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Inclusivity for ALL

07/28/2021 03:36:07 PM

Jul28

Rabbi Sam Trief

When I first visited Temple Sinai over 5 years ago, I remember distinctly how comfortable and at-home I felt. It was a feeling that drew me in as soon as I walked through the front doors. 

I now honor this as one of the most inspiring characteristics of the Temple Sinai community, the fact that we strive to make Sinai a welcoming and inclusive place for ALL. It is a fact, however, that we must not take for granted, and must always work to improve.

One way that we actualize this value is through our Hineini Committee which focuses on inclusion, accessibility, and cherishing the uniqueness that embodies our membership and makes our community stronger.

As a committee, we have reimagined what we want life to look like at Sinai, post-pandemic. Together, we have determined to double down and reemphasize the importance of every single person feeling comfortable at Sinai. 

Earlier this summer, the Hineini Committee was awarded a micro-grant by the Jewish Abilities Alliance, a committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. The purpose of this micro-grant is to help make our campus more accessible for our members. 

We used the majority of our funding to create Shalom Stations, mobile units that hold noise-canceling headphones, fidgets, seating enhancements, large print prayer books and accessibility information about our building and the programs we provide.

Starting THIS Shabbat, these mobile units will be placed outside of the sanctuary and can be moved to the preschool wing, Ackerman Hall or anywhere else when needed.  The contents of the Shalom Station will help congregants concentrate and feel more comfortable while at Sinai regardless of age or limitation. We hope that by providing these enhancements, we can make it easier for everyone to enjoy their experience at Temple Sinai. 

This week in our Torah Portion, Ekev, Moses promises that the Israelites will prosper if only they listen to God’s commandments. In so doing, Moses invites us all to think about the following question: are we living up to the commandments that the Jewish People have promised to follow?  The Shalom Station is ONE small way that our committee is trying to elevate a critical Jewish value and live up to the promises we have made to this community. 

We hope you will join us this Shabbat at Temple Sinai and check out our Shalom Station. We also invite you to reflect upon other promises you have made to yourself and others, and to reflect on how we can all be more inclusive of others. If exploring these questions are of interest to you, we invite you to join our Hineini committee.  You can do so by emailing me at strief@templesinaiatlanta.org. We hope you will add your voice to this important, unfolding dialogue. 

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Sam Trief

Wed, December 1 2021 27 Kislev 5782