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B'tselem Elohim: in God's image

Accessibility and inclusion are core values, rooted in the ancient idea of b'tselem Elohimthat we are all created in God's image. We work to make all programs and services welcoming. That means understanding and celebrating our diversity as Jews; and respecting the independence and dignity of every congregant and visitor, inviting the full participation of everyone to age-appropriate events.  

We have been named an Exemplar Congregation by the Disabilities Inclusion Learning Center, a partnership of the Union for Reform Judaism and the Ruderman Family Foundation.

February 2022:

February is Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month, often referred to as JDAIM. JDAIM is a unified effort among Jewish organizations worldwide to raise awareness and foster acceptance and inclusion of people with disabilities and mental health conditions and those who love them. 

Of course, awareness and inclusion must encompass, but does not stop, with disabilities. Ensuring a truly welcoming community means understanding and valuing the full range of our diversity. This February, the Temple Sinai Accessibility and Inclusion Committee will be focusing on the “I” in JDAIM, and broadening the lens to racial, ethnic, and family diversity as well as diverse abilities.

What does "inclusion" mean?

“Inclusion” evokes very positive images and is a goal that Temple Sinai works hard to achieve. However, to fully understand what it takes to be inclusive we must also look at its reciprocal, “exclusion,” which often leaves those affected feeling that they are not welcome or included. While such feelings can be challenging for the broader community to understand, hearing and respecting the lived experience of individuals with diverse identities is essential to full and genuine inclusion.

Programs: Shabbat and more

At Friday evening services during February, the Committee will present four programs looking at dynamics of inclusion and exclusion. In addition, there will be a Sunday evening Zoom discussion of the first week’s film and book.

The Committee’s programs will be based upon films available on Netflix, books available on the internet or through your bookseller, and an internet blog. These focus on individuals who do not feel included or welcomed because of their circumstances or identities, whether race, ethnicity, disability, or not conforming to community expectations.

After listening to our speakers, watching the films, or reading the writings, we’d like you to ask yourself the following question: “If I were the protagonist, would I feel included at Temple Sinai?”

  • February 4; Sunday, February 6 

    Film: Crip Camp (2020). Available on Netflix. 
    "Down the road from Woodstock, a revolution blossomed at a ramshackle summer camp for teenagers with disabilities, transforming their lives and igniting a landmark movement." (IMDb) 

    Book: Being Heumann, by Judy Heumann (2021). 
    A story of fighting to belong in a world that wasn't built for all of us and of one woman’s activism.

    Zoom discussion:
    Sunday, February 6, at 7 pm.
    Zoom #812 2040 9681; +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

  • February 11 

    Film: Menashe (2017). Available on Netflix.
    "Within Brooklyn’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community, a widower battles for custody of   his son. A tender drama performed entirely in Yiddish, the film intimately explores the nature of faith and the price of parenthood.” (IMDb)

  • February 18

    Book: The Color of Love: A Story of a Mixed-Race Jewish Girl, by Marra B. Gad. 
    The Color of Love explores the idea of yerusha, which means 'inheritance' in Hebrew. At turns heart-wrenching and heartwarming, this is a story about what you inherit from your family—identity, disease, melanin, hate, and most powerful of all, love.” (Open       Road Integrated Media)

  • February 25 

    Blog: Raising My Kids In Israel/Palestine, by Umm Forat.
    Forat: “As a Jewish woman married to a Palestinian, I live in two worlds, and I wanted to write about life on the other side of the separation barrier, from the point of view of a mixed family.”
Thu, January 20 2022 18 Sh'vat 5782