Though JOI is often known for its work with those who have intermarried, we established our Big Tent Judaism campaign to emphasize the importance of being welcoming to all those who wish to engage with the Jewish community. True, intermarried couples are sometimes marginalized by the Jewish community, but so are gays and lesbians, Jews of color, Jews-by-choice, those with disabilities…and the list goes on. We commend the Interfaith Disability Connection for recognizing the need to “[educate] and [engage] faith communities in cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with people with disabilities.”
This Sunday, the Interfaith Disability Connection will be holding a discussion of acceptance and inclusion at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta: “That All May Worship: Beyond The Ramp.” The Atlanta area organization counts five local synagogues as members, three of which are also members of the Big Tent Judaism Coalition. The Interfaith Disability Connection provides resources to these congregations, as well as to people with disabilities and their families and caregivers. The resources include everything from the physical set up of our institutions to alternative format worship services.
The important awareness of making our Jewish institutions accessible for those with disabilities is becoming a higher and higher priority for the Jewish community. For example, according to the Cleveland Jewish News, Suburban Temple-Kol Ami renovated its sanctuary to include ramps and handrails leading up to the bimah and roomier aisles to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs, As the Jewish community continues to look to its future, we hope that accessibility becomes a high enough priority that it will no longer need to be a priority at all.
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