The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
Use these questions as starting points for discussion of attitudinal and physical barriers in your congregation.
• Do people with disabilities participate in the religious or political leadership of the congregation?
• What does the congregation do to encourage the participation and recognize the contributions of people with disabilities?
• Is there a plan for including children with disabilities in your religious school?
• Can and do people with disabilities celebrate life cycle events in your congregation? If not, do you know why?
• Is there a way for people with disabilities to offer suggestions and expertise on reducing barriers in the congregation without feeling like they are complaining or imposing?
• Are all congregational services, events, and meetings scheduled in accessible locations?
• Do you use "people-first language" in your speech, temple newsletters, etc.? (This is language that refers to the person first and the disability second. For example, "person with paraplegia," instead of "paraplegic.")
• Does your congregation offer a way to teach members and children about people with disabilities?
• Do you reach out to members of the congregation who can’t get to the building? Does someone offer to drive? Do you offer to hold a service or class at their home?
• Do you reach out to and acknowledge the needs of family members and life partners of people with disabilities?
• Is the rabbi a role model for creating a welcoming attitude?
• Does your synagogue have a board-level committee or task force on the inclusion of people with disabilities?
• Has your congregation adopted a statement on inclusion?
• Does your congregation indicate a willingness to raise money for and/or think creatively about ways to be accessible and welcoming?
• Has there been a discussion or training session with staff members, board members, congregants, and teachers about how to make guests and constituents with disabilities feel welcome and included?
• Do all publicity and written materials say “All are welcome”? Is it written in an easy-to-read typeface and font?
• Is the universal access symbol posted in ads, signs, and in the congregation’s newsletter or bulletin?
• Do people with disabilities participate as ushers, lead services, sing in the choir, or serve on committees?
• Are people with disabilities encouraged to apply for jobs and serve on the Board of Directors?
• Are written materials, including prayer books, bulletins, newsletters, fliers, and brochures available in large-print, Braille, and/or by e-mail?
• Is the building accessible to people who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices? Is there a passenger elevator in the building does not include the service elevator? Is there a ramp or lift to the building and to the bimah?
• Is sign language interpretation provided at all programs and events that people who are Deaf might attend?
• Does everyone enter through the same doorway? If not, is the accessible doorway welcoming and attractive?
• Are assistive listening devices available in the sanctuary, classrooms, and meeting rooms?
• Are light switches, water faucets, water fountains, and mezuzot at appropriate heights for people who use wheelchairs or who are small?
This checklist compiled from: