institutions.
I think is Clergy, organization staff and Board members do more modeling of including the disabled, it might open people’s eyes.
Not all disabilities are visible. If someone asks for accommodation, that means they need it.
Yes – have the services transcribed so that we can read them – in English – or have a teleprompter type of device that can be seen even in the back of the room that translates the spoken word into English letters.
Include a definition of disability in your survey
take the lead from those with disabilities on how to make accommodations and how to be inclusive.
You need more publicity so people are aware of your goals
Trainings to staff, board members, students, parents, funders, etc are essential and should be mandatory.
Look for activities and actions in existing congregations, churches, mosques, etc. that have been successful in expanding opportunities for including differently abled persons.
Increase awareness substantially and work with other organizations doing the same and/or have similar goals
Nothing about us without us. Each member who is working on inclusion should either be disabled or is putting a lot of thought into understanding how every (themselves) person is disabled in some way. Accept that a person really knows their own disability and that each disability should be taken seriously. See where one’s own boundaries end in struggle to include all disabled folks. For instance ask yourself “What makes me uncomfortable?” “Am I in any way infantilizing a disabled person?” “Do I know best what is good care for a disabled person?” Have you (the organizers of this survey) considered how many disabled people are excluded from this survey due to inability to type answers? What about intellectual disabilities? If you tell yourselves “Well we can’t think of everyone and everything” then please think again.
continue championing success stories
Jobs and internships are the key for people with disabilities and that should be a Jewish value to promote
Try to get cross this message, briefly but urgently


Let yourself be know better!
Be honest with the expectations
Supply more information, maybe online.
Be sensitive to disabilities that are not obvious by looking at a person.
As one with Lupus (SLE), and thus restricted from venues with UV light, I’d love to see more inclusion of that topic. Most disability advocacy orgs don’t see such issues as pressing. But today’s lighting systems continue to be exclusionary. So do venues outside.

More intro to the value of service animals to increase discussion where possible.

Keep featuring info on celiac disease. The challah is emblematic of how we regard Shabbat, yet many can’t fully participate in key traditions of our holidays.

More discussion about the continual need to upgrade education on the topics related to disabilities/ability. It isn’t enough to “know” there is a disability. Faith-based leaders, managers and decision makers need to be inspired to learn what that means to the individual.

you need to promote your existence more
do not ignore older adults.  with age, most of us have some type of disability (cannot see so well, walk as far, stand for a long time, etc). it pays (literally) to cater to us and have activities that interest us.
YEs,  there are many invisible disabilities such as MS, or learning disabilities, or chronic pain or mental illness..  These cannot be seen so people are unaware when people are suffering with them..  Start upport groups for people with ‘invisible’disability.’
keep up the good work!
Even though the ada laws do not apply I think most community’s should know about them and still apply them
Call people and ask if they need a ride or help getting ready , or call to invite them.
Work with the UJA or CJP for their help.
First you need to get wider public recognition.  Opportunities will flow from that.
Focusing on the strengths of people who have special needs regardless of what those needs are is key. And.. having the patience , organization, money, and compassion to facilitate those strengths in the context of community is essential.
I think this is simply becoming much more of an issue than it used to be probably due to all the chemicals in our systems we are producing a far larger number of children with disabilities than every before. Now is the time to let people know you exist!
start inviting!
Solicit advice from the people that have the disabilities.
RespectAbility needs far greater promotion and should be coordinated with similar initiatives in other organizations.
Offer Person First and other training to all religious institutions.
it would be helpful to reach out to teens in Bar/Bat Mitzvah training who might be interested in partnering with RespectAbility for their mitzvah projects. Also do outreach with realtors to welcome new community members who have disabilities and assist them in navigating accessibility in their new Faith-based community
Well for starters I would like to know about this group.
No because the information is out there and people don’t access it.
more publicity
Sadly no.
Clergy should be open and willing to hear what others have to say.
Increase your visibility!
Keep on pressing. Stay in people’s organizations’ faces
Be open minded
We work hard at Temple of Israel to welcome everyone whether in person or online. Audacious Hospitality is a goal which we try to reach everyday.
Support Asperger people
Ask the members of the organzitation what they need in their specific community
A focus on mental illness for kids, for those directly impacted and their caregivers, is so important and a huge hole in the Jewish community. Not just mental health “lite,” i.e. let’s talk about self-care and preventing stress kind of work, but the actual struggles of self-harm, panic disorders, behavior disorders, severe depression, hospitalization, etc.
Keep up your good work.
start with a key area that is underserved. I would say in Jewish life it is the day schools that have resisted  such kids and do not invest in the support systems to engage them  and this has not changed much. families with these kids often LEAVE  jewish schools for public schools because of this
Encourage synagogues to be more inclusive and provide more opportunities for children, young adults and adults with disabilities. Not separate services but equal treatment in the Jewish Community
Not all disabilities are apparent and visible.
Do you participate with jfna and their yearly disability conference in Washington DC. We don’t need more organizations, we need more communication and collaborative work.
The are other groups, such as The Center for Independent Living working in the space
Please consider offering me a job! I am available to work remotely from my home in Greensboro, North Carolina.  I helped found “Spectrum at UNCG”, an organization for undergraduate and graduate students on the autism spectrum.  I have been a speaker at various ARC events in North Carolina. The discrimination is very real.  The fact that I am very well-educated, articulate and have a really great resume apparently counts for naught — once the autism diagnosis is disclosed.
Wish I knew more as a Canadian I am unaware. I do know that many Canadian faith based other have close ties with their American sister o rg
Encourage people to stop segregating based on medical status.
Send all info to synagogues etc,
Don’t know enough about the organization
Not at this time
Be more aggressive
connect with nonprofit organizations that advocate for people with disabilities
I have no advice to give presently.
Yes. Consider congregational nurses to educate people and serve as resources. Create mixed social opportunities say for Shabbat lunches. Create programming for high functioning teens and 20 somethings on the spectrum.
Marketing the organization to temple and organization leadership. Seminars to leadership showing programs that have worked well and how to overcome challenges of implentation.
Bring people to talk with kids in religious schools. Kids are the best to change the culture going forward.
increase outreach
Make public examples of successful approaches to integration, especially by lower resourced institutions.
I have never heard of the organization…don’t know what type of non-profit it is, how it is funded, how much of the funding actually goes to the organization and not into someone’s pockets (not that I am against anyone being paid for his/her work).
Do you manage or source funding for accessibility improvements to older, non-compliant facilities?
Strongly encourage every synagogue, JCC, etc to set up a standing Committee on disability inclusion
Jewish day schools need funding to be able to accommodate students with physical disabilities.
You might want to get a whole lot more public notice.
Share your mission, efforts and successes with the wider community, not just faith based orgs. This way, your message has the potential to encourage other agencies, communities and people to see the possibilities in this realm.
share with as many people as possible especially clergy who can help move It into the groups, orgs-   top down sometimes has its positives-
Programming in the San Francisco Bay Area , esp fir young adults
Marketing, let people in the congregation know of your existence.
Grass roots information, perhaps leading to congregants working in the organization.
Not at this time.
better outreach.  as a psychiatrist, I work with a great many persons with disabilities, but I have not heard of then
Maybe you could reach out to disability organizations — in my case, I wonder if I could have learned of you through the the National Multiple Sclerosis Society or Maine Partners Neurology.
er people
“People with Disabilities” includes many different kinds of disabilities and I think the overall Jewish community isn’t aware of the diversity within the disability community. I’m also thinking about intersectionality for those of us who are disabled AND queer, or people of color etc…
Treat everyone with dignity and respect.
Please speak to Amy Sheinberg in NYC.
Oppose the mandating of these VILE VIALS which cause most disabilities in the first place …#INJECTDISEASEEXPECTDISEASE
I would like to learn more.
Need to focus also on those really challenged with autism who may be brilliant underneath their symptoms.  I would be in touch with Ido Kedar and his mom, Tracy Kedar.  Ido is non-speaking autistic and has learned to communicate throught typing and consults with MDs, schools etc… and has written 2 books.  Ido in Autismland and In two worlds.   Respectability should work with organizations to support those with non-speaking autism to learn how to type to communicate as they often come up against the very experts who are supposed to support them.
Get a lot of input from people with disability
Help organization understand that Neuro diversity is part of being created Bzelem Elohim
Continue to teach people about the existence of your organization
Never heard of your organization. Advertise
Not sure. Need more info
Appearance can spur inclusion. A program like Glee which had an AB actor in a wheelchair is not a fair representation. We are such a visual and social media conscious society, the latter giving such distorted views as to what correct body image should be, that a more accurate representation would go a long way, I think, for understanding and inclusivity.
I have never heard of Respect Ability before this.
Invite persons with disabilities to plann8ng or brainstorming sessions.
Be advertised in Jewish Journal
I represent people with disabilities in obtaining disability benefits from Social Security. Many people with disabilities cannot work and rely on the social safety net for survival. Survival and access to appropriate healthcare take precedence over inclusion. Once the individual has secure housing, nutrition, and access to medical/psychological care, then inclusion should be vigorously addressed. Many disabled people are abandoned by family and community and not only become homeless, they loose any opportunity for recovery and become permanently impaired, unemployable, and hopeless.
More Outreach
Plan introductory programs for Synagogue total membership and board meetings.
Assume people mean well but don’t understand the issues well enough, or at all.
Keep up the activism on behalf of all people with disabilities – on behalf of all people. We all deserve to live in dignity and we must all work to assure that every person has this opportunity.
Money and people
More publicity
I do not support academic inclusion of ASD in mainstream classrooms.  Not only do the ASD children not improve, the neurotypical children can’t learn either. The whole classroom experience is devoted to the behavioral problems of that ASD child.  None of the “cures” for ASD, such as applied behavioral analysis, antipsychotic medications or psychotherapy actually make any difference in the ACTUAL behavior.  The “science” around ASD is entirely drowned out by the clamor of snake oil salesmen pedaling diets, training programs, and even magic copper bracelets.  Their prey are the parents of these children, who continually bray that their child is “neurodiverse.”
Invisible disability is dyslexia ptsd bullied by power men in good old boy places of money and power ,  we don’t bring that to the table.  Not important enough to be in competitive Achademic money making is Jewish life purpose being best ,

I was told no one will ever ask someone like you to be on any board.  Too poor.

Yes, Better PR. I have never heard of you till just now.
Find ways to increase inclusion in Jewish Day Schools.
Speak to private businesses and let them know what tasks a person with disabilities can do. People are afraid of those with severe disabilities and don’t want to work with people they fear
You are doing great!  We all have to keep working at fighting stigma.  Jennifer is amazing!
I think sometimes accessibility and accommodations can be biased towards the disabilities people are most commonly aware of, so making sure that people remember all types of accommodations for various people with disabilities.
Including individuals with this new diagnosis I just received which is called Functional Neurological Disorder (FND).
Keep up the great work!
keep doing what you are doing.

Q27. Please share any additional information about inclusion efforts in which you are involved that we should know more about.

Most members are a certain look, age weight and earning matrix.  Others that don’t conform to that are left out and more.  Who is to say how we would have all ended up if the “In Crowd” hadn’t been sooo important.
Whenever people are not comfortable going to synagogue for whatever reason, we find a way to continue to include them through shofar blowing on Rosh Hashana, zoom meeting or finding ways to bring them in even if we have to go to them.  The pandemic has been challenging, but, we have found a way to include them and their families.  We have one family with a severly autistim young adult at home – the families need support along with those with disabilities.  That too is something we collectively do as a community.
Immediately prior to the pandemic, they served on a committee through Jewish Columbus (as a parent of a special needs child) and went to Israel with a group of Jewish educators from around the area with the intent on gaining knowledge and strategies used in our sister city in Israel to bring back locally to better serve our disability community. I also started working on a project with my synagogues education Director to develop a full multi age inclusion classroom for religious school. The irony has been I have been unable to continue participating do to the high level of caregiving needs that my child has and lack of staff availability. I’m hopeful to be able to continue to assist and serve in this capacity when I am able
More understanding .
Partners in Policymaking; Customized Employment; School to Adult Life Transition; THINK College; Supported Living; Meaningful Day; Supported Decision Making;
More awareness about sexual abuse/assault.
Keshet in Chicago has been an amazing org for my child, even though we are not inthe Chicago area.  My son participated and made friend last year (Covid) through their extensive Zoom recreation offerings.  And his experience attending Camp Chi with Keshet’s support was phenomenal.
I am involved with the Temple Sinai disability task force. We have made great strides for inclusion.
Have continually sought opportunities for my son, a gifted musician, to perform in different venues including some faith communities.
I am on the inclusion committee at our synagogue
I work full-time as a political advisor for the federal Green party in Germany. I advise specifically in disinformation monitoring and analysis as well as in disability rights and in education on antisemitism.
During COVID, we have been holding our weekly Minyan service online. I have been pressing our synagogue leadership to continue online Minyan even when we are once again face-to-face.
Jewish organizations have the chutzpah to blame their lack of inclusion and accessiblity on money – it’s embarrassing that they use their own worst stereotype.  It’s simply a lack of though, inclusion, and respect for PWD.
Thank you for your incredible work! Maybe RespectAbility could look to connect with the disability efforts in the arts & culture community as well. National Endowment for the Arts has some great programs, and groups such as Art Possible Ohio and VSA Arts and other groups included here:
The Jewish community is WAY behind in mental health and autism knowledge/acceptance.
The JEDI Council, which is being staffed by the Jewish Federations of North America. It is a group of Jewish orgs focused on inclusion (of LGBTQ folks, people with disability, Jews of Color and BIPOC, and people in interfaith families)
I sit on the braintrust committee of the federation of Los Angeles to work on inclusion
I am closely connected to organizations and fb/support groups that focus on the disease and mental health challenges my daughter has. My work supports me in supporting her (I work in the Jewish community) and I am upfront with folks about what we face in our family. However, caretaking still takes a big personal toll on me.
I’m a consultant, speaker, trainer and course creator, and member of the core leadership team of several faith and disability enterprises
We have trainings and DEI work for lay leaders, staff, and clergy.
Continue the virtual offerings please, I am based in Canada and next to impossible for me to benefit from Respectability’s work if in person only. There is intersection with inclusion and other orgs in the States frequently..
Hillel International has provided grants to local Hillel’s through the Ruderman Foundation that allow us to make our communities and opportunities more accessible to those with disabilities, which has been helpful.
I work with mostly seniors to give them religious fulfillment;therefore, all are included with wheelchairs, walkers, memory care, etc.
We created a 5 year plan for CBE with leaders, parents and intending to hring in other stakeholders
You’re already familiar with those I’m involved with: Jewish Federation, B’nai David-Judea, LA Special Needs Trust, Yachad and Friendship Circle.
Bikur Cholim of Greater Washington in collaboration with local silver spring synagogues and schools has run programs to increase awareness and understanding. A couple of years ago we ran one on autism, and are looking to offer more.  So I’d welcome hearing from your organization.
I wish there was a Jewish Auburn School or Sienna school.
I was heavily involved with organizing a synagogue sponsored discussion on diversity of “privilege”, that wound up largely focusing not only on financial barriers to inclusion but disability barriers as well (along with the agonizing and sometimes causal intersection of the two).
Not to be afraid. Having the support set up. Knowing it can be a work in progress. Success is trying. Make is small before going big. A small activity or short activity. Small successes bring more success.
Have been an advocate in IEP’S and IPP’s am currently working on housing for adults with special needs in providing apartments that also include social activities and access to transportation and community activities
Friendship Circle
Need help finding jobs and growth opportunities for special needs individuals.
I think the main thing about my synagogue is that the professional and lay leadership gets to know disabled people personally and regularly invites disabled adults to participate in religious learning, social action and other activities of all kinds. This carries over quite naturally into social inclusion for them as well.  It’s a value in our synagogue and so many seek to honor and participate in it.
Friendship circle
I would love to write or help someone write a children’s book specifically for the Jewish readership about limb differences.
Friendship circle
Publishing books on disabilities for Jewish kids with obviously Jewish characters. I have illustrated a kids book about non-verbal autism and looking to get wide distribution
Friendship Circle
I am involved in an AMAZING organization called Yachad.  It’s a Jewish non-profit organization that has weekly social events.  They were GREAT during Covid because the did A LOT of Zooms (when it was BAD Covid).  Now they’re doing less because more places are doing in-person events. They are doing events that try to get high school students involved in the activities.  I was also involved in a Jewish Federation (of Greater Los Angeles) program.  This was a Ruderman internship program, where I (and another young adult with a disability) helped to do various kinds of office work almost every day for a few hours a day.  There’s also this organization called ETTA Israel.  They frequently do events for Jewish special needs participants.  They do bowling, Shabbat retreats at various local synagogues, a summer camp (which has prayer services, arts and crafts, trips, singing and other activities; with high school volunteers serving as counselors) and sometimes random fun events during the year.  I don’t usually go to them because I some of them are too far away and some of them seem kinda babyish to me….  But some of my friends love it.  ETTA also has other programs, such as a job agency “wing.”  The people involved try to do what you expect, try to help disabled people find jobs.  They have to be ETTA clients first.
Bnai David has done an admirable job. The committee works hard to improve things and build on previous gains.
I-shine West Coast has been incredibly helpful for our family. Helping/creating a safe environment for  children of those with a disability is an amazing help/resource.
If anyone will do something its Rabbi Kanefsky at BDJ. And the orthodox will be in denial especially since they stigmatize bdj
Do more content analyses on how the general media and media intended for Jewish audiences deal with disabilities
Inclusive employment, inclusive congregations, mental health awareness
I am an ICF certified coach and I provide accessible coaching. Including to those people who communicate non verbally and/or those with complex needs. I am based in the UK but work via Zoom.
I am more preoccupied wirh the inclusion if women, Jews of color, and singles, but disability inclusion is indeed extremely important.
Tofer Breuer signs at Judaism Your Way’s services and programs. He is amazing!
There has recently been a growth of Modern Orthodox Jewish Facebook groups for social justice activism. Understanding and including people with disabilities is a frequent topic on such groups.
Finding employers who will hire those wtih disabilities based on skills and experience rather than stereotypes. (I am dealing with this since my daughter who has Down syndrome lost her long time preschool teacher’s aide job due to the pandemic.)
Just another challenge for you, but inclusion at the American Red Cross when persons with disabilities have to be relocated is an enormous challenge.
Virtual meetings have positively impacted outreach efforts to include those who would not normally attend an event or class in person and has helped those without disabilities to be more aware and sensitive to the various forms of disabilities and how to effectively connect.
I am very vocal with store owners and property managers in the community if the store or parking lot is not accessible or does not have enough or any van accessible handicapped spots. I have talked to my congressman’s office on ADA law so I have my facts.
President of Fairfax County Special Education PTA (FC-SEPTA)

Former Special Needs Coordinator at Congregation Beth Emeth — until the synagogue decided to eliminate the position as a cost cutting measure. Wow.

I’d like to see more talk of disability through a social justice/disabled pride lens. Many people with disabilities now *want* to be referred to as “a disabled person,” rather than PWD, because they want their disability front and center as a matter of pride.
Involved with LAUSD special education as an administrator
Dalllas had a special needs initiative At JFSwhich has been doing some programming. A day school now has a program for students who learn differently. The synagogues are doing more. I have been advocating for programming  for 30 years so it seems progress is slow. Often times people cite money as the limiting factor.
Yachad is also a valuable organization but many in the parent organization NCSY are not supportive.
I work at CESJDS and we are hoping that we will be able to launch a pilot inclusion program in our Lower School next fall in collaboration with Sulam.
inclusion in faith based organizations sometimes alienates people of the same faith; that is a growing issue.
I would like to be able to attend museums locally,  but have difficulty because I use a walker
I am active in autistic spaces online and I very recently started a YouTube channel that will include but not be limited to autistic topics. The channel is called Autistic Rebbetzen. I am also taking part in an Employee Engagement Group at work that is focused on disability.
I think elderly women who are single often are disregarded by the Jewish community, and face increasing isolation as physical tasks become more difficult.  Institutions need to have strategies in place to follow the Torah and actively seek to help, support, and engage the widow… Many elderly women slowly disappear.
The support groups that exist seem random or inconsistent. Why addiction, not mental health? Why cancer, not all life threatening illnesses?
Aliyah specialist at Congregation Beth Israel religious school for six years.
Our temple recently received a grant to bring DEI to our members- to rethink how we do things and who is a jew. To be welcoming to all.
Early in my career, I was active in ADA and similar legal issues relating to inclusion and access. I have been looking for ways to get back involved on a voluntary basis.
Please make sure that communities and movements know about RespectAbility and also the Freebies like Jewish News etc
I started the National Trauma Education and Policy Board as a way to bring local and National attention to all communities severely impacted by trauma. We have a disability committee that’s developing. We are looking to change policy locally and bring all local change National. This will be followed up by development of trainings to educational systems, government bodies and the justice system to improve awareness and support to traumatized individuals and communities.
There needs to be an ethos of continual improvement. There is always more to do. Lots of times, in justice movements, there is a lot of sexism. Sexism tends to get left out. it is a second-class oppression, as women are treated as second-class citizens. Work against this in language and in policy.
One aspect of worship that can be a barrier to specifically blind people is print prayer books. I forgot to put that my synagogue keeps a full set of the artscroll siddur (prayer book) in Braille onsite (technically it belongs to my father, for when he visits). Braille volumes are huge and this one prayer book is something like 10-12 big binders. It’s too much to bring with you to services.  This is something that any synagogue that has blind members or relatives of members should look into finding storage space for and obtaining.  (There is a slim volume that most synagogues received in the mail from Jewish Heritage for the Blind. It’s rather very abbreviated, and entirely in English rather than Hebrew. It’s literally impossible to use it to follow an Orthodox Jewish service which is entirely in Hebrew)
inclusive hiring practices
We have benefited from Yachad and Friendship Circle.  We have also helped fundraiser to create an accessible entrance in our shul.
I am working to train community-based and private practice therapists in disability and neurodiversity affirmative practices.
I sometimes work with CJE/JADE in Baltimore, they advocate for accessibility for Deaf Jews.
PHysical barriers need to be addressed and lack of understanding of the needs of people with disablitities
J-HAP is an organization that co-developed an affordable, independent living 45 unit apartment building for adults with developmental disabilities.  Where individuals come and go as they please, with no provider control or ownership.  These adults hire their own support for when and how they need it.  J-HAP provides person centered opportunities for social, recreations, spiritual and education opportunities for these tenants.  Many tenants have moved to this building from scattered site apartments because they felt more isolated in that setting.  Our building, Cornerstone Creek has been open for five years and there is a wait list of 200 people, which has been closed.   In addition, J-HAP provides  24/7 front desk liaison to provide an extra layer of safety and security for some of our most vulnerable.
We were recently given a Federation grant to work with Jewish orgs in Ottawa to support their inclusion efforts and provide training or support as they work to be more inclusive of those with disabilities
Anshe Emet in Chicago Sunday School partners with Keshet to help teachers with students and their needs, 1st floor spaces are fully accessible, partnering with different groups for the Feb Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion month. Goal is to partner with Men’s club, Sisterhood, Young adult with programs so it’s not separated, ideally for throughout the year, not just Feb.
I am the co-chair of the DEI Initiative for Jewish Family Service in Houston.
I think disability activism often centers whiteness. I’m learning all I can about intersectionality to ensure that my disability activism (I’m white) does not exclude or come at the expense of disabled (or abled) people with other marginalized identities. I would love to find another shul (like Netivot Shalom) that puts effort into antiracism and uplifting other marginalized communities because the way in which my Judaism informs my antiracist thoughts and actions is so important to me.
The Associated, Jewish Federation of Greater Baltimore has devoted resources for inclusion in the Jewish community including the work I and my colleagues at the Macks Center for Jewish Education do. I think that more effort, advocacy, and resources need to be devoted to making inclusion a higher priority for Jewish organizations, though. It’s an uphill battle to get organizations to engage with us in order to find out what is able to be done.
Proudly promoting sign language interpreters and captioning at Jewish communal events
None at this time.
Friendship Circle and Jewish Abilities Alliance (based at the Federation) are in Atlanta, and both the JCC and Jewish Family and Career Service support programming for individuals with different abilities.
Whenever I apply for jobs I always ask how many openly identifying disabled individuals they have working in the organization.

Usually they don’t know the answer.  Or they state that it is an infringement on rights for us to discuss this.

I disagree.  I am openly asking if my group (1 in 4 people is disabled.  We’re not exactly a minority.) are included in their mission.  I think it’s okay that I ask and open their eyes to the issue.

I coordinated the events for Jewish Disability Awareness Month for Temple Sinai in Oakland, California. I’ve written blogs for the URJ website.
we are our own biggest barrier to inclusion
I used the induction loop assistive listening system at the last JDAD held in the Rayburn building. It worked SO well, that it spurred me to take on serious advocacy for this technology – it made that much of a difference for me. It worked well, and it required no addition equipment – just the t-coil in my CI processor (hearing aids have t-coils as well) – and I didn’t have to ask anyone for anything – it was totally discreet – just like a ramp. So now I’m working on legislation in my state – NJ – to make this the technology of choice and also to get more places of public accommodation – meeting rooms and information counters – to install these systems.
My attempt so far is persuading more doctors and trying to persuade temples to do more virtual sessions for those, like myself, with mobility challenges.  Before my retirement, I was the sole hearing impaired employee in my workplace.  Although I was offered some “reasonable accommodations”, these weren’t satisfactory for me to do the demands of the job.  Today, over 30 years after the ADA was passed, we’re still in the Dark Ages in how employers, the medical/religious community, professionals and the public view the “disabled”.  People still make false assumptions about us and we’re still invisible in many  sectors of life.   We keep hearing about Black Lives Matter but how often do we hear about Inclusion Lives Matter?   How often do we see actual people with disabilities in the work world and in the media?  We have the availability of technology and smart minds to make accessibility easier, yet why are there still so many stumbling blocks to success?
It would be nice for a national disability advocacy program to help connect sponsors w local opportunities through networking with valid organizations with like-minded missions.
Not a this moment
Emanu El in Houston has made many improvements to physical plant to make worship more accessible.
Thank you for sponsoring  ReelAbilities. Speaking to future leaders at U. DELAWARE National Leadership Coalition for Developmental Disabilities on Person Centered Planing; and on Self-Employment for Maryland’s DDA Supporting Families webinar series.
interfaith individuals and families; seniors/elderly individuals with developmental and other disabilities; death, dying grieving processes for those having disabilities; sports/recreational opportunities;
I volunteer at Jewish Family Service in Houston.  I am also involved with an organization in Houston called Spectrum Fusion, which works with adults on the autism spectrum to help them realize their potential.
Chabad Friendship Circle
Dealing with loved ones suffering from dementia
Not in this survey.
None at this time.
None at this time
I am not that involved.  I do serve as a community educator with the Alzheimer’s Association.
Involved with Achilles International
Their is much more awareness and more and more people with special needs are becoming Bar or Bat Mitzvah and Confirmation
The more we talk about disability the more we can lessen stigma
I am involved in design of solutions for neglected needs which is based on human-centric design. I think there could be a forum for people with disabilities who are helping to shape solutions for their own needs.
I did four speaking engagements at my temple in February and March of this year for those efforts and planning to do more this coming year, in 2022, and possibly the end of this year.
I am the artistic director of Raise Your Spirits Theatre that includes children and adults from a wide range of disabilities. In Israel.
Frankly, I gave up on the shule. But I think some people have made changes. I do personal things like accessible seders and sukkahs.
Nothing lately
Working on minority out reach and disabled inclusion in my come with outreach orgy.
My goal is to serve in a support role/consultant for Jewish communities (with specific focus on evolving inclusive practice within synagogues and Jewish education programs). Through my research, graduate coursework and 30+ years as a secular/Jewish professional educator I know the challenges and influential factors impacting support of neurodivergent participants and those trying to evolve opportunities to fully engage them.
On behalf of my Jewish Federation, I reach out to seniors in our community to help identify their needs and barriers to inclusion so that we can address those.
Buildings need to be more accessible to disabled students and congregants.Sign language should to available at services both in person and in virtual venues.Written texts should be available of sermons and public announcements.

Amplification devices should be available in the sanctuaries.

People should be present at the entrance to the synogou to assist disabled persons.The synogague is large and could easily present a stumbling block to individuals with disabilities.

Since PL 94-142 was inacted,there have been many improvements in our

education of and inclusion of children with disabilities and divergent living and learning styles.Anyone who is different from the group ,in anyway is often criticized and marginalized.This has improved because of the landmark legislations pushed forward by leaders like JFK,Lyndon Banes Johnsons and many others.However,we still have a long way to go before disabled persons in our culture are truly accepted as equals.

I’m 72 yrs old and have spent a substantial number of those years in the ministry…

You figure it out.

HaShem gave us the rules to follow, and if we do not follow them, we cannot call ourselves Jews nor are we following HaShem….

The last Jews who did that ended up in Babylon…. and Yerushalayim was destroyed….

I am a teacher at Gateways: Access to Jewish Education in Boston, and I have spoken to synagogues about inclusion through the Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project
UJA inclusion grant
 I am involved in the macro advocacy group of jfcs Philly and helping heros and baking with a mission we include everyone before covid started
In addition to co-directing the Hand in Hand program, I also am the Director of the Aurelia Foundation – Creative Steps day program that promotes community integration and employment opportunities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Outreach to community centers on a local level, employment agencies, and entertainment venues including mueseums, zoos, etc
Gateways;acces to J, Ed.
We are building a new shul and I want to be sure that there will be full access to all
I am constantly aware of physical barriers preventing inclusion. I almost always speak with a manager about it and have reported problems to various organizations.
Contact Zelene Lovitt at Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson Texas for information.
Inclusion is intersectional. Age, gender, race, economic status, disability status, and religion are ALL important limbs of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion “tree.” The more that we can partner with one another and support each other in our  fights for equality, the more successful we will be.
I am a volunteer trained mentor at Family Ties DC, I work at  ArtStream and I am an MSW student.  I tailor most of my studies to disability (autism) and inclusion issues and have studied the Washington DC Jewish population to gain a better understanding of why this is such a complicated issue.
I would like to see RespectAbility model a better volunteer/workplace environment for those with all different types of abilities
Diversity book club sponsored by spiritual organization
The most effective method of networking is by word of mouth
Look forward to hearing more via synagogues.
I am on the advisory board for my local arts organization, and work with another arts organization that seeks to end stigma about mental health.
I don’t know of any
I have co-authored articles on the subject
I started and oversaw a groundbreaking initiative called Kesher in Cincinnati. The goal was to help Jewish congregations and organizations in their efforts to be more inclusive and welcoming. We had some success but there is so much more to do. I started a program called Fitness and Friends at the Mayerson JCC, which was supposed to be a low impact workout and social program from people of all abilities but as soon as I stepped back it just became a program for people with developmental disabilities.  I also was the person behind starting the Transition and Access program at the University of Cincinnati, the first four year residential, full campus experience for students with disabilities at a public university in the country, which has now been replicated across the country.  I am now working on a project called Livable Blue Ash for All that I started to see what happens when an entire neighborhood community comes together to be completely inclusive.  It has been put on hold due to funding issues and covid unfortunately, but I developed the concept to work across any community and hope to find a way to get it up and running someday.
Leave pamphlets in all agencies, synagogues, schools, and JCCs
I am at retired Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor helping disabled get jobs they can do. I am an officer in my 5260 condominium village. They have a long way to go to be inclusive and helpful to senior. Ageism is rampant.
Chronic pain and mobility issues make it difficult for me to participate in communal activities.I need rides to get anywhere and don’t know till the last minute whether I can go to an event so planning ahead is difficult
Houston’s Jewish Family Service has extensive programs and initiatives serving people with disabilities.  It also does a excellent job heightening inclusion  awareness and initiatives throughout the community, as well as being an Avenue for advocacy.  Dedicated staff, stakeholders, and volunteers have worked tirelessly to educate and sensitize the Jewish and general communities: effecting long overdue change.
It is a matter of course to me…
I’ve had a T.B.I. which stands for a Traumatic Brain Injury, and in our therapy meetings zooming online through the Northridge Hospital, I am finding that inclusion efforts in the BIG (Brain Injury Group) are providing much-needed supportive resources. I hope that more people will realize that inclusion is paramount to the society as a whole, not just the recipient of the inclusion rules! ADA should be more proactive in making sure people and companies follow the anti-discriminatory laws and that inclusion is better understood, for it is not well promoted as it ought to be, in my humble opinion. Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this survey. Can I please have more information about what you had mentioned something about RespectAbility how can I contact them and what do they do?
I am trying to learn more about inclusive B’Mitzvah practices (both in terms of gender inclusivity and disability inclusivity.)  There is great overlap in young people who are trans and those who are neurodiverse.
MS Support Group leader
It feels sometimes people are nervous to talk about disability, maybe giving people access to language and examples of how to start these conversations without the fear of “offending”.
I serve on DEI task forces/working groups on multiple organizations.
My masters thesis in 2003 examined synagogue accessibility for disabled persons. Sadly, almost 20 years later, little has changed.
I volunteer with Jewish Foundation for Group Homes in Maryland
reach out to Avnei Derech Le’Chayim- an Israeli NGO. they are experts in inclusion of young adults on the autism spectrum. they were recently recognized by the UN.
You should talk to my wife, [redacted], who is an expert in Jewish engagement. She has run and been aware of numerous initiatives to include all people in Jewish life.
I’m a retired physical therapist. That said, it’s difficult to know where to start, other than being available to assist individuals at my small synagogue.
As an education al consultant and case manager, I encourage clients to embrace and advocate for best fit and greatest opportunities for all students. This does not diminish the community responsibility for increasing inclusion.
JCC of Manhattan does a good job.
D.A.R.E. (Disabled Americans Rally for Equality)…Chicago group who travelled throughout U.S….e.g. fought and won re equipping small jails  for disabled..
not at this time
We have a very friendly and supportive congregation with individuals from all racial, many national, and many socio-economic varied groups.
Princeton Alumni Diversity Discussion groups, led by Jenny Korn.
I have not been active in the disability community for quite a few years now.  I used to volunteer with my local chapter of the Tourette Syndrome Association as a board member and I led parent support groups for parents with kids with Tourettes.  I was also a social worker in NY, working with families and children affected by disabilities, helping to manage disabilities and advocating for them in the school system.  I have been retired now for ten years.
I have none.
I am not.
The Commission campaign is where I devote my efforts.  When I was working I was one of exactly 6 deaf CEO’s in the country.
I am the Interfaith Specialist at USCJ working with congregations to make the Conservative Movement more inclusive.
transgender male teens being allowed to sit in the men’s section of the synagogue
You must have feeling for people.
I serve Special Olympics at a global level
Just from a personal point of view, I make a contact in advance, to be sure captioning is available on Zoom.  Otherwise, I can show up and there is no captioning.  So one must make sure, in advance of the event.
A person in a wheelchair; or using a walker faces the most difficulty ; opening doors; using washrooms when needed. At such times, there should be a person on the watch, and be available to help.
My family has been involved with an organization called Sports Plus that serves kids with special needs so they can fully participate in sports.
I am in touch with our new synagogue president about developing a group to address inclusiveness in our community.
Our Jewish Community Day School has a dedicated “Learning Center” to enable the school to serve a more diverse student body.
I am trying hard to make sure that our own Federation digital communications is accessible. When I submit items I have them pre-metacoded for accessibility and I insist that besides image based items, that our copy is in text so that reading devices can access our messages. Unfortunately the majority of organizations in my community rely heavily on visual images which do not even have alt tags coded in their communications and on their websites.
I served on an inclusion committee; we stopped during COVID. However, we might start again & will try to figure out cost effective ways to be inclusive.
I wish organizations around here had access to captioning and audible services at all events, not just special events. And- ramps, wide doors, automatic doors, flat parking lots, etc.
I helped develop the Bloomingdale Inclusive Playground that is designed for inclusion and social integration of children with varied levels of abilities and disabilities.
volunteer with synagogue to volunteer at food bank in Wpg
Our supplemental school is inclusive toward students,

we have had B’nei Mitzvah for kids who were unable to accomplish whole curriculum, but were celebrated for what they could do

Ruderman Foundation and Tikvah Network (Camp Ramah) have been at the forefront of work on inclusion in Jewish community
Education is the key.
I am an elected member of our local school board which promotes inclusivity of students from all marginalized groups including the differently abled and has strong policy prohibiting discrimination and harassment of persons in marginalized groups.
Fighting discrimination is key to maintaining a decent civilization and preserving democracy the way it should be practiced.
Wow, this is a big question! I have been a disability rights activist for fifty years. What you should know more about is me and my wife (she too is a disability activist, and additionally she is a disability scholar). If you are interested in learning more, then give us a call [redacted]
My daughter is involved in a horse camp and doing well with inclusion
I write for various publications on topics related to disabilities and inclusion.

I do what I can to help educate people about the importance of broadening our social viewpoints. People I speak with sometimes admit they see disabilities in two categories: Physical limitations and mental limitations. They may not see other “hidden” disabilities because they can’t see them. That’s the challenge that needs to be overcome through education. Thanks for conducting this valuable survey.

we run a program that finds adoptive homes for Jewish children with special needs
Meditationa nd healing services
Make an effort to welcome people with disability’s and perhaps ask what accommodations if any would make them feel more included
I am a Special Ed teacher
Our community is engaging in an initiative called Kulanu to explore various aspects of diversity and hopefully drive long-term initiatives. Our first program was with Rabbi Lauren Tuchman to explore disability in Jewish texts and learn how to be more engaging institutions. Our next two programs are on dealing with intergenerational conflict and political polarization.
Inclusion takes time , money, resourcefulness, patience and understanding. It’s a process.. encouraging people to participate who have disabilities with those who don’t, is a process. People need to be committed to growing. Patience is needed and good will so Everyone can step in the process.
I am just getting started but will be happy to support your organization.
I have been in contact with the National Gaucher’ s Foundation ( Samantha Rubenstein) and try to get assistance from the government. I have also been in contact with Philanthropists and Charitable organizations. I would recommend that you try to discourage scapegoating and preying on the vulnerable.
The Orthodox Union (O-U) has very initiatives to deal with mentally challenged and hearing impaired through Yachad.
NO. I TRIED TO VOLUNTEER BUT THE JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS ONLY WANTED MONEY, NOT BRAIN POWER AND EXPERIENCE.  THEY ALL CLAIM TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE, BUT DONOT.  ONE GROUP (JFS) had me assist with a project, but i was just used as a “charity” case.  I thought my experience and credentials allowed me to join the project.  I found out the hard way that I was only allowed to participate so they can “feel good”.  If you are disabled, and i have been since college, you are not wanted and are invisible.
I once attended a HEC gathering (Handicapped Encounter Christ) with a Christian friend who had CP.  There was a young Jewish attendee who said that she wished the Jewish groups would offer something similar.
How are you spreading the word about said group
I am the new Jewish Student Life Engagement Coordinator at Rochester Institute of Technology, one of whose colleges is the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.  Will be working very hard this year to make ourselves more accessible in particular to Deaf Jews.
My niece is a young adult who is on the Autism Spectrum. She is lovely and educated however she has and has always had a difficult time socially.  I don’t think that organizations for Jewish young adults are aware and inclusive enough so that people who are not in the mainstream but who can function and communicate are included.
I was involved with Camp Jened in upstate New York when I was a teenager and when I was in college. The campers were very active in effecting the changes which resulted in the ADA.
Just treat others, they way you would like to be treated.
Be apolitical on the subject
Covid restrictions have created some problems, but we try to balance safety needs and the need for fellowship. It is a balancing act.
Contact Shuls and schools or organizations etc.
i consult with a foundation that has been very proactive in this area…Legacy Heritage fund..supporting this effort in camps especially  since i work for them you did not hear this from me
My son was a participant of the Our Space program and became a Bar Mitzvah. He is non verbal and it was the most meaningful experience for him and our family
Since I finished my graduate program several months ago, I have not been involved with autism advocacy at my university.
Many disabled people are poor. Stop asking them to donate money.
At our local jcc there is a fabulous program for people on the autism spectrum.

Mnjcc Toronto

Chair of our Inclusion Committee, Temple Beth David, Westwood, MA; member of Commission on Disabilities of the town of Westwood, MA
Not applicable
We have a long way to go. Keep going!
Friendship Circle is an admirable program and well publicized and embraced by the families of disabled children and teens.
Our clergy speak about inclusion from the bimah every year.
Democratic Party JEDI series
I worked at Gateways for a number of years. It was the Stone Age of inclusion, but a major donor helped us break through the ceiling. Support helps change the trajectory…there’s nothing else like it!
We need programming , once our kids age out of the school system they are not part of any efforts of being part of the Jewish community
We were trying to make inclusion part of the fabric of everyday shul life.  Hasn’t happened yet.  We’ve been doing this for many years but it still stays a once a year event for disability awareness month.
 Should be treated normally without fuss.
On your question number nine, all of the paragraphs apply almost equally.
I am on the Inclusion Committee at my synagogue.
We don’t have a problem with inclusion in my community.
Please feel free to call me to discuss.


All faith based institutions should own and enforce a statement of inclusion
Its important to also include children with disability in any decision making process
We have a program in our Torah School that makes it possible for kids on the spectrum & other issues whether physical, emotional, or behavioral to have one on one aides & tutors so they can have the Torah School experience.
They need to get Jewish disabled jobs computers at least iPads so they can be current with technology and be on zooms
My synagogue lost our physical location. We meet only on Zoom. Most members attend regularly/.
Our community-based Jewish High School (Kehillah High) includes special needs kids in regular classes.
I have a child who had cerebral palsy.  The single best decision I ever made was to NEVER send him to public school.
Restoritive Justice is something I’m interested in Rabbi Jacobs ,  see NY Central Synagogue Online Sermon   On Yom Kippur .
The truth is people with impairments that can be seen and that can be accommodated by the addition or exclusion of something – they can be pointed to as an “inclusion success”. Those whose impairments are not visible are often left out. I’ve 40 years experience working with this population both children and adults.

Open-Ended Responses from Jewish Non-PwDs

Q6. Where in the community do you find the most access and inclusive environment for people with disabilities? (Answers for Other)

Friendship Circle
Chabads friendship circle program
Chabad Friendship Circle
Friendship circle
Friendship circle
Jewish Community Centers and their activities
Public schools &  businesses
JFS celebrity
I only know about synagogues so don’t feel able to answer this question that asks for a comparison
I’ve seen people who are alter abled-which is a kinder phrase at many different Jewish services, events, gatherings,. Jewish people I know don’t discriminate based on one’s health
we have to take 360 degree care without any excuses + keep them guarded & highly protected like jewels always BaRuch HaShem Adonai Shema Y’Israel
SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva (
local schools and park district programs
there are various organizations who are doing better and always adjusting

Q7. Where in the community do you find the most challenges for access and inclusion of people with disabilities? (Answers for Other)

I feel the community works hard to include people with disabilities in all areas.
All of the above
I haven’t seen any discrimination at any Jewish function.
the financial care = becoming lesser and lesser … please clean the adulterated lines that destroy our businesses community care and that are against our torah living
So few Jews in this area, it’s handled individually as needed

Q19. OPTIONAL: If you or someone with a disability has been excluded, please share when and what happened and any ideas you have in order to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Someone arrived at a program to be met by 4 steps to enter the building. They could not navigate these. We have since built a ramp (and an elevator!)
Choir practice-let people know how can park very near, enter through ramp, and easily go up nearby elevator.
Not applicable
I’ve never been in this kind of situation before.  Though, I do believe everyone deserves a fair shake with being inclusive in all activities that, that person enjoys and cares to be engaged in. 🙂
So many synagogues I’ve worked in were built before ADA and can be very complicated to navigate if one has mobility issues. We’ve had the challenge of there not being an elevator (or not every part of the building being accessible by elevator), or of the elevator being too small for a power wheelchair.
I have no examples
Niece wasn’t trained for bat mitzvah because of her mental limitations; it was solely the rabbi’s decision. My sister-in-law wasn’t savvy enough to fight it or go elsewhere.
I don’t have a disability- negative word. Change to Alter-abled. My rabbi in Eugene Or created the word-a kinder word.  I taught kids who were labeled special needs for years when I lived in OH. I have never seen in Portland, OR any person who is alter abled be excluded from any event. Portland Jewish people are more open to inclusion.
I am aware of people who’ve said that the tech platform used did not give them live captioning or other accommodations they needed and was told it was an expensive feature to add. MS Teams has it btw
Not applicable
N/ A
we need more selfless care givers with crystal clear intentions + organized working = to serve our community, backed up by robust community members & faithful to judaism people across the globe who are dedicated devoted very straightforward to the point : like range of titanium mountains 24 X 7 X 366 towards the real growth care upliftment empowerment fulfillment well being & maintaining the maximum torah rules of daily living … giant seven ocean hugs … giant seven mountains hugs … giant seven continents hugs … to all our community members … limitless love for everyone : haresh bhagwan aswani …
Years ago, one of my neighbors was refused a Bria of their son who was born mentally disabled. Thankfully another rabbi in the city agreed to perform the ritual.
Summer camp
No comment
Not aplicable
Instead of wasting time and money trying to assist Muslim migrants that have jumped  the queue and arrived in Canada pretending to be refugees, the Reform, Conservative  left wing synagogues should use this assistance and focus in the needs of our disabled and aging population in order to make  life easier and more productive for them.

I notice that millennials are so selfish and self centred they are incapable of doing the simplest chores.

My father was in a wheel chair. There is only space in synagogue for three wheel chairs. Three other people got there first so there was no room for us.
Not family but member of congregation who is a double amputee, feels much more included now that everything is on zoom.
Location of a class up a couple of stairs, making it impossible for my elderly father to participate. The lecturer subsequently told me that had my father mentioned it to him, he would have had the class moved. This was some years ago, and my father never liked to trouble anyone. I would hope  that the university in question has changed its attitude. (Its de facto attitude towards Jews is another matter entirely!)

Q22. OPTIONAL: Please specify any institution that you know of that has clergy or staff and/or leaders with disabilities? If comfortable, please also provide their names.

Rabbi Darby Leigh Kerem Shalom
Chabad Rabbi Pewzner from Perpignan France
board member of Reconstructing Judaism is blind, another active leader is double amputee.
None come to mind
Not sure
There are rabbis and cantors with mental health issues.

Rabbi Teller was in the news concerning his manic episode. Other rabbis and cantor have mentioned issues with anxiety and depression. Rumors about one rabbi who was hiding his homosexuality circulated a few years ago.

JfS Houston Tx,
Women’s Rabbinic Network, Rebecca Dubowe serves on the Board of Trustees.
No  examle
The clergyman is deaf.
Union for Reform Judaism
Not applicable
Don’t know of anyone but some disabilities are not apparent.
I believe that there was (or still is) a rabbi with a disability near me in Concord, Ma
the rabbi of Kerem Shalom, Concord, MA
Dor Hadash, congregation I belong to, has deaf religious-school teacher. One of the founders (now deceased) used a wheelchair, having had polio.
Adas Israel in DC
South Shore Synagoge, Hewlett, NY
Not applicable
no : let the goodness remain within our community, we increase our love, give potential to our blessed people, keep our secrets under wraps, & pray to the eternal divine, to live a life in earning blessings learning good being better human beings handling the goodness down from one generation to another 🙂

Hallal הָלַל

Yadah יָדָה

Towdah תּוֹדָה

Shabach שָׁבַח

Barak בָּרַךְ

Zamar זָמַר

Tehillah תְּהִלָּה

Dawn Kellman is the president of Ansche Chesed.
Not aplicable
Congregation Bene Shalom in suburban Chicago uses sign languages at services.
The rabbi of the congregation with which I am affiliated is morbidly obese and does not get around well.
I don’t know if sexual orientation can be considered a disability, but one of our synagogue rabbis is gay – and is generally welcomed.

Q23. OPTIONAL: If you have seen a particular example of successful disability inclusion in your faith community, please share it with us. 

Chabad Friendship Circle
My synagogue has large print siddurim and a ramp to get into the bimah.
Gay marriage have been accepted and welcomed, as well as well chairs
Chair lift up to the pulpit.
Nursery school through elementary school at Stephen S Wise my daughter’s best friend had autism.  This girl had a shadow at school at all times.  For the first few years in nursery school I had no idea that this shadow was for her friend who was autistic.  I thought this shadow was another teacher in the class.  Other than the shadow to assist her friend she was included in every activity and treated no different than the other kids without a disability.  The kids all knew the friend was autistic and all the kids went out of their way to include her and make sure she was loved and included at all times.
Our congregation, Agudas Achim of Northern Virginia, has a congregant with sight impairment who has led parts of services and may serve on the board.  The Pozez JCC of Northern Virginia runs active programs for people with disabilities of all ages, including mainstreaming children with disabilities in camp and early childhood education
Have witness young people with disability to become a B’nai mitzvah
CBY renovation gives bema access to w/c
HFS Celebrity in Houston
Reel Music – Part of the Reel Abilities festival
Jewish FamilyService
My Temple has added access to the podium with new ramps and rails.
No  example
The shul I sometimes attend prominently encourages attendees to be mindful of avoiding scented products to product those with sensitivities.
There is a child on the autism spectrum I’m aware of in our congregation who, so far as I can determine, is included in all the children’s actvities.
A Rabbi from another congregation was deaf and was accepted and well-liked. He could read lips. Another active person in the community is wheelchair-bound.
Local temple is remodeling and making pulpit area accessible.
Scholars in wheelchairs or who are visually impaired are in leadership roles (rabbis) and are highly respected.
they go unnoticed
Camp Ramah Galim in Northern California has a wonderful summer camp program for kids and young adults with intellectual disabilities
I see it by people included in all activities.
Congregation Adath Shalom’s Open Door Minyan
Both of the grown sons of one of our most active temple couples have some sort of illness which puts them on the spectrum. The boys live with their parents, have come to services etc in preCovid time and all of us who know the family warmly hug and embrace these young men who I don’t think will ever live away from their parents.
Recently a disabled person in our community read the haftorah but since he didn’t understand the Hebrew I felt it was an awkward reading. I privately wondered whether a different ki bud could have been offered to him. Why should the reading be mangeled? That bothered me even though I believe in inclusion. What do you think about that?
David and Cecil Rosenberg, two of the 11 people killed in the massacre at Tree of Life, had intellectual disabilities and were valued regulars at services.
I have seen people in wheelchairs who are welcomed into services, into social gatherings, into any aspect of Jewish life.
My synagogue has a ramp to the Bimah, headsets for services for hard of hearing. I recall a family whose nonverbal daughter uses an electronic communications device had her bat mitzvah, but cannot remember if it was used on Shabbat or at havdallah.
our synagogue has had members with cognitive disabilities and in wheelchairs for many years. And they have been included in services and on the board. But we have not had the funds to make the bima permanently wheelchair-accessible.
Not applicable
Baruch Adonai L’Olam : faith honor care devotion discipline = i maintain, the goodness of nectar always keeps overflowing …
In Chabad, there are many examples, including one rabbi with ALS
SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva ( consistently works to increase disability inclusion in all activities.
My synagogue had an educational program in which people with different disabilities spoke of their disability and how it impacted their lives.  These included mental health disabilities.  The congregation learned a lot.
Not sure
Ramp to the bimah; everything accessible on one level, including entry from outdoors; large print prayer books; audio equipment available at the door; Rabbi always says, “Rise as you are able.”  Happy inclusion of people with cognitive/emotional disabilities at all services.
I know that children with learning disabilities are helped to become Bar/Bat Mitzvah by altering the expectations to suit their needs.  Also, I saw young people who looked developmentally disabled (with Down’s Syndrome) dancing around during services at my Reform Temple.
We have several children with disabilities included in our education program – a child with spina bifida who uses a wheelchair, a child with profound autism, and a child with dyslexia, We also have adults living with chronic illness and physical limitations. We have successfully included all in our faith community.
Through the establishment of a fund in memory of a community member who had lifelong disabilities, our community now has heightened awareness of the need for disability programming and inclusion. As time passes and the fund provides income for disability services, we hope that more people will be included.
We recently had a bat mitzvah who is deaf, and she led her bat mitzvah completely in ASL. Her familly and our rabbi worked together to ensure it was meaningful to her and to the congregation, including her working with a deaf rabbi.
My synagogue building is fully wheelchair accessible
In my high school (Ramaz), one classmate took it upon himself to be the point person for another classmate who used a wheelchair. He handled movement, delivery of papers, books, etc. That classmate grew up to be Rabbi Tzvi Romm–kol hakavod!
No, I have not seen
An organization called Clubhouse offers social; programs for senior adults, some of whom are disabled.
Yachad does a great job with this as do Camp Simcha and others.
A legally blind woman is on the planning board (which chooses and directs the events) in my group.
Our Federation has a Hebrew School Program for those with learning disabilities
use of closed captioning in virtual programs
We have a ramp, not a great one, but it’s put up if people in a wheel chair want to get to the bimah in synagogue.
Shul built a lower bima with access ramps and a shulchan that can be lowered or raised as needed.
see above
Years ago we had some deaf congregants, and found sign language interpreters for them.
Temple Emanuel Roch NY
The Jewish Family Service ran a job placement service for special needs adult participants at Celebration Company to do work in the community.  At the Jewish Federation where I work, we welcomed a worker to help with tasks one day each week.  They were paid by JFS and also came with a shadow to help.  It was a wonderful program and we looked forward to helping them to feel needed and helpful with whatever tasks they were able to do.  Unfortunately, the program stopped because of Covid.

Q26. At RespectAbility, we are working to expand inclusion and opportunities for people with disabilities. Do you have any advice for us that would help us to be more successful?

We did a 360 with Respectability that was incredible. We did lots of work around that. Still, there are issues. Would be great to be able to call and say- we have a specific person/issue- how can we respond. A short term free consultation (like Sacred Spaces does for issues around abuse)
More social media presence
Work with every Jewish organization in a positive way
I live in Europe, are you active here too?
keep beating the drum
Reaching out directly to schools and synagogues to offer live presentations of your work especially in the orthodox community
Try and work WITH different agencies and schools to educate leadership, reduce stigma, and combine resources.
In Dallas, Chai House and the JCC Habima Theatre are great examples.
At many organizations, the key to developing leaders with disabilities is to sensitize nominating committees of boards of the need to look for people to participate.  That often means sensitizing senior staff to be on the lookout for those with disabilities who are able to make a contribution to a board of directors, etc. and pass those names on to the board nominating committees.  Similarly, such organizations should be trained how to appear welcoming to those with disabilities for staff purposes.  Think about a JCC with a fitness center for example.  It’s a consciousness raising thing on a systemic basis
I believe that the biggest disabilities are learning disabilities.  Many children would love to go to Jewish schools but the Jewish schools just don’t have the tools needed to service these kids.
I think that is a great idea!
Use social media, psas, local TV news, etc. to provide more awareness of your organization.
do a short program online for Executive Directors of local synagogues with things we can easily accomplish
Even though you specified subgroups within the Jewish community, even within those subgroups there is a huge range and the structure of communities varies dramatically from place to place. That means, the challenges and awareness very dramatically too. Also, I’ll add that when I said things were expensive, I wasn’t only referring to financial resources but also manpower etc. My community is tiny and runs entirely on volunteer labor, and many families have a lot of small children, have two parents working full time, and and we don’t have a lot of bandwidth. Right now, we’re working on improving the inclusion of women and children in our community, but unless someone who it matters to personally steps up to deal with other areas of inclusion, is unlikely to be at the top of the list of priorities.
educate them?
Keep any advertising going on in the city.  When we get back to in-person Yom Limmud annual events, keep the Celebration Company vendors there.  The crafts and work the clients accomplish is fantastic.  I especially enjoy purchasing their cards and candles.
Do more
I do not know. Maybe better publicity.
Please keep at it.  Your mission is tremendously important!
Not familiar with the organization. However, I have a Master’s Degree and taught children who were blind and/or visually impaired.
increased awareness
Make disabled speakers (and performers!) available. Have a YouTube channel. (You may already be doing these.)
RespectAbility sounds like a very good organization. there are many cities in the U.S. that could use their help. Portland, OR Jews are respectful and open to any person regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and welcome people who are Alter Abled.
I have been concerned that sometimes a disability rights groups has been against rights of others such as in the debate over right to assistance in dying when facing terminal illness
Not sure.
Reach out to educate communities that you exist and encourage people to join your cause.
Please reach out to boards and leadership in jewish community to help open their eyes to possibilities.
presentations to communities either live or virtual
Constant publicity at the community level.
very often we tend to be overly concerned about people with disabilities much so that we tend to single them out to insist they be recognized more than people w/o disabilities.  This causes them to be un comfortable and defeats the purpose.  They should be treated and recognized as equals.
Keep at it.  Appreciate what you are doing.
Become more aware that these individuals do exist in the community.
please kindly keep everything, very well guarded protected fully financed with skillfull caretakers selfless caregivers maximum cleanliness maximum neatness maximum hygiene regular surprise checkings … with improvement analysis … hugs, care & kiss on the forehead : for everyone …
Keep pushing for what you want.
Education of the general community to understand the issues that people with disabilities deal with and what measures are necessary to overcome them.
Let the group members know what’s happening beforehand so we can understand and not be so surprised.
Knock on the doors
A major marketing campaign would be helpful to get your important message out into the world!
I am not a good person to ask
Disability is a spectrum, not black/white. And parts of the spectrum are invisible. I think there’s a lack of general understanding of the, to mix metaphors, iceberg.
I saw a very touching movie called Praying with Lior, about a boy with Down’s Syndrome preparing for his bar mitzvah. He was a person of great joy, deep faith, and a wonderful asset to his community. People who are reticent about inclusion might be more positive about it after viewing this.
Not at this time
As a recently retired rabbi, I would encourage you to also look at how our institutions also place limitations on the elderly.
Just Tell disabled people that their condition does not mean they are less capable to succeed in their goals.
Yes. Try and get on podcasts–they can be so effective in relaying another person’s experience. Find individual rabbis who will champion this cause, and connect with individual columnists in Jewish media.
Cast a wide net and engage with every part of the Jewish community. Individuals will be drawn to your message.
Not yet
Educate people on the difficulty disabled people have
Have direct dialogue with board members
thank you
Make yourselves better known.
I never heard of you
do not know this organization very well
Call religious interfaith organizations and speak with social action members.
Increase visibility. Develop a program for religious organizations to help them more easily increase inclusion of people with disabilities.

Q27. Please share any additional information about inclusion efforts in which you are involved that we should know more about.

The community organization Fraindship circle has lot of programs for the disabled
Friendship circle has done an amazing job in inclusion and helping families and teens
Thank you 🙂
Our President has a speech impediment
Good luck!  Thank you for all you do!
Not applicable
Very sorry, I’m not that involved, due to Covid.
I was a special education due process hearing officer for twenty years.  I believe the due process system in which I took part is indispensable for upholding the right to an appropriate public k-12 education of American children with disabilities.
Not applicable
None at this time.
I’m hard of hearing and I appreciate captions on Zoom services. But the captions on Hebrew are pretty comical.
I think people are resistant to working with the disabled because it causes anxiety and fear that this could be them
I’m not involved in any inclusion efforts. However to be truly human is to be kind, compassionate, and willing to help others in need, to raise people up to their full potential.
supporter of access to transit buses for those with disabilities when that was an issue
none, shamefully.
The Friendship Circle is a very positive effort to include all ages to participate in helping and connecting with handicapped people.
I would like to see a program offered through JCCs across the country to bring disabled on trips, such as to Israel or any place – so people can join together in community and have fun, learn, and grow closer to Judaism.
A strong awareness among individuals especially at an early age that handicapped people ‘are out there’ and may need their help.
peace prayers devoted love toughest discipline with flawless clarity : following our torah word by word daily … amen ve amen …
I’m only very tangentially involved, in that I support my Temple financially, and it has provided such enablers as ramps for people in wheelchairs to attend activities, and hearing aids for people who are hard of hearing.
Actually I am not involved with disabled people.
h-cap parking, ramps, space for mobility devices
Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Newport Beach has a huge new center for this purpose

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