National Jewish Disability Awareness Month

This February will mark the fourth year that the Adas community is celebrating Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month. This is a wonderful continuation of our work in lifting up the value of inclusion and removing barriers to full participation in our congregational life. These programs, presented by the Inclusion Task Force, comprise a unique set of opportunities to look at the progress we have made and to examine areas for improvement. For information or to get involved please contact Naomi Malka.

We welcome your active participation in the following events:

Sunday, Feb. 4th 10am-12pm in Wasserman Hall

Adas Israel is proud to announce a presentation by NPR Investigations Correspondent Joseph Shapiro in celebration of National Jewish Disability Awareness Month. Joe is the author of No Pity; People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement. This event will also feature a screening of Lives Worth Living, an Independent Lens film from PBS about the legislation that was “an emancipation proclamation for the disabled” Click here for a preview of the film. 

Bagels and coffee will be served.

Tuesday, Feb. 6th 9am-5pm Capitol Hill: Rayburn House Office Building Register Here

Jewish Disability Advocacy Day on the Hill
Join Cantor Brown, Rabbi Alexander and Rabbi Holtzblatt for a day of political action and advocacy on Capitol Hill. The Jewish Disability Network, led by The Jewish Federations of North America and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and co-sponsored by Adas Israel, looks forward to your participation. Please contact if you would like to Adas to cover your registration fee. 



Guest Speaker: Shelly Christensen

Inclusion Celebration Shabbat
Friday, February 9 – Saturday, February 10

Friday, February 9
6pm Return Again Service
6:30pm Traditional Lay Led Service
8pm Community Shabbat Dinner Register Here
Dvar Torah by Sara Vogler: “You, Me, Everyone – The Stories We Carry”

Sara has been a member of the Inclusion Taskforce for three years.  She is a writer and artist, participating in several exhibits, most recently Pancakes and Booze where she had sold an art piece. Sara’s professional art site is here. She is drawn to intentional community spaces and looking to engage more in those areas this year through art and Jewish spirtuality. In her professional life, Sara works at Health and Human Services as a Program Analyst.

Saturday, February 10
9:30am Shabbat Morning Services, Charles E. Smith Sanctuary, Dvar Torah by Shelly Christensen
1:15pm Post-Kiddush Panel Discussion with Shelly Christensen and members of Adas Israel’s Inclusion Task Force, Biran Beit Midrash

Shelly Christensen, MA literally wrote the book on inclusion of people with disabilities, The Jewish Community Guide to Inclusion of People with Disabilities. Her award-winning work as Program Manager of the Minneapolis Jewish Community Inclusion Program for People with Disabilities at Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis led her to co-found Jewish Disability Awareness Month with the Jewish Special Education Consortium. Shelly’s work as founder and Executive Director of Inclusion Innovations, where she provides training, organizational and community development, and strategic planning so Jewish organizations and communities can become more welcoming and inclusive, is the standard in the field of sacred community inclusion. Shelly is a graduate of the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities at the University of Delaware which, she writes, “changed everything I believed about including people with disabilities and their families in the Jewish community and transformed my work as a change leader.”

Inclusion Survey

Diversity and inclusion are core Jewish values. This survey seeks to capture the experiences of all our members around their abilities to access our programs, building and communal life.  We are trying to identify barriers to full accessibility, whether they are physical, architectural, sensory, social, intellectual, or educational.

The questions will help you explain your and/or your family members’ needs to us so we can best address them.  Your answers will help us determine the best allocation of a limited amount of resources in the most intelligent way.


Ruderman Family Foundation

Adas Israel Congregation is proud to be a member of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s Inclusion Initiative.  Supported by a generous grant from the Ruderman Family Foundation, this national cohort is leading the curve of creating truly inclusive communities for people with disabilities.



Inclusion Task Force
Click Here to take our Inclusion Survey

The purpose of the Inclusion Task Force is to actively engage across the Adas community to collaborate and provide enriching experiences that make Adas a leader in the inclusion of individuals with all types of disabilities, welcoming them, their family and friends to our services, programs and building.  The Task Force, our Board, clergy and staff are all engaged in making this happen. 

Task Force Members: Michelle Buzgon, Pamela Ehrenberg, Joel Fischman, Marcie Goldstein, Zoe Gross, Judith Heumann, Debbie Joseph, Amanda Maisels, Naomi Malka, Aurora Reyes, Tamar Shuldiner and Sara Vogler

The Inclusion Task Force congratulates our members Linda Yitzchak, Judy Heumann, and Michelle Buzgon on being Simchat Torah honorees in October 2016.  Each of them has made enormous contributions to the goal of full inclusion in our congregation and in the larger community as well.  Mazal tov!!


Examples of Accommodations at Adas Israel

  • Quiet room with minimal sensory stimulation
  • Sign Language Interpretation
  • Gender Neutral Restroom
  • Large Print Siddurim and Machzorim
  • Allergy-friendly kiddush
  • Accesible Bimah and Reading Table
  • Full time Developmental Support Coordinator in Gan HaYeled
  • Expanded wheelchair & partner seating in sanctuaries
  • Access to livestreaming of popular events through any computer, labtop or mobile device