The Israeli non-profit organization A Place for All has announced a special Shabbat devoted to awareness of the plight of people with disabilities. And to mark the occasion, has also produced a guide to making one's community more accessible to those with disabilities.
In honor of "Shabbat of Love Thy Neighbor and a Place for All," the association is recommending that each synagogue invest in books for the visually impaired, both those who rely on Braille and those who need large-print texts.
The foundation is also urging synagogue officials to purchase microphones and speakers, so that the hearing-impaired can participate in the services, something that "is important for community members and parents of community members who have lost their hearing over the years."
So that these devices can be used on Shabbat and holidays, during which most of the synagogue activity takes place, the organization recommends operating systems that also facilitate such usage, such as those developed at the halachically observant technological institute Zomet.
Another suggestion is for messages to be in "clear and simple language understandable to all, including those with cognitive disabilities and language disabilities". Sermons should also use clear and simple sentences, the guide says.
The guide also advises the installation of a ramp at the entrance to the men's and women's sections, as well as a ramp that would allow disabled worshipers to mount the bimah.