Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month is a unified effort among Jewish organizations worldwide to raise awareness and foster inclusion of people with disabilities. Many communities offer various programs for those with disabilities, even during a pandemic, and Northeast Ohio is no exception. Each organization offers something unique and many of them are accepting volunteers. The Cleveland Jewish News sent an email questionnaire to organizations and synagogues that offer services for those with disabilities. Their responses appear below.


B’nai Jeshurun Congregation

27501 Fairmount Blvd., Pepper Pike, OH 44124

216-831-6555 | bnaijeshurun.org

• How have your services transitioned during COVID-19?

We are fully online via live stream and Zoom. We continue to offer twice daily minyan and Shabbat services. Our youth services, children’s choir and inclusion services continue to meet online. Our inclusion service is held every other month and are now virtual. The next one is Feb. 19. When services were in-person, we do have wheelchair accessible restrooms and doors, a family restroom, large print siddurim, noise canceling headphones, magnifier sheets, etc. The list of what we offer is quite extensive, but due to COVID-19, much is not being put to use.

• How can someone volunteer during COVID-19?

Our Chesed committee has organized buddy call lists reaching out regularly to 250 of our most isolated members, contactless delivery of various items for programs and in some cases on-site assistance putting packages together for programs. We also continue to deliver meals and gift cards to those in need or experiencing crisis or illness.

• How can people help you until things return to “normal?”

Participate in our online services, inclusion services and programming, volunteer as indicated above and donate to ensure their continuance.


Congregation Shaarey Tikvah

26811 Fairmount Blvd,m Beachwood, OH 44122

216-765-8300, ext. 101 | shaareytikvah.org

• How have your services transitioned during COVID-19?

Congregation Shaarey Tikvah has one specific program we do each year with YouthAbility and the Jewish Family Service Association Ascentia program (with the exception of this year due to COVID-19). It is called “A Very Special Seder.” It is a full seder meal using an abbreviated and colorful Haggadah using lots of interaction. The meal is followed by singing and dancing.


Temple Anshe Hesed

5401 Old Zuck Road, Erie, PA 16506

814-454-2426 | TAHErie.org

• How have your services transitioned during COVID-19?

Basically, our building is 100% accessible, all on one floor and no stairs or levels from the parking lot into the building and throughout.

• How can people help you until things return to “normal?”

Information is key. It is very helpful to have members of the community checking up on each other and letting me know if someone needs support. Understanding that we are not preventing in-person activities, but are not holding them because it is what our medial team has determined to be safe.

This pandemic has caused considerable financial strain and any financial assistance would be greatly appreciated.


Surburban Temple-Kol Ami

22401 Chagrin Blvd., Beachwood, OH 44122

216-991-0700 | suburbantemple.org

• How have your services transitioned during COVID-19?

ASL interpretation has been a part of our Sunday morning lifelong learning program for many years. We are able to continue providing this service as part of our worship experience and make it available if needed and requested during the educational program. We also continue to provide one-on-one aides during virtual classes for those learners who require this service.

• How can someone volunteer during COVID-19?

We have limited volunteer opportunities with our virtual programming. Interested parties can contact director of lifelong learning, Rabbi Shana Nyer at snyer@suburbantemple.org.

• How can people help you until things return to “normal?”

We continue to strive to meet as many needs as possible, but are always happy to learn about other services we can provide, particularly during the pandemic while our programming is almost exclusively virtual.

– Compiled by Becky Raspe

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