Article excerpt from AmeriDisability
Some may be surprised to learn that religious entities are exempt from compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was passed in 1990. However, as Disability Rights Advocate, the late Rabbi Lynne Landsberg once declared, “Despite the legal exemption, the ADA is a moral mandate for faith communities.” As with other sectors of society, inclusion within the faith community is progressing. A recent survey of Jewish individuals fielded by RespectAbility found that a substantial majority — 65 percent — of respondents felt the Jewish community was “better” at “including people with disabilities” compared to five years ago. Of course, there’s room for all to be more mindful of inclusivity! So, as the “Festival of Lights” nears, here are tips for hosting an inclusive Hanukkah Party.
Tips for Hosting an Inclusive Hanukkah Party
Plan to Be Accommodating.
When drafting invitations, include verbiage that expresses willingness to welcome guests of all abilities. For example, “In an effort to host an inclusive, accessible event, please inform us of your requests for accommodation needs.”
If you’re unable to meet such requests, such as securing a sign language interpreter, do inform the guest and explore collaborative solutions.
Examine Venue Accessibility.
Does your event space include accessibility features, like a ground-level entrance, elevators, ramps, accessible restrooms, adequate signage, advanced technology, etc.? What about sensory stimulants, such as lighting and sound levels?
Food for Thought.
Should guests have food allergies, celiac disease, or other dietary needs, ensure that offerings are safe for consumption. And are you keeping kosher?