It’s important that all people, regardless of their disabilities, are included in Jewish services. As events are beginning to happen in-person again, it is crucial that synagogues accommodate all members and their needs. They range from physically accessible spaces for those who have mobility challenges, to those who are hard of hearing or deaf and require captioning or an interpreter. Below are resources for synagogues to use to ensure that all members’ needs are met:
Daily or weekly prayer services:
- Language and Intent, Part 3 of 3: The Quiet Power of Inclusive Language: As Moriah Benjoseph suggests in the work, “Please Rise… but What If I Can’t Stand During Prayer?” when calling people to prayer, instead of simply saying, “please rise,” say “please rise if you are able.” Some of your congregants may not be able to stand due to disability, fatigue, and/or pain. You want to include everyone in your call to worship.
- High Holiday Jewish Inclusion Guide: Chabad created a guide to inclusion during the High Holidays which includes different ideas such as what any given person in a congregation can do to ensure that all people feel included and sermon ideas for a Rabbi who wants to speak on the idea of inclusion. Chabad’s guide gives a more orthodox approach to inclusion.
- Opening Your Virtual Gates: Making Online High Holiday Celebrations Accessible to All: This useful RespectAbility resource walks the reader through pre, during, and post event planning for High Holidays services.
- Free High Holiday Resources for Children – Jewish Special Education | Gateways: This resource has everything from High Holiday Bingo to stories about why children do not fast on Yom Kippur, to what is considered appropriate behavior in synagogues.
Other holiday resources:
- Sukkot, Ushpizin, and Disability Inclusion: This Chabad resource offers ways to ensure that our sukkahs and sukkot meals are inclusive.
- Large Print – Haggadah – Jewish Braille Institute: This website offers different types of Braille prayer books for sale for synagogues.
- The National Braille Press: If someone is requesting a Machzor (High Holidays prayer book) or Siddur (Sabbath or weekdays prayer book) in Braille, The National Braille Press can help. Please make sure to request in advance, as it can take up to 20 business days to meet your request.
- Computer Sciences for the Blind: This is another company that individuals can order Braille machzorim and siddurim from.
- “Access, Belonging and Life Enrichment for People with Disabilities and their Families”: Resources from Greater MetroWest ABLE (NJ)