Beth El’s Inclusion Committee and the synagogue’s overall inclusion practices moved one step up the ladder in early 2015 when we became one of only 15 Conservative congregations in North America selected to be a participant in a USCJ Ruderman Inclusion Action Community Initiative. The Ruderman Foundation, based in Boston, enables Jewish institutions to move their inclusion commitment to the next level, ensuring that no person is excluded or compromised in his or her synagogue participation.
Beth El began a 6-month intensive participation with the other 14 congregations at a 2-day New York City workshop. We attended webinars with Torah study centering on Judaism’s commitment to inclusion, shared and learned from one another about how and what we’ve done to create more inclusive communities, and convened think tank meetings to assess, reflect, and ultimately develop an action plan that will enhance our inclusion portfolio.
Here at Beth El our steering committee has begun the process of developing a wish list of ways to make our shul community even more inclusive. Our goal is to open doors at every level of synagogue life, from the religious school to social events to services, assuring that our Beth El community is welcoming and accessible to everyone.
This must be a process that does not end. We all benefit as we strive to be the most inclusive synagogue possible.