by Rabbi Michael Schwab
Watching this video made me so proud to be a rabbi at NSS Beth El. It brings to life our commitment to disability inclusion, which I see as fundamental to being a synagogue.
Every person wants to feel a sense of connection. And every Jew should be able to feel that they have a synagogue that feels like home. We are a Beit Knesset (Hebrew for synagogue) and therefore we are literally a “house for all people to enter.” We are an address for any Jew in our community to engage in our beautiful heritage, to connect with God and to draw close to fellow Jews.
Therefore it is our sacred task to make sure our synagogue community is accessible and inclusive. And inclusion isn’t simply a program or an initiative, but a deep, abiding framework and viewpoint through which we see the world. Just as we all stand together before God with all of our quirks, faults, strengths and blessings, hoping and knowing that God sees the infinite value in each of us, so too we should be able to all stand before each other with our abilities and disabilities and know that the other sees in us that same infinite value. We should feel secure in the fact that our synagogue affords us the opportunity to share in the blessings of our wonderful community.
I am so proud that our congregation has taken this value so seriously. I invite you to view this new video of the Ruderman Family Foundation and USCJ which features NSS Beth El. It was featured at the recent United Synagogue convention. If you would like to become more involved with disability inclusion, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Shabbat Shalom and Happy Hanukkah in advance!