We are committed to accessibility and disability inclusion, grounded in the belief that we are all created b’tselem Elohim (in G-d’s image). B’tselem Elohim reminds us to ensure that all people have equal access and equal opportunity.
Inclusion is a mindset, an attitude, and a way of thinking that provides opportunities for full meaningful engagement, contributions, and belonging for all members of our Community. Our Accessibility and Disability Inclusion Committee is dedicated to helping our synagogue become a more welcoming, accessible, and inclusive community by sensitizing the synagogue community to the needs of congregants with differing abilities and by reducing existing barriers to each members’s full participation.
We recognize that inclusion is a process as well as a journey we take together as a community. As we continue to increase accessibility and inclusion, we need to hear from you. If you have an accommodation request or accessibility concern, please contact Jeff Baden firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accomplishments to Date
- Peer Buddies and Judaism (PB&J) was created to link teen mentors to peers with disabilities to establish a buddy system to support integration into our youth programs.
- Our religious schools are inclusive and accessible to students with disabilities.
- Our Halomdim Program created a resource room to support children with learning differences and/or social challenges. It offers shadow teachers, 1-1 instruction, and summer tutoring. We also provide an education specialist to support these initiatives.
- Our teachers in the Cohen Religious School and the Sokol Hebrew High School are trained to accommodate and facilitate learning for all students.
- We have programs for B’nai Mitzvah students who need additional support or different teaching styles to prepare them for their B’nai Mitzvah.
- We participate in HUGS (Healthy, Understanding, Growing Spaces), a consortium of 13 north suburban congregations that provide ritual programming for children and adults with special needs and their families.
- We have social stories and a sensory room for children who need extra support to be successful at our programs.
- Our main entrances, hallways, and most restrooms are ADA compliant.We have a gender-neutral bathroom.
- The Sager Beit Hamidrash (our chapel) has a ramp to the bimah, designated space for wheelchairs, and a wheelchair-accessible reader’s table and ark.
- Through our HAZAK Senior Life group, we provide rides to our events for those who don’t drive.
- Valet parking is available at major events and during the High Holy Days.
- We participate in the Chicago Synagogue Inclusion Project which was created at Rabbi Schwab’s request in his role as chair of the Synagogue Federation Commission. A comprehensive outreach, research, and planning process, the program answered key questions about barriers to participation in synagogue life for individuals with disabilities and their families.
Be sure to read Rabbi Michael Schwab’s November-January 2018 article in the current issue of the Kol Beth El.
High Holidays 2017 Sermons:
HH 5778 – Rabbi Michael Schwab
Yom Kippur 5778 – Rabbi Michael Schwab