Kol Ami קול עמי – The Voice of Our People, is reflected in how we approach Inclusion.
How can we make sure that all people who desire may join us in the spirit of full community recognizing that we are all made in God’s image?
The mission of the Inclusion Committee is to evaluate, develop and recommend to the Board of Trustees policies and procedures concerning the inclusion and participation of all people in all areas of Congregation Kol Ami’s religious and communal life. Because of the importance of this work, we had adopted a special needs policy to elevate and cement the place of inclusion at our synagogue.
We have focused our inclusion efforts in the broadest sense of the word with two different Board recognized committees: (1) LGBTQ, which fosters Kol Ami as a safe space in our synagogue for all LGBTQ Jews and to provide education for those looking to learn, grow and provide support to this community; and (2) Special Needs, which seeks out ways to enhance the Kol Ami experience regardless of physical, cognitive, emotional or behavioral ability.
For our Audacious Hospitality and our LGBTQ efforts demonstrating a high level of inclusion, impact, innovation and replicability, Kol Ami received the Belin Award Selection Committee chose our synagogue as one of the 2017 award winners.
Our ongoing efforts to welcome, accommodate and include those with special needs, was also recognized as one of a select few Exemplar Congregations, during the 2017 URJ biennial conference. We also received the Lasko Family Foundation Grand for disability inclusion in 2012.
Inclusion – LGBTQ
Integrating LGBTQ inclusion into our synagogue’s fabric is of utmost importance, as is our desire to ensure dignified documentation, signage and wording on our forms and flyers to be inclusive of all individuals. Our leadership and educators are aware of inclusive practices to use, as well as the intent to create educational opportunities to further their progression in the area.
Inclusion – Special Needs
The approach of the Special Needs committee is defined by three pillars.