What Does it Take to DO Inclusion?

I have said before that inclusion is not a program. And inclusion is not something that we do for people with disabilities.  Rather, inclusion is a mindset, an attitude, a way of thinking that opens doors to opportunities for meaningful engagement, contribution and belonging.

However, there is no question that we must act in order to make inclusion a reality in our synagogues. 

The first thought that came into my mind when I saw this prompt was the famous Nike slogan, “Just Do It”. I’ve been a part of many conversations where those involved lament the insurmountable barriers that prevent inclusion from happening.  I’ll be honest.  In most of those conversations what I most want to say is, “Really?  Have you tried?  No? Then just do it!”

Think of Nachshon.  When the Israelites, on their Exodus from Egypt, reached the sea, with Pharaoh’s army hot on their tail, they were convinced that all was for naught.  But Nachshon, knowing that to go back meant certain death, certain failure, chose instead to trust in God and walked forward into the sea.  And as the midrash goes, it wasn’t until the water was up over Nachson’s mouth and nose that the sea finally parted and the rest of the Israelites could follow and safely cross.

This is the kind of action that can make inclusion a reality. Nachshon needs a pair of Nike’s, because he is the epitome of Just Do It!

Now it is your turn.  Have faith and walk into the water. Take your first step toward inclusion.  The others will follow.

“Just Do It”

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