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ACCESSIBILITY

My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
                                                                   Isaiah 56:7

The congregation’s message of welcome and inclusiveness begins at the front door and is reinforced throughout the entire building. Design solutions for architectural barriers that present challenges are abundant and obstacles can be eliminated when attention is given to how the building is entered, how the grounds are maintained and how people move around, stand, sit and interact with one another. It is the responsibility of every synagogue to be aware that there are members of our congregational family who have difficulty seeing and hearing, who can neither stand nor move about freely and unencumbered to interact with other people and whose psychological perceptions and level of comprehension may vary from the congregational norm.

Low Cost Accomodations For Accessibility in Your Synagogue (PDF)
By Becca Hornstein, Executive Director
Council For Jews With Special Needs

Universal Symbols (PDF)  
Accessibility symbols may be used to promote and publicize places, programs and other activities for people with various disabilities.

Accessibility in worship space involves more than a barrier-free approach to the bimah. Worship involves communication -- the interchange of thoughts, ideas, feelings and facts. There is a barrier to communication when the content of a message is not understood by people with visual, auditory or mental disabilities. Considerations for overcoming barriers include:

  • Large-print prayer books

  • Braille materials

  • Worship services on tape

  • Sign language interpreted services

  • Audio loops and other assisted listening devices

The National Organization on Disability
Extensive information, guidelines and resources for religious institutions including the publication, That All May Worship: An Interfaith Welcome to People with Disabilities.

Articles of Interest & Related Links