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.
If you have a concern or suggestion–or if something prevents you from participating in Beth El’s community life as you wish–please contact Joan Charlson or Stacey Diaz.  We are here to help!

Special Needs?

No one is more welcome at Beth El than you.  If you need special accommodations to join us for any of our services or programs, please contact our Executive Director Steve Hecht at (412) 561-1168.

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Recent blog posts

On Grief

The following is the text of Rabbi Amy’s 2018 Yom Kippur sermon: A few months ago, I was out for dinner with my book club.  At the end of the meal, along with the check, the waitress gave us a handful of wrapped sesame candies.  One of my friends said with a wistful smile, I…

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Jenna’s Squad Gets Crafty

Jenna’s Squad got crafty this month!  First they decorated triangle-shaped Rice Krispie Treats for a gluten-free mishloach manot treat (see directions below.)  Then they decorated masks with feathers and gems.   This 7th grade group of girls is all ready for Purim! Ingredients Homemade Rice Krispie Treats cut into triangles Lollipop sticks 15 oz bar of…

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Spiegel Religious School Update

Our kids have been busy participating in many fun programs and events! On February 4, our Chaverim students participated in the annual World Wide Wrap. Synagogues from all over the world take part in this one-time-a-year-event, held on Super Bowl Sunday. Rabbi Alex taught students and parents how to put on tefillin, and students had…

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