Congregation Shir Hadash

Los Gatos, California, USA

Areas of Inclusion: Adults in Communal Life, Advocacy & Community Partnerships, Architectural & Physical Accommodations and Transportation, B’nai Mitzvah, General Inclusion, Mental Health, and Religious School

About the Congregation

Congregation Shir Hadash

20 Cherry Blossom Lane

Los Gatos, CA 95032

Number of Congregants: 950

Contact Information

Gordon Gladstone, Executive Director

408-358-1751 ext. 9

Inclusion Programming

Does this congregation have an inclusion committee?


Developing Our Program

Our facilities were brought up to ADA compliance as a result of new construction and improvements made about 10 years ago. Specific modifications included a ramp for the Bima, ADA compliant restrooms, door actuators, curb cuts and designated parking. Our furniture is easily moveable to allow for wheelchair access and our reader’s tables can be moved from the Bima to the sanctuary floor to facilitate access. We also try to anticipate particular needs during Simcha celebrations to maximize family participation.

Our school is guided by a desire to provide mainstream opportunities for as many students as possible. Our general approach is to make Jewish practice and communal participation as accessible as possible. This includes working with families to evaluate students’ abilities and creating a learning plan to suit each student’s needs. This can include one-on-one tutoring when appropriate. We also work to modify milestone celebrations (Bar Mitzvah, Confirmation, etc.) to maximize participation.

Number of people involved in the effort: 10

Involving People with Disabilities

We often work with people to understand what would best suit their needs and/or desires when making adjustments to either physical or programmatic aspects of the synagogue.

Funding This Effort

No specific funding source exists. Our inclusion efforts have been funded internally.

Spreading Awareness About Our Work

Usually via email or with signage in the building. Some aspects of our educational inclusion program are communicated face to face with parents.

Process & Sharing

Evidence of Successful Inclusion Efforts

We often have feedback from parents of students who have been able to have a Bar Mitzvah or participate in Confirmation that they are grateful for our efforts. We also do things like stream High Holiday services or provide Shabbat programs at nearby assisted living facilities and the residents express their thanks for those opportunities to participate in Jewish life.

Future Inclusion Efforts

We are still hoping to replace our hearing assist system with a Loop system that will work directly with people's hearing aids. We are also hopeful of being able to install video screens in the sanctuary that should aid those with vision issues and people who are unable to hold a prayer book easily.

« Back to the Exemplar Congregations