Posts Tagged: caring community

60+ Reform Rabbis to Shave Their Heads in Support of Pediatric Cancer Research



During the 125th annual Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) Convention, more than 60 Reform rabbis will shave their heads to raise awareness of and funding for pediatric cancer research. As the religious leadership of Reform Judaism, the CCAR Rabbis strive for justice and wholeness and health in the world in for all people. At […]

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Jay Ruderman: Disability Issues are Issues of Social Justice



by Jay Ruderman Wikipedia defines social justice as, “the ability people have to realize their potential in the society where they live.” This definition can be broken down into three parts: realizing potential, in society, and where they live. For Jewish people with disabilities, each of these parts presents a challenge – and for the […]

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Just Say Yes: Inclusion is a No-Brainer



Past President Michael Kaplan likes to tell the story about why he joined his current congregation and ultimately became its president. He talks about one High Holy Days when he entered the sanctuary with his wife, their profoundly challenged son Brandon, and Brandon’s guide dog. Settling into the services, sitting in the front row, they […]

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2013 URJ Biennial

Fostering Inclusion and Accessibility at the 2013 Biennial



Anyone who has attended a URJ Biennial knows that the experience touches your soul, lifts your spirits, increases your Judaic knowledge, and improves your singing ability. Now, the 2013 Biennial will also help congregations and individuals understand how to include those with disabilities as welcome and appreciated full members of your community. This Biennial will […]

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Make Miracles Happen This Hanukkah by Helping Ethan Kadish



On June 29, at Goldman Union Camp Institute, a URJ summer camp near Indianapolis, Ethan Kadish was teaching a group of younger children how to play ultimate Frisbee when a bolt of lightning struck him to the ground. Today, Ethan is in the Rehabilitation Unit at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital preparing for his upcoming discharge to […]

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Camp Newman’s Got Soul



Four years ago I was given a wonderful invitation to join the Nefesh Faculty at Camp Newman for two weeks. Not only were my kids ready to go to Jewish summer camp, like my husband and I did when we were younger, but I could go back to camp? As a School Counselor with summers off it sounded like an intriguing offer.

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Hurricane Sandy and the Reform Movement, One Year Later



A year ago this week, on October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall over the Jersey Shore. The stories from those days will not easily be forgotten: coastal communities flooded with record high tides, lower Manhattan in a prolonged blackout, more than $60 billion in damage in an area stretching from Maryland to Massachusetts. For […]

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Marking One Year Since Hurricane Sandy



Next week marks the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, which caused dozens of deaths, billions of dollars in damage, and left more than 7.5 million people without power. When the hurricane hit, the URJ and its member congregations responded immediately. In total, the URJ’s Hurricane Sandy relief fund collected nearly $850,000 in donations, hundreds of […]

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Sometimes Inclusion Makes Me Nervous



On Yom Kippur morning, an amazing young woman came to our bimah to chant Torah.  She happens to be blind. And while I eagerly anticipated what I knew would be a stunning aliyah, I found myself really nervous. Why would I be nervous?  This should have been a moment of immense pride that the inclusive […]

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Knowing When it’s Time: A Response to Rabbi Rosalind Gold



La-kol z’man; v’eit l’khol khefetz takhat ha-shamayim…eit s’fod v’eit r’kod… (To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven…a time to mourn and a time to dance…) These words from Ecclesiastes 3, so familiar and widely affirmed to us in liturgy and in song, are nonetheless ignored in the common […]

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Ten Steps to Make Your Congregation More Inclusive



Inclusion can seem overwhelming for a community that has not previously made accommodations or offered inclusive programming for individuals with disabilities. My advice? Start small, but start somewhere – and while this may help to make the task seem somewhat less daunting, I suspect that for many, it begs the question, “How do I begin?” […]

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A Family in Our Community Needs Your Help



Ethan Kadish is a 13-year-old boy in great need of the Reform Jewish community’s help. On June 29, 2013, the afternoon peace of Shabbat at URJ Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI) in Zionsville, IN, was shattered by a lightning strike that left three campers unresponsive on the athletic field. Thanks to the skill, courage, and […]

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When We Can’t Make Inclusion Work



Sometimes you just can’t make it work. Thirteen years ago Temple Beth-El in Somerset County, New Jersey, recognized the need for a special education expert in the religious school and hired me to help build and run a program to meet the needs of children who were not experiencing success in traditional classes. We have […]

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When Lightning Strikes and We Are Tested



Last week doctors removed the ventilation tubes from Ethan Kadish and for the first time in almost two weeks he started breathing on his own; this week we’re hopeful he’ll transfer from PICU to rehab. As you may know, Ethan and two other children, suddenly and without warning, were struck by lightning at our URJ […]

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