I appreciate your recent informative article, “Reform Reaches Out,” (Sept 11). I would like to share two additional initiatives of Reform Movement outreach efforts.
First, the Reform Movement is reaching out to Jews with disabilities and their families. The Union for Reform Judaism is working to help our congregations offer full participation in the spiritual, educational and social aspects of synagogue life. Our Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Initiative aims to educate leaders and thus improve attitudes about inclusion of people with disabilities. Via online and in-person workshops, we are actively teaching community leaders, clergy, Jewish professionals, organizational leaders and congregants how to ensure full inclusion and participation of people with disabilities and their families in every aspect of Reform Jewish life.
My personal wish is to take what I’ve learned from my experience as a person with a disability and help all Jews understand that we human beings are, all of us – people with disabilities and people without disabilities – created b’tzelem Elokim (in the Divine image).
Second, your article is absolutely correct that “Reform synagogues are reaching out to various other Jewish groups and have begun partnering with them.” The URJ in partnership with the OU created the historic collaboration, Hineinu, with the Conservative and Reconstructionist movements. All four 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 for people of all abilities.
Thank you for your series on “The State of the Movements.” You are helping all Jews get to know and appreciate one another.
RABBI LYNNE LANDSBERG
Senior Advisor on Disability Issues
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism