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Inclusion

Inclusion

Beth El Synagogue Center extends a hearty welcome to all of the Westchester Jewish community.  To ensure everyone feels embraced by our community, the Keruv Committee meets regularly to address the needs and desires of those who might otherwise fear being marginalized. Keruv’s goal is to ensure that both longtime and brand new members are as comfortable as possible within the Beth El family -that they share in the warmth Beth El generates.

Keruv works on a variety of activity and policy fronts.  Among other things, it has:

  • Made Beth El’s membership application more user-friendly for individuals and for single parent, intermarried and LGBT families.
  • Hosted a presentation on intermarriage by a panel of Beth El members that initiated a congregation-wide, continuing discussion (Let’s Talk About It) in congregants’ homes, aimed at bringing close non-Jewish family members and fostering our community’s connectedness.
  • Invited Wayne Hoffman, author of Sweet Like Sugar, to speak to Beth El adults and Hebrew High Schoolers about his experiences as a gay man in the Jewish world.
  • Updated and publicized our accommodations for those who have impairments in hearing, vision and/or mobility.
  • Welcomed developmentally disabled Jewish adults to celebrate Shabbat and holidays with us on a regular basis.
  • Initiated targeted social programming for single adults in our community.

Keruv grapples with requests, complaints, challenges and successes at its regular monthly meetings (and is always seeking interested, new members). Questions? Contact Nina Luban at nina.luban@gmail.com or Elise K. Richman at elisekrichman@gmail.com

Keruv Gearing Up for 2016

The meaning of the Hebrew word keruv is bring closer. The mission of Beth El’s Keruv Committee is to bring Jewish households in our community closer to Judaism through our home at Beth El. Our focus: intermarried couples and their families who seek Jewish communal connection.

Intermarriage is a subject of concern at family, community and Jewish leadership levels. It’s the subject that gave birth to the Keruv Committee a half dozen years ago, and it is a conversation the Committee aims to continue.

Stay tuned for program announcements throughout the year, including opportunities for learning and group discussions with Rabbi Schuck. Join us to explore how interfaith marriages might be brought closer to our Jewish community.

For more details, e-mail committee co-chairs Elise Richman (elisekrichman@gmail.com) or Nina Luban (nina.luban@gmail.com).

Keruv News 

The High Holidays are a special time of year when we all come together as one community, greeting old friends and meeting new neighbors.  It is a time we want to be as inclusive as possible. Toward that end, the Keruv (Inclusion) committee and its BeTzelem Elokim taskforce want to let you know some of what Beth El offers to bring us all closer.  

Large print Mahzors (High Holiday prayer books) are available to anyone who asks.  Simply request one from one of the greeters or ushers.  Similarly, we have audio-amplification devices that you can request.  These come with earbuds or you can use your own.  The library will be set apart as a  “quiet room” where those who need to retreat from the hubbub can do so.  The room will not be staffed, so a parent is expected to accompany any child who would benefit.  Anyone attending services in a wheelchair, who is not able to transfer to a regular seat, should please contact Linda Newman in advance so she can ensure there is space to accommodate you.  She can be reached by calling the main number and then dialing x246 or by emailing her at lnewman@bethelnr.org

We have two inclusive gender-neutral, handicapped accessible restrooms, one on the upper level (where the main sanctuary is located) and one on the lower level (where the youth services are held).  Our elevator stops on all three levels in the main building.  Just a reminder: it is not always apparent why a youth or adult might need an inclusive restroom.  Please refrain from judging or chastising anyone using these restrooms!  On the other hand, if you are capable of using the Ladies Lounge or Men’s Room located on the first level, please reserve the inclusive restrooms for those who are not.

For the last couple of years we have not had anyone attending High Holiday services who speaks American Sign Language (ASL).  Since interpreters who are proficient in Hebrew, English and ASL are rare and expensive, we only engage one if we know someone will benefit.  By the time you are reading this, it is probably too late for this year, but if you know someone who would like to attend our holiday services but requires a signer, please alert the office so we can try to accommodate you in the future.  Similarly, it is late for this year, but some of our parents of children with special needs would love to attend services for a couple of hours, but can only do so if an adult “buddy” watches their child outside of services while they pray.  If you would consider volunteering to be a buddy for a designated time, please contact Elise Richman at elisekrichman@gmail.com or call the office.

Of course, we all know that the best way to help Beth El be inclusive is for all of us to be sensitive to one another, smile and offer a helping hand.   Our congregation excels at being such a community.  As we reflect and celebrate together, may we all be inscribed in the Book of Life.  Happy holidays!

Elise Richman

Nina Luban

Keruv Co-Chairs

Sun, 23 April 2017 27 Nisan 5777