We are Inclusive

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We are Inclusive 2017-12-06T21:41:08+00:00

“ . . . for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people” (Isaiah 56:7)

Welcome!   We strive to offer an inclusive and welcoming environment at “the Emanuel,” including people of all backgrounds. A religious “bill of rights” is an integral part of our synagogue by-laws, and Jews by choice are embraced.

We fully support the participation of those wishing to nourish a Jewish identity in their family. Emanuel clergy and congregants greatly appreciate the role of spouses and partners of different backgrounds in family Jewish identity, and are warmly included in the synagogue community.

  • School-age children of intermarried couples are welcome in our religious school, and the parent from a different background is encouraged to participate. To become a Bar/Bat Mitzvah at The Emanuel, the children must have a Jewish mother or have had a traditional conversion. Rabbi Small welcomes discussion about conversion.
  • Adult children, grandchildren and descendants of intermarried families are welcomed here, and  encouraged to take active roles in life cycle events, synagogue programs, as well as receive pastoral support from our clergy.

Singles and single parent families   Our synagogue community welcomes singles, both with and without children.

Same Gender Wedding in our Sanctuary.

LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning) Friendly  We welcome people of all sexual orientations.  Click here for our LGBTQ equality statement

Family-Friendly Congregation Parents may bring children into the sanctuary. Changing tables are provided in both the women’s and men’s restrooms.

Children and adults with special needs  The Emanuel supports an environment for both children and adults with special needs. An example of this is our award-winning resource room is a key component of our religious school.

Physically challenged   We aim to provide full access for All and make efforts to remove obstacles to participation in our worship services and communal activities, as described in our commitment to the Ruderman Inclusion Initiative below:

Ruderman Inclusion Initiative

The Emanuel Synagogue was selected to participate in the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism The Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project (RSIP). This initiative gathered 16 congregations for the purpose of developing and implementing greater inclusion in all aspects of synagogue life

(L) Nancy Fichman, Emanuel’s grant committee chair, with Mr. Jay Ruderman, founder of the Ruderman Family Inclusion Action Community Grant, at the USCJ initial conference in NYC in February 2015.

The select group of 16 kehillot were encouraged to work together, in order to positively impact ALL. Committed to nurturing an Inclusive community for members, lay leadership and clergy, the goal is to enable 100% of membership to productively participate in religious, educational, and social aspects of our synagogue community.

Ruderman Inclusion Project Mission Statement: We will create a supportive and accepting environment at The Emanuel Synagogue to fully include all members in our synagogue.

In order to achieve this we will:

1. Learn what help members need in order to be fully included in all facets of synagogue life, through formal and informal surveys and other appropriate research methods.

2. Serve as advocates for synagogue members’ needs by bringing this information to the appropriate synagogue leaders. This includes assisting with the completion of accommodations when appropriate.

3. Educate and update the synagogue members of the availability of existing supports in the synagogue.

Beth Katten, Emanuel member and Synagogue Librarian, chairs the Inclusion Committee and works with USCJ to develop a comprehensive vision and action plan on greater inclusion.  The goal is to create a fully accessible Emanuel Synagogue congregation, where everything – from access to programs,  services, social activities, as well as attitudes of congregants and leaders – allows for people with disabilities and their families to fully engage in a welcoming, meaningful, caring and inspiring sacred Jewish community.

Rabbi & Beth Katten at USCJ

(R) Beth Katten and Rabbi Small work on the Ruderman Inclusion Grant, USCJ conference, Schaumberg IL, Nov.16, 2015.

In January 2016 the Committee created the following statement of commitment to the physically challenged:

Inclusion and Access at The Emanuel Synagogue “My house shall be called a  house of worship for all people” Isaiah (56:7)  

Welcome! We hope you encounter an inclusive and welcoming environment at “the Emanuel.” We aim to provide full access for All and remove obstacles to participation in our worship services and communal activities.

In keeping with this commitment, we offer:

Access ramp to bimah for wheelchairs and strollers.

  • Priority handicapped parking spaces in our main parking lot
  • Front entrance curb cuts and ramps for wheelchairs, walkers and strollers; level back entrance access
  • Powered doors at front and back entrances
  • Main Sanctuary priority seating space for those with wheelchairs, walkers or strollers
  • Level access in our main lobbies, corridors, Sanctuary, Social Halls and patios
  • A permanent ramp adjacent to the Main Sanctuary bimah (stage)
  • Wheelchair-accessible restrooms on the main level
  • State-of-the-art sound system in Main sanctuary and auditoriums with headsets available
  • Large print prayer books available in the Main Sanctuary and Chapel
  • Upgraded lighting
  • Open seating allowing congregants to find the best spot for them to feel engaged and participate

Need Assistance? Just ask our ushers and greeters, they are here to help!

Questions?   Please Email  Beth Katten, Chairperson of the Inclusion Committee