Inclusion

Inclusion is a philosophy and set of practices that ensure full accessibility to individuals with special needs or requirements. At TBS, this includes physical, cognitive, emotional, sensory, and gender related concerns for members of all ages, as well as guests and employees.

The Mission of the Inclusion Task Force (ITF)


To identify any barriers – physical, social, attitudinal, or emotional – that prevent a congregant, their guests, or staff from gaining full access to any spiritual, social or educational event or work-related activity at TBS. The ITF also makes recommendations to the TBS leadership about how to reduce or eliminate any such barriers.

 

We seek to ensure that every modification, adaptation or strategy that makes TBS accessible is available naturally and consistently. We are guided by the goal of providing full “Access without Asking.”

Who’s on the ITF?
The ITF is made up of congregants, student representatives, and TBS administrators who either have a professional interest in the inclusion of individuals with special needs, are siblings, parents or grandparents of children or adults with special needs, or who have some kind of special need themselves. Several members fit into
more than one of these categories. The ITF, which generally meets bi-monthly, is chaired by TBS member and clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Jerry Schultz. Rabbi Perlman serves as Rabbinic Adviser. Sara Berk, a member of the ITF, is the Director of K-12 Inclusion and the Associate Director of K-12 Learning. Sara is our “eyes on” inclusive practices both in the Mayim and Etzim learning programs and for all TBS-sponsored events.
What Have We Done?
TBS has been involved in the Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project (RSIP) for the last six years. Based on our pro-inclusion activities and practices, in 2016–17 we were designated as a Partner Congregation by The Ruderman Family Foundation (“RFF”) in conjunction with CJP. We have participated in and presented at several RFF/CJP sponsored events. We have received funds earmarked for our ongoing inclusive efforts, and we have the honor of serving as a model congregation, committed to assisting other synagogues that are working toward full inclusion. Many ITF members and others regularly attend the Ruderman International Synagogue Inclusion Summits held in
Boston. Members of the ITF have presented information sessions to the TBS Leadership Council and Board of Trustees. We have hosted a series of informative sessions related to inclusion at TBS as part of our celebration of Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM).

Want to Know More about the ITF?

Please contact Sara Berk, Rabbi Perlman, or Jerry Schultz at TBS. Please email inclusion@tbsneedham.org for more information, to become a member/supporter of the ITF, or for information on attending TBS/Ruderman/CJP inclusion-related events.

Temple Beth Shalom

670 Highland Ave, Needham, MA 02494
781-444-0077

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