I would like to shed light on two issues Dov Linzer addressed in “Inclusion doesn’t happen by accident” (April 20).
While I can’t speak for all synagogues, I can assure you that our synagogue, Agudath Israel in Caldwell, spends time on the issues of those with special needs. Thankfully, our synagogue was recently remodeled and many accommodations were made so that those with physical limitations can be part of our kehilla. Agudath is also determined to meet the needs of all children regardless of their disability or learning differences. I have witnessed many smachot with participation by individuals who, not long ago, would have felt alienated. As soon as a need is identified, Agudath goes into action to make sure that no one is left behind.
Jewish education is a bit more complicated especially when it comes to day schools. As a parent with children in a day school, I was saddened when one of my children could no longer attend. A day school education was a priority for us, but his learning differences could not be accommodated. I do not blame the school for this, they were not equipped to educate him. However, I know that I am not alone — many children leave day schools and some never even start for similar reasons. It would not be easy or inexpensive to broaden our Jewish education resources to accommodate all who want the education, but it is important that we provide the opportunity. The benefits of a day school education apply to all Jewish children. This Herculean task will require cooperation across communities and institutions. While funding is important, dialogue is the first step. I encourage those interested in this topic to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s start the conversation.