It’s difficult for some people to sit still and be quiet during a typical Shabbat service. To help people with disabilities, mental health challenges or other special needs feel more comfortable, Congregation Har HaShem will host a community-wide No Shushing Shabbat, allowing those attending the freedom to move about and make noise. The service, which is open to the community, happens during Jewish Disability Advocacy Month (JDAM) on Friday night, February 27 at 6:00 pm in Har HaShem’s sanctuary at 3950 Baseline Road in Boulder.
The service features a sign language interpreter, spread out chairs, lower lights and a shorter service. Sensory toys will be available. After the service, the Oneg will feature gluten-free and other desserts and time for networking and relaxing.
“Often family members with a cognitive, behavioral or developmental disability can’t sit through a regular service,” says Susan Glairon, who leads the synagogue’s inclusion committee. “We wanted to create an opportunity for everyone to celebrate Shabbat.” Glairon added that committee members had previously collected stories from Boulder-area parents of children and adults with disabilities, and many said that they often did not feel welcome at their synagogues and churches.
Har HaShem has been recognized for successfully promoting inclusion of people with disabilities in congregational life. It is featured as an exemplar/mentoring congregation on an online learning site that is part of the Union for Reform Judaism-Ruderman Family Foundation Initiative on Disabilities Inclusion.
Jewish Disability Awareness Month is a worldwide initiative to raise awareness and to support efforts to foster inclusion of people with disabilities and their families in Jewish communities worldwide. It is universally recognized in February.
For more information, contact Susan Glairon at firstname.lastname@example.org