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MetroWest ABLE earns top honors for inclusion
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MetroWest ABLE earns top honors for inclusion

MetroWest ABLE, a network of advocates for people with disabilities and their families, is one of 10 recipients of the Ruderman Family Foundation Prize in Disability.

The award recognizes the recipients’ work in fostering the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the Jewish community.

MetroWest ABLE was one of only three programs in the United States to receive the prize, out of more than 150 applications representing organizations in seven countries.

The award to the program, which is funded by the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, was announced Sept. 13.

Each winning organization will receive a grant of $20,000 to continue its work.

“MetroWest ABLE delivers hope, inspiration, and opportunity to many with disabilities,” said Jay Ruderman, president of the foundation, which is based in Newton, Mass. “It fully exemplifies what the Ruderman Family Foundation looks for when choosing an organization worthy of a Ruderman Prize — and what we look for when choosing a mission we believe strongly in supporting.”

In its four years of existence, MetroWest ABLE has coordinated a network of partner agencies and advocates that serve individuals with special needs and their families.

Among its efforts are Shabbat Shalem, a project in 32 synagogues that promotes the inclusion of individuals with special needs. Close to 20 synagogues participate in a “summit” at which they share best practices and discuss the challenges of adapting congregational life and facilities to those with disabilities.

Another program trains high school students to function as “shadows” so that children with special needs can participate in Jewish community activities with their “typical” peers.

“We are so incredibly honored to be among the first awardees of the Ruderman Prize in Disability,” said Rebecca Wanatick, community of inclusion coordinator for MetroWest ABLE. “MetroWest ABLE looks forward to continuing to promote a fully inclusive community, with access to all aspects of Jewish life in Greater MetroWest.”

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