You may have read recently about the launching of a new interdenominational initiative for Jewish disabilities issues. This program is called Hineinu, and we – the undersigned – are proud to represent USCJ and the RA. Here is how the press release last week described the program:
In an historic collaboration the Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist and Reform Jewish Movements have come together to form Hineinu, an innovative collaboration of the disability professionals from each stream sharing resources, support and direction in order to increase disability Inclusion in our synagogues and educational institutions for people of all abilities. The core pillars of the first year of the Hineinu initiative will highlight and share the best practices that are already occurring in many communities with those who are ready to do more by:
- Creating a network of synagogues and professionals among all four movements that will help achieve the goal of making Inclusion efforts a normative part of synagogue life.
- Convening community leaders, sharing materials and online resources, networking between lay leadership and disability professionals, and fostering the establishment or growth of synagogue-based Inclusion committees.
- Authoring and sharing a community-wide resource guide with simple and low-cost suggestions for how synagogues can begin to be more disability Inclusive.
The 26 page resource guide contains a variety of material that will help you get started. There is information on Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month (February), there is a guide to help form a synagogue inclusion committee, and there are websites, books and people listed for further guidance and information.
As Rabbi Yohanan taught in the Jerusalem Talmud, “Each of the forty days Moshe was on Mount Sinai, God taught him the entire Torah. Each night Moshe forgot what he had learned,” meaning that God never dismissed Moshe. Instead God assured Moshe would have a place in history, even with difficulties he might face. Creating an inclusive community, open in all ways, physically and spiritually, to all is a significant way of our emulating God’s holiness.
We looking forward to working with you as we strive to make our kehillot truly inclusive and holy.
Director of Special Projects, USCJ
Disability Awareness Liaison, RA