Ruderman Inclusion Initiative

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Ruderman Inclusion Initiative 2016-11-16T16:59:31+00:00

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.

Our Emanuel Synagogue was selected to participate in the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Ruderman Family Inclusion Action Community Grant.

This initiative identified and gathered 16 congregations for the purpose of developing and implementing greater inclusion in all aspects of synagogue life. We aim to enable 100 percent of our membership to participate productively in the religious, education and  social life of our synagogue community. We are committed to nurturing a truly inclusive community. This non-monetary grant encourages the select group of 16 kehillot to work together for the purpose of developing and implementing greater inclusion in all aspects of Synagogue life, positively impacting ALL by enabling 100% of our membership to productively participate in religious, educational, and social aspects of our synagogue community.  The kehillot are committed to nurturing an Inclusive community for our members, lay leadership and clergy.

Ruderman Inclusion Initiative 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 research methods as appropriate.

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.

Rabbi & Beth Katten at USCJ

Beth Katten and Rabbi Small working on the Ruderman Inclusion Grant at the USCJ conference in Schaumberg IL, November 16, 2015.

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

Beth Katten, an Emanuel member and Emanuel Librarian tchairs the Inclusion Committee. Through the grant, USCJ will work with us 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 the entryways to all of the building’s most important and sacred spaces, from interactive educational programs to participatory prayer services, from social activities to the very attitudes of congregants and leaders – allow people with disabilities and their families to fully engage in a welcoming, meaningful, caring and inspiring sacred Jewish community.


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:

Priority handicapped parking spaces in our front driveway and main parking lot
Curb cuts and ramps for wheelchairs, walkers and strollers in the front entrance and level access in our back entrance
Powered doors at front and back entrances
Priority seating space in the Main Sanctuary for people 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) allowing access for wheelchairs and walkers
Wheelchair-accessible restrooms on the main level
Changing tables in women’s and men’s restrooms
State-of-the-art sound system in the main sanctuary and auditoriums
Headsets for the hearing impaired
Large print prayer books available in the Main Sanctuary and Chapel
Upgraded lighting
Open seating that allows people to find the best spot for them to feel engaged and participate
Need Assistance? Ask our ushers and greeters.

Questions? Please contact Beth Katten Chairperson of the Inclusion Committee at