Areas of Inclusion: Adults in Communal Life, Advocacy & Community Partnerships, Architectural & Physical Accommodations and Transportation, Autism, B’nai Mitzvah, Deafness, General Inclusion, Mental Health, Parents of Children with Disabilities, Religious School, Worship, and Youth Group, High School, and College Programming
About the Congregation
25 canton st
Sharon, MA 02067
Number of Congregants: 430
Does this congregation have an inclusion committee?
Developing Our Program
The committee officially began in 2016 by the temple president (at the time). Outreach was made to congregants who had previously shown an interest and an article in the temple bulletin inviting others to participate
Number of people involved in the effort: 12
Involving People with Disabilities
Funding This Effort
The synagogue has a restricted fund dedicated to Special Needs when funds are needed. Our school professionals have worked with Gateways: Access to Jewish Education and several of our Steering committee members have experience through various professional connections to JF&CS Services for People with Disabilities, Gateways: Access to Jewish Education, MRC, etc. In addition, we are working with the Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project (RSIP) and applying for a grant. In the spring of 2017 we had a special Inclusion Shabbat service and we have had several articles in our temple bulletin. In the spring of 2018 we will have an in-service for our Board of Trustees presented by RSIP) as well as other programs and events to further engage our congregation (including school students).
Helpful Agencies & Organizations
Gateways: access to Jewish education, Ruderman synagogue Inclusion project, JFCS, MRC
Spreading Awareness About Our Work
As part of the Inclusion steering committee’s work, we are working with our Exec Director and rabbi to develop materials on our website and in our written material to publicize our commitment and efforts.
working with Board of Trustees, Inclusion Shabbat, bulletin articles
Process & Sharing
History, Materials & Processes that Guided Our Approach
Gateways: Access to Jewish Education Shabbat companion and Haggadah (see Gateways website- https://www.jgateways.org
Article in temple bulletin (attached) and brief blurb to introduce Inclusion Shabbat
Ten ‘Commandments’ for Helping Parents of children with special needs (attached)
‘Ten Things You Should Know About the Accessible Congregations Campaign’
High Holiday Guide to Inclusive Congregations” Shelly Christensen
“The Jewish Community Guide to Inclusion of Peple with Disabilities” Shelly
Christensen, Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis
History, Materials & Process Documents
Evidence of Changing Attitudes
Our rabbi and educator are committed to ensuring that every student has an opportunity to participate in Jewish education, working with the family and student to determine how best to make that happen (in some cases it may mean enrolling the child in the Gateways Sunday program which is a substantially separate model). In addition, every child regardless of his/her ability will become bar/bat mitzvah. What the bar/bat mitzvah child is expected to do is 100% determined by his/her ability and every accommodation necessary is provided. The best anecdotal evidence is the beaming faces on the parents and grandparents of the child with special needs when the congregation sings ‘siman tov u’mazel tov’! One of our congregants is Deaf and our family Shabbat service is often interpreted (upon request) and our younger schoolchildren love to interact during the service by learning some signs. Whenever we are aware of anyone who needs any accommodation, we do whatever we can to accommodate.
How We're Using and Sharing the Disabilities Inclusion Learning Center
Whatever knowledge, ideas, information the Inclusion steering committees accesses through this and other resources we will make available to the Board of Trustees and the entire synagogue community in ways that will have the greatest impact.
This year, Temple Sinai is applying for a grant from the RSIP and hope to develop several new initiatives with a particular focus on including young adults and adults into congregational life. We will outreach not only to family members of congregants, but to the community at large-including the several community residences for people with DD/ID/ASD that are in our area. We will be collaborating with Yachad NE and Friendship Circle of Sharon to better meet these goals. In addition, we will be working closely with our Religious school to provide interactive informational programs led by young adults and adults with lived experience.
Future Inclusion Efforts
We are working closely with our Youth Advisor to include teens in our youth groups (in ways that are meaningful for everyone) and the Exec director to find ways for adults to volunteer also in ways that are meaningful and helpful. In the past, not everyone was as receptive to this idea but now everyone is ‘onboard’. This is on-going and we are committed to continuing to improve