Encompass, with support from JUF’s Synagogue Federation Commission, is committed to advancing synagogue inclusion throughout the Chicago area. Our initial work was dedicated to research and engagement, which included congregational and community surveys and focus groups, to better understand barriers to inclusion. The second year built upon lessons learned from the research and focused on continued engagement and education, including four workshops and a cohort of eight congregations which met on a regular basis to share ideas and resources. Now, in the third year, synagogues are putting their lessons to work through a series of projects designed to improve inclusion in a concrete way. Fourteen congregations representing each denomination and from various geographical areas received mini-grants funded by JUF to implement these projects.
Based upon what was learned in our work with synagogues, Encompass and JUF are exploring how to address chronic unemployment and underemployment of adults with disabilities through enhanced workplace inclusion efforts.