Bimah Accessibility Project


(see the plans here)

ONE CONGREGATION – ONE BIMAH FOR ALL


“We are supporting the Bimah Accessibility Project because The Jewish Center is one home for all of us. We are donating because he bimah is the focal point of our sanctuary and it should be accessible to everyone.”
            Mark and Carol Pollard

The bimah is the heart of our sanctuary.  It is the gathering place for life cycle events, the focus of our High Holiday worship rituals, and the site that draws us together when we seek comfort from pain and sing out in joy.
 
Unfortunately, the bimah at The Jewish Center is not easily accessible for those who have difficulty climbing steps or use a wheelchair or a walker. We value inclusivity in our community, but entry is barred to the most sacred spot in our sanctuary for many who wish to be there. 
 
Beginning today, however, you have the power to ensure that everyone at TJC has an equal seat in the sanctuary--that we stand by our vision of being an inclusive community and that every one of us can be included on the bimah.

At our mid-year congregational meeting on December 20, we presented preliminary plans for the Bimah Accessibility Project. Based on extensive congregational feedback, input from our incoming Rabbi, Andrea Merow, and in consultation with experts in synagogue design and construction, we have modified the design to be safer, more visually appealing, and cost-effective. The electrical system will also be enhanced to better accommodate improvements to our sound system and the sanctuary will have the necessary infrastructure to provide assistance for the hearing impaired, making our sanctuary even more inclusive. Drawings can be viewed here.

“We are delighted that plans are underway for redoing the bimah. Personally, reaching the blessed space for an honor or to read from the Torah has been a challenge and a burden. It has been difficult not only for our own members, but also for guests who are unable to participate fully because they can’t easily access the bimah. Long overdue, the redesign plan will be a happy and welcome change for which we are grateful.”  
   Rabbi David and Ziona Silverman

In order to make this vision of equal opportunity access a reality, we are launching the One Bimah for All campaign. The goal is to complete construction before the High Holidays. To date, generous congregants have donated or pledged approximately $157,000 towards our $250,000 budget. In addition, $5,000 has been specifically donated to improve our sound system. Others have donated their time and professional talents to the redesign of the bimah and the aesthetics of the sanctuary. 

Just as the bimah should be for everyone, the effort to raise the necessary funds affords us the opportunity for every member of our community to participate. Even our school children are pitching in, making tzedakah boxes to collect donations!

Help us ensure equal access for all by raising ANOTHER $93,000 by April 30!

“I have Multiple Sclerosis.  Nine years ago at our daughter’s Bat Mitzvah I struggled, needing my wife and daughter’s assistance to stand next to her as she read from the Torah for the first time. When Rabbi Adam Feldman z”l asked me if I would be interested in joining a committee to explore accessibility at TJC, my response was “when are we are meeting!?”  It is heartening to see how much the TJC community has engaged in the discussion of enabling accessibility for everyone. We need more financial assistance from the congregation to make sure that the The Jewish Center bimah and sanctuary are accessible to all.  I hope that you will do what you can to help.”
Barry Ableman

Please donate to the Bimah Accessibility Project on-line (insert hot link here) or by sending a check to The Jewish Center and marking your donation for the Bimah Accessibility Project.  This is your opportunity to make our most sacred space accessible and usable by all members of our congregation. Together we can meet our obligation to  ensure equal access to the bimah for all people, regardless of physical limitations. 

One Congregation - One Bimah for All
B’shalom,

Randy Brett, President             
Alexandra Bar-Cohen, President-Elect