Ten Steps to Make Your Congregation Inclusive

Ten Steps to Make Your Congregation More Inclusive; Removing the Stumbling Block

Has your community undertaken significant work around diversity and inclusion? Hooray! I have noticed that at times it seems that disability has gotten lost in broader conversations where the focus is on racial equity and/or LGBTQ+. It can seem overwhelming for a community that has not previously made accommodations or sought to fully include individuals with disabilities to tackle this. 

From many years of coaching congregations my advice would be: Start small, but start somewhere. And while this may help to make the task seem somewhat less daunting, I suspect that for many, it begs the question, "How do I begin?"

Inclusion is a Funny Thing

Welcome, we are building an inclusive community; Removing the Stumbling Block

updated 2022

Inclusion is a funny thing. When it is “done right”, it’s not something to talk about. It just is. Being inclusive means accepting all people for who they are regardless of their abilities or race or religion or gender or…or…or…. 

7 Hacks EVERY Teacher Can Use Right Now To Be More Inclusive

There’s lots of talk about ways to make schools and classrooms more inclusive of diverse learners with a broad range of abilities.

7 Hacks EVERY Teach Can Use Right Now To Be More Inclusive; Removing the Stumbling Block

And while there are many teachers who “buy in,” recognizing the value of full inclusion, there is still a gap between desire and skill set. Many continue to shy away from making their classroom a space where learners of a range of abilities truly belong because they believe that they do not have the expertise needed, and often fear they might “do it wrong” or make too many mistakes.

Reflection on Yom Kippur

Updated 2022

The purpose of fasting on Yom Kippur; Removing the Stumbling Block

The Jewish high holy days require many hours of thoughtful preparation. It is a time of introspection, even as we work to help prepare others in our families, our congregations, our lives. 

And the pandemic changed everything.

Many of us have now experienced two years of "virtual" service experiences. In many spaces, there are now a hybrid of service options available. Yom Kippur, the most solemn day of the Jewish year, can be complicated. For many it is a day spent in synagogue and/or fasting. Do not get me wrong, I am deeply grateful for the technology that is making it possible to experience worship without gathering. I am just suggesting that we need to give ourselves the space to recognize that this is different than what it once was, and we need to let ourselves feel whatever emotion accompanies that. I think we need to give ourselves permission to experience Yom Kippur in whatever way we need to. 

Whatever that is, it's ok. 

And an important thought from my wise friend and colleague, Rabbi Ken Carr:
"Fasting on Yom Kippur is a call to a higher level of ethical behavior. It is a signal to recognize the responsibility we bear to other people. It is a shofar blast awakening us to our ability to improve the lives of those who need our help. This true fast is not easy, certainly not as easy as simply not eating and drinking. If our fasting is easy, then the fast will not have served its real purpose. So let us not wish each other a tzom kal, an easy fast; instead, let us wish each other a tzom tov, a good fast, a productive fast, a meaningful fast that leads us to action on behalf of those less fortunate than ourselves."

I wish each of you a tzom tov, a good fast. May this Yom Kippur be a meaningful holiday for those who observe, in whatever way you choose to observe.

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