Reflections on inclusion from the USCJ Convention


At the Ruderman Family Foundation (RFF), we believe that an inclusive mindset is the most critical component of an inclusive culture.  When we refer to an inclusive mindset, we are speaking of the belief that inclusion is essential for the vitality and continuity of our communities.  From the perspective of Jewish continuity, we can’t afford to exclude the 20% among us who have disabilities.  And at a time when our synagogues are seeking members who will get involved, serve on committees, and bring new energy, we rely on everyone.

Another key element of an inclusive mindset is the belief that a welcoming attitude makes all the difference in the world.  Things like ramps and elevators are important, but by themselves, objects do not make people feel welcome.  People display hospitality through their words and actions: a congregant who greets a newcomer with a friendly smile, a rabbi who talks about inclusion from the pulpit, an outreach professional that includes pictures of congregants with disabilities in marketing materials – these are examples of things that we can all do to make people feel welcome.  And, luckily, they cost no money and very little time.

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