UJA-Federation of New York announced its second year of awards to synagogues that have done “exemplary” work in making their spaces more inclusive of people with disabilities, according to a press release.
Three synagogues received the awards: Temple Israel Center in Westchester, Adath Israel in Riverdale and Chabad at Stony Brook. Each of them employs a professional with extensive knowledge of disabilities.
“One of the best ways to inspire a passion for Jewish life and build caring communities is to truly open our doors and make sure that no Jew feels like they’re outside the Jewish community looking in,” said Alexandra Roth-Kahn, managing director of the federation’s Caring Commission, in the release.
The release didn’t give any specifics on what these synagogues do, so we’ll try to find out more.
Also in the news: parents of children with autism who live in Nebraska are trying to persuade their legislature to require insurance companies to cover related medical bills, as 32 other states do, according to an article in the Lincoln Journal-Star.
The article highlighted the plight of Cathy and Cesar Martinez, whose son lost his language skills when he was 20 months old and spent most of his time sitting in a corner, banging his head against the wall.
A pediatric behavioral psychologist recommended a $62,000 per year treatment called Applied Behavioral Analysis, but warned that insurance wouldn’t pay for it.
“We were left feeling devastated, that a treatment existed that could help our child, but our insurance refuses to cover it,” Cathy Martinez told the paper.
The bill under consideration would require up to $70,000 a year in coverage for behavioral health treatment for the first three years of treatment and then $20,000 a year thereafter until age 21.
The Martinez family filed for bankruptcy after spending $250,000 on their son’s treatment.