Org. Name: Combined Jewish Philanthropies
Location: Boston, MA
Mission: Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) combines expertise and resources to create positive, life-changing results for people in need, for our friends in Israel and for the future of the Jewish community.
Name of joint project: Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project
Partnership description: The Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project (RSIP) is a partnership between CJP and the Ruderman Family Foundation to support synagogues in creating communities where people of all abilities are valued equally and participate fully.
The goal of the Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project is to expand the welcome and inclusion of people with disabilities, in synagogues across the Greater Boston area, through the dissemination of the following resources:
- Access to local and national experts in the field of inclusion
- Opportunities for teaching, networking and sharing best practices across a wide section of Boston congregational communities; and
- Opportunities to receive financial support for innovation and excellence in the development of synagogue inclusion strategies
Year/s funded: 2014
“To build an open, welcoming, inclusive, participatory synagogue is not something that a rabbi can accomplish alone and it’s not something that a zealous congregant can accomplish alone. It requires a community; inclusivity needs to be inherent to the culture of the institution. One of our challenges is How can we be a model of inclusivity and welcoming to other synagogues…so that we can all have places of worship, gathering, and study that include every Jewish person who would like to participate.” Rabbi Benjamin Samuels, Congregation Shaarei Tefillah, Newton, MA
“Many of our families are touched by someone with a disability, either directly or indirectly. One out of every 5 Americans has a disability and that number holds true for the Jewish community—20%. In response to the need to create a Jewish life for Jews of all abilities, The Ruderman Family Foundation, a global leader in inclusion, has asked CJP and the Boston Jewish community to partner with them in the Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project. The project aims to ensure full inclusion and participation of people with disabilities and their families in every aspect of Boston Jewish congregational life.
Thanks to the Foundation’s generous support of the Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project, we are extending an open invitation to the Boston congregational community to explore new ideas underway in the community that will help us expand inclusion and create congregations that welcome all people. I am challenging myself, you, and our community leaders, members and individuals to take a personal stake in creating Jewish congregations where regardless of a person’s differences, they are valued and included in all aspects of Jewish life.” Barry Shrage, CJP President