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Now Expanded: UJA-Federation’s Synagogue Inclusion Project
The New NormalBlogging Disability

Now Expanded: UJA-Federation’s Synagogue Inclusion Project

Lisa Friedman is a widely recognized expert in Jewish disability inclusion. She is an Education Director at Temple Beth-El in Central New Jersey, where she has developed and oversees an inclusive synagogue school. She is also the Project Manager of UJA-Federation of New York’s Synagogue Inclusion Project. Lisa consults with congregations, schools, camps and other organizations to guide them in the development of inclusive practices for staff, clergy and families through dialogue, interactive workshops, and awareness training. Lisa is a sought after speaker on a wide variety of topics and blogs about disabilities and inclusion at "Removing the Stumbling Block."

UJA-Federation's Synagogue Inclusion Project cool stress balls. Courtesy of Lisa Friedman
UJA-Federation's Synagogue Inclusion Project cool stress balls. Courtesy of Lisa Friedman

Looking for a tangible, concrete way to move disability inclusion forward in your community?

UJA-Federation of New York has expanded the Synagogue Inclusion Project!

The Synagogue Inclusion Project helps create communities where people of all abilities are valued, included and can fully participate in congregational life. Participation in the 9-month Synagogue Inclusion Project is a short-term commitment that will affect lasting change. Each participating congregation will be matched with a Coach who will mentor them and support the process. The Project begins with an in-person 360 Assessment to identify goals. All participating congregations will be eligible for a micro-grant to complete a specific project identified in partnership with their Coach. In addition, all participating communities will engage in learning sessions with significant leaders in the field of disability inclusion.

This project is made possible by generous funding from the Leo Oppenheimer & Flora Oppenheimer Haas Foundation.

More information can be found here or contact Elisa Blank at blanke@ujafedny.orgApplications are now open.

Impact of the Synagogue Inclusion Project: Plainview Jewish Center noticed that their mezzuzot were too high to be reached by individuals in wheelchairs through their initial assessment. They were able to secure a donation of additional mezzuzot which they installed with the help of children in the religious school as an added opportunity for learning. They shared: “Members of our congregation are now much more aware of the need to make our synagogue accessible for our members and guests. There is a new openness to exploring additional projects to improve our accessibility.”

More from The New Normal here.

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