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How to Become More Inclusive on a Tight Budget

How to Become More Inclusive on a Tight Budget

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Adapted from Becca Hornstein, founder and former Executive Director Council for Jews with Special Needs, Phoenix, AZ.

If you can’t afford to: Try this low cost alternative:
Add a ramp or chair lift to your elevated bimah Place a bimah or table in front of the first row of seats and conduct services from there
Install a Shabbat door opener at the building entrance Place volunteers at entrances to assist people entering the building
Add an elevator to reach second floor and above classrooms for students who use wheelchairs Relocate the classroom to the first floor
Add a drinking fountain at wheelchair level Place a paper cup dispenser next to the drinking fountain at the correct height; be sure to keep the dispenser filled with cups
Incorporate spaces for wheelchair seating in an existing sanctuary Change one or two seats at the ends of several rows into removable seats; level the floor for a wheelchair
Remove the stairs to your bimah At minimum, add handrails for those who are unsteady on their feet
Add an accessible stall in the existing bathrooms Build a “Family Restroom” that is large enough for a wheelchair as well as a baby stroller
Install accessible sinks in all restrooms Replace short faucets with longer, kitchen-style faucets and replace round knob handles with longer lever-style handles; cut away the cabinet below at least one sink so a wheelchair can roll under the countertop
Install all new light switches throughout the building Add “wall switch extenders” to lower switches up to 12 inches
Widen all doorways into rooms to accommodate wheelchairs Replace existing door hinges with offset door hinges to gain a couple of inches of width
Replace all doorknobs throughout the building Add “door knob extenders” over the existing doorknobs to create a lever handle
Replace stairs throughout the building Add rough-surfaced, non-skid strips to all stairs
Purchase large print or Braille siddurim Use the office copier to enlarge specific pages and contact the publisher to order Braille and large print siddurim
Provide large print siddurim and chumashim Attach full-page plastic magnifiers with a cord or ribbon inside a number of siddurim and chumashim to be available upon request
Hire a certified, licensed sign language interpreter for services, classes or special events Visit a local college that offers sign language interpreter training to seek an affordable teacher or advanced student
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