The Inclusion Committee has been meeting monthly since March 2016. As described in the high holiday prayer book insert, we set goals for ourselves and determined a timeline by which to meet them. As of this writing, the following initiatives have been instituted:
• A row of accessible parking spaces is available opposite our entrance.
• Visual enhancement devices and large print prayer books are offered.
• Seating within the sanctuary is available for congregants or guests with wheelchairs or other mobility devices; contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the office.
• The Chesed Committee has been revitalized with calls being made and cards sent; it is our intent to widen the scope of our efforts next year. Please contact us as above if you would like to help.
• Gluten free, sugar free and dairy free items are available at every Kiddush and meal.
• In February, a very stimulating educational program highlighting disability issues in the Jewish community was presented at MBIEE in partnership with Jewish Learning Venture; two authors, Gabrielle
Kaplan-Mayer and Liane Kupferberg Carter shared with us their books and family experiences. More events are planned for next year.
• A group of committee members and congregants were trained by the Regional Foundation Center in searching for grant opportunities that match our needs.
We are most excited about a project undertaken by three members of our congregation. They are donating in memory of loved ones a wheelchair accessible portable Torah Table for the sanctuary floor. More about this in the months ahead. We hope to have it by the end of the calendar year.
We received a most generous anonymous donation to enhance our sound system. In June, we were able to update our mixer and purchase new microphone systems from Sound Design, the firm with whom we contracted. There are two more stages of this process that we hope to put in place as funds become available. We have applied for grants that will enable us to move forward. We will keep you informed!
In the spring, we arranged for a team from the Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living to assess our facility in terms of accessibility for those with mobility devices. A comprehensive report resulted with interesting possibilities for accommodations. As we study the report, we will share the findings.
We are planning to offer volunteer opportunities for our congregants in community facilities that service people with disabilities. This is currently in the planning stages. Stay tuned for the details.
We now have an MBIEE Inclusion Fund. Please consider us when making donations to the shul.
Our thanks to our hard-working committee. If you wish to join our efforts, please contact us at the email address above, call the office or one of us. We welcome your participation!
Fran Sion and Honey Zazoff, Co-Chairs. Contact us: Inclusion@mbiee.org
This is a video presentation of an Eli talk (Jewish Ted Talks) that Gabby Kaplan-Mayer made a few months ago. She is a member of our Inclusion Team representing Jewish Learning Venture where she is Director of Whole Community Inclusion. She was a featured author at our author event in February. The video is heartfelt and moving. Please watch it.