Jewish Federation of St. Louis has awarded $47,830 in grants to 15 Jewish schools, agencies and congregations for inclusive programs. This is the first time that Jewish Federation of St. Louis has gifted Inclusion Mini-Grants to help Jewish organizations become more inclusive to individuals with disabilities and their families.

“Thank you to Jewish Federation of St. Louis and the new Inclusion Grant program,” said Liessa Alperin, Director, Shaare Emeth Religious School. “Because of these funds, Shaare Emeth and the St. Louis community are able to move closer to being a truly inclusive place for all of our students and their families. The community benefits when there are more doors opened and more roads paved for families who until now have felt isolated from the community because of a lack of support.”

The 15 projects granted present a variety of inclusive programs, including accessibility and equipment purchases, training and workshops, students support and social activities.

“The Inclusion Grants help small congregations like ours to fulfill our mission by providing funds to transform our physical space and systems to meet the challenges of our congregants and guests,” shared Cyndee Levy, President, Traditional Congregation.

“The Inclusion Mini-Grant will enable us to add much needed hours to our speech and language therapy services and significantly propel our students forward,” said Cheryl Maayan, Head of School, Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community Day School.  “Communication is a critical leadership skill and early intervention can provide some children with the scaffolding upon which to build a life of success.”

2015 Inclusion Mini – Grant Recipients:

  • Aish HaTorah of Greater St. Louis – to ensure the building is accessible to all by repairing the building’s elevator.
  • Central Reform Congregation – to ensure the Congregation is accessible to all by providing open captioning for High Holiday services, installing a power access door at the front entry that would automatically open and purchasing Braille and large type prayer books.
  • Congregation B’nai Amoona – to serve as a community education resource by providing eight workshops throughout the year that would focus on raising awareness and inclusiveness at the Congregation and the Jewish community.
  • Congregation Shaare Emeth – to provide workshops, training and community meetings on inclusion by Matan, a nationally recognized Jewish organization that works on behalf of special needs children and families.
  • Congregation Temple Israel, Deutsch Early Childhood Center – to provide occupational therapist services to students with behavioral and developmental disabilities, 12 months to 5 years old.
  • Friends of Israel Scouts – Tzofim – to become a fully inclusive troop by providing counselors training, purchase of equipment and organize the “Celebrate the differences” program where kids participate in an activity without the use of one of their senses to help them gain insight of what it is like to have a disability.
  • Holocaust Museum & Learning Center – to allow individuals with physical disabilities access to the Museum independently by purchasing and installing a new lift with a power door that opens automatically for the person using the lift.
  • National Council of Jewish Women – St. Louis Section – to make the NCJW office accessible for all by converting two small bathrooms into one ADA bathroom.
  • Neve Shalom – to learn and address the issue of mental illness in the Jewish community by providing educational workshops to the community.
  • Nusach Hari B’nai Zion – to allow individuals with disabilities to participate in the Congregation’s activities by purchasing and installing a remote conference video system.
  • Ohr Atid, Light of the Future, Inc. – to create a Sunday school environment for kids and young adults with disabilities by pairing them with Washington University of St. Louis volunteer students.
  • Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community Day School – to support students with learning disabilities by providing 100 hours of speech therapy services during school day.
  • Torah Prep of St. Louis – to establish an Inclusion Center at school that would provide individualized and specialized education for students with physical, emotional and learning disabilities.
  • Traditional Congregation – to enhance services for seniors and members with disabilities by purchasing large print siddurim, new phone tree recording system and installation of two cement ramps for accessibility to the sukkah.
  • Untied Hebrew Congregation – to ensure the congregation is accessible for all by installing permanent assistive listening system in the sanctuary, auditorium and chapel.