The mission of Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) is to unite Jewish communities and organizations for the purpose of raising awareness and supporting meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities and their families in every aspect of Jewish life. As a community, we have made great strides to include all of our members in Jewish life and learning. Congregations across Greater MetroWest have made the commitments to provide opportunities for individuals with special needs and their families to participate fully in Jewish life. Since 2009, over 50 congregations in Greater MetroWest have made the commitment to participate in Shabbat Shalem in celebration of JDAIM.
Shabbat Shalem, Shabbat made "whole and complete" by the inclusion of all of its members, is celebrated during Jewish Disability Awareness Month in February. We recognize that inclusion is something that occurs naturally in so many of our congregations year round. During Shabbat Shalem, congregations help us to raise the level of awareness across Greater MetroWest, toward creating a community made whole by the inclusion of all of its members. We look forward to a Greater MetroWest in which all members of our community can participate fully in every aspect of Jewish life.
A wonderful outcome of Jewish Disability Awareness Month has been the creation of Synagogue Inclusion Committees. To date, twelve congregations have taken it upon themselves to create committees that address issues and questions related to special needs in their own congregations. These groups provide an opportunity for people with disabilities to get the services they require in order to fully participate in congregational life, and serve as a means by which to continually update and enhance the needs that are being served in synagogue life.
Chairpersons of the Synagogue Inclusion Committees meet periodically each year with Rebecca Wanatick, Community Coordinator for Greater MetroWest ABLE, to exchange ideas and share information. Please contact, Rebecca Wanatick at (973) 929-3129 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in becoming involved or starting a committee in you synagogue!
Greater MetroWest ABLE is in the process of recognizing congregations that meet specific criteria to become ABLE Awarded. Greater MetroWest ABLE has created a self-assessment tool to be used by synagogues to gauge their level of accessibility and plan for further enhancements. Congregations that embark on this process can achieve special recognition from the Greater MetroWest community as an ABLE AWARDED synagogue. Please review the Greater MetroWest Congregational Inclusion Chart to see the awarded congregations.
Congregations across Greater MetroWest provide accommodations for members of the community with disabilities. By creating accessible facilities and programming, congregations afford opportunities for individuals and their families to fully participate in Jewish life in Greater MetroWest. For more information on the accommodations provided in specific Greater MetroWest congregations, click here.
The Greater MetroWest Madrichim program is an advocate training component that reaches out to area synagogues, recreational programs and camps. This program provides training for teens to support a child with a disability in a religious school or recreational setting, creating opportunities for all individuals to participate fully in Jewish experiences. For more information on the program, contact Rebecca Wanatick, Community Inclusion Manager, at email@example.com or (973) 929-3129.