Inclusion Initiative plans disability-access brainstorming forum

By Seth Eisenkramer, Jewish Light Staff

The St. Louis Jewish Community Inclusion Initiative will  host  an open forum June 29 to discuss ways to allow full community participation for individuals with disabilities. Ideas may include ways of  providing more access in and out of synagogues and other Jewish institutions, as well as more Jewish programming for people with intellectual disabilities.

The forum is open to people with or without disabilities along with their family and friends, and others in the community.

Rinat Kisin, event coordinator for the Inclusion Initiative, hopes the forum will feature a free-flowing discussion that allows brainstorming about ways people with physical and intellectual disabilities can be more involved in the local Jewish community. 

We did a survey last year, but we are hoping to use the forum as a community event to share ideas, identify needs, and set priorities,§ she said.


Kisin hopes that the Jewish community will attend and benefit from the event. 

The inclusion initiative aims to connect people both with disabilities and without in order to share thoughts, share experiences, share ideas so we can move forward together as a group,§ Kisin said.

The forum is the second event by the Inclusion Initiative this year. It hosted a screening of Praying With Lior,” a  documentary about a young Jewish boy with Down syndrome, during National Disability Awareness month in February.

The movie event was good in the fact that we invited people of all sorts of different abilities, and we are hoping people with similar expertise will come to the forum,§ Kisin said.

The Inclusion Initiative plans for the event to be fully accessible to people with all disabilities, and a respite room will be available for children with special needs. Kisin says that any family with concerns or question about the accessibility should contact her at [email protected] or 314-442-3801.

Participants should not only be those already in contact with the Inclusion Initiative, Kisin said, but also those who tend to act independently. 

We are trying to emphasize the idea of community and working together in order to reach our goals, goals that we plan on setting with the feedback we receive at the forum,§ she said.