Our mission is to provide the opportunity for full inclusion and participation of all people regardless of behavioral, emotional, cognitive or physical ability, in all areas of Beth El Congregation’s religious, spiritual, and communal life.
In 2010 Beth tevel Congregaton’s Inclusion Committee became a reality. Beth El had already committed to many inclusionary practices, such as positive changes in our religious school and rabbinic leadership that encouraged more inclusive worship services. Our Inclusion Committee was the first one of its kind in a Pittsburgh Conservative congregation. The committee is comprised of parents of children and teens with special needs and adults who themselves have experienced a disability. The year prior, 2009, Beth El joined the nationally driven Jewish Disability Awareness Month, holding its first “Disability Awareness” Shabbat service. The service was received enthusiastically by our congregants, some saying it was the most memorable service they had ever attended. We then moved to the next step, creating our Inclusion Committee. Five years later, we have celebrated five more Inclusion Shabbat services, with many more children and adults, those who are “typical,” those who can be considered “even more so,” and those who care and are committed to inclusionary practices.
We are proud to be part of the Ruderman Inclusion Action Community
In 2015, Beth El applied for and was accepted into the Ruderman Inclusion Action Community. This Community, sponsored by the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism and funded by the Ruderman Family Foundation, is a collaboration of 16 Conservative kehillot from across North America, coming together to help each other become our inclusive best.
Through our participation in this initiative, Beth El formed a steering committee charged with the task of honestly assessing our strengths in the area of inclusion and those things that we could be doing to more effectively position us as a community of affirmation which welcomes and accepts the contributions of all of its members. The result of this effort is our Ruderman Action Plan which set forth our goals, as of the fall of 2015. This Action Plan presents an assessment of our current state of inclusion and makes a number of recommendations as to specific action items that could move us along this desired path. While this path is ever-evolving, we invite you to read our complete Action Plan here.
We carry the spirit of inclusion throughout our building and community, opening our doors to all who wish to participate.
We are grateful for our rabbis, our educators, our professional leadership, and our Board, all of whom have provided our Inclusion Committee with the support and encouragement it needs to move forward, ensuring that we are fulfilling the goal of the mission statement we created.