Two OU member shuls, Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan and the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, were recipients of Synagogue Inclusion Awards presented by UJA-Federation of New York’s Caring Commission to mark the celebration in February of the organization’s Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month in the New York metropolitan area. This celebration coincides with the designation of February as NAIM – North American Inclusion Month by NJCD/Yachad, the OU’s program for individuals with learning, developmental and physical disabilities. The two OU synagogues, which were among the eight that received the award, organized programs together with Yachad.
According to UJA-Federation, Lincoln Square Synagogue “hosts awareness-raising events…discussing issues such as the experience of learning disabled children in the day school system, and the challenges of raising an autistic child.” The Hebrew Institute of Riverdale “held a Yachad Shabbaton for disabled and typically-developing teenagers to learn and hang out together.”
Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, National Director of NJCD/Yachad, said, “It is gratifying to us when we see synagogues and other communal institutions recognized for their activities and commitment to becoming fully Inclusive. We look forward to working with other synagogues, assisting them to emulate Lincoln Square and the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, in helping everyone belong.”