June 15, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
June 15, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Congregation Rinat Yisrael And Makor Hold Annual Inclusive Chanukah Minyan

Dov getting his aliyah.

(Courtesy of Makor) Teaneck’s Congregation Rinat Yisrael hosted its third annual inclusive Chanukah minyan on Sunday morning, December 10. Co-sponsored by Makor Care and Services Network, the annual event is billed as being specifically designed “for people with specialized needs, their families, friends and fans.”

“So many people with specialized needs are excluded from davening with a minyan because they might appear to others to be disruptive, or because they need to walk around a bit or require a little extra attention,” said Dr. Stephen Glicksman, director of clinical innovation at Makor and a member of Congregation Rinat Yisrael. “Others may attend shul but haven’t been offered an aliyah since their bar mitzvah. This minyan gives everyone with and without specialized needs the opportunity to pray together in a welcoming, accessible, sensory-aware atmosphere. The hope is that everyone will be exposed to what individuals with different challenges are capable of, and become more inclusive all year round.”

Enjoying the minyan.

Rabbi Chaim Strauchler, rabbi of Congregation Rinat Yisrael, said: “The inclusive Chanukah minyan for families with specialized needs has become a beautiful part of our shul’s culture. Rinat Yisrael welcomes everyone—but we know that a regular service can be challenging. Chanukah is about seeing Hashem in unexpected places. Each of our lives is a miracle from Hashem. We often just need a little help to appreciate this truth. May this special davening opportunity help all of us do just a little more to appreciate the divine image in one another.”

The davening was led by well-known singer Jeff Braverman, with Jonathan Rimberg joining with his guitar for Hallel, giving the event a vivacious and uplifting spirit. The shul was specifically set up to give space for individuals with sensory and mobility issues, and the post-davening treats included gluten-free doughnuts and gelt along with sugar-free and more traditional Chanukah fare. “Imagine having to say to your child, ‘I’m sorry, you can’t have those’ every time they pass the doughnuts on the way out of a minyan or event on Chanukah,” said Glicksman. “We really try to design this minyan so that everyone can take part in every aspect, from the kibbudim (honors) to the treats afterwards.”

Jeff Braverman and Jonathan Rimberg.

Jacob Adler, who attended the minyan with his father, Hillel, described the event as “…really fun! I liked the donuts and hanging out with my friends and having a lot of singing. I love coming every year.” Debbie Marcus, whose son, Dov, has autism and attends Rinat regularly, added: “We are so grateful for the Rinat/Makor Chanukah minyan. Our son has a very strong connection to davening in shul. This minyan gave him an opportunity to really participate and get an aliyah. This experience was a true highlight of our Chanukah.”

The Adlers at the Chanukah minyan.

 

Treats for every need and desire.
Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles