Several years ago, a couple of DJC members began talking about how to improve accessibility at the DJC. Important in its own right, improving accessibility for all of our members also meshed with the inclusivity principle that has guided the DJC since its inception. Currently, the DJC Accessibility Initiative (AI) Committee has ten members.
The following is a list of past and current initiatives undertaken by the DJC to increase awareness of accessibility challenges in our community and to improve accessibility for all DJC events.
• Working with Eastminster United Church when they undertook renovations to improve access to the building with an outdoor ramp, elevator, and wheelchair accessible washroom
• Organizing yearly Shabbat Itanu events to raise awareness of the barriers to inclusivity that individuals with a range of disabilities confront on a day-to-day basis
• Identifying designated seating at the high holidays for individuals with mobility, hearing or vision challenges, and their families, to enhance their ability to fully participate in the service
• Identifying a quiet space at DJC/Eastminster United Church for those who may need a break from the intense stimulation of a high holiday service
• Developing a scent-free policy for DJC events, and educating community members about the importance of community participation in scent-free access
• Securing braille and large print siddurim, and working on how to have similar machzorim (high holiday prayer books) available for high holidays
• Undertaking an ‘accessibility audit’ of DJC/Eastminster United Church
• Working with all committees and DJC staff and volunteers to raise awareness about the importance of considering accessibility in everything we do
• Improving communication about potential barriers to inclusivity for the full range of DJC events, which will include adding accessibility notes to all events listed on the DJC website calendar
In addition, we always welcome input from our community on how we can do a better job. Please reach out to us with any ideas or feedback. The AI committee values your input and is here to provide assistance for anyone seeking help to attend a DJC event. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.