Disability Inclusion

At Agudas Achim, we are committed to being a truly inclusive spiritual community.  We welcome the friendship, contributions, and leadership of all individuals, regardless of physical, emotional, cognitive, or developmental disability.

Agudas Achim Disability Inclusion  Questionnaire
  • Agudas Achim needs your input and experiences to ensure that we can fulfill our mission of being a truly welcoming and egalitarian community.   

Your feedback is so valuable!  Whether you

  • have a disability, be it physical, sensory, intellectual, emotional, or developmental or any combination thereof or a health-related condition such as food or other allergies;
  • live, work with, and/or assist someone who has such a disability or health-related condition, or
  • want to ensure that our community is accessible to all;

Please complete the Agudas Achim Disability Inclusion Questionnaire online or if you prefer to have a survey mailed to you, please contact the synagogue office at (703) 998-6460. As you complete the survey, you might want to think about what would make our building better equipped to serve the needs of you and your family; how our programming could be modified, and what we should do to make our members more knowledgeable about the needs of congregants and visitors with disabilities. Give thought to accommodations that you or your family member may have received or requested at other synagogues, public buildings, schools, etc. Also, reflect on how you have seen lectures, shows, and concerts made accessible to others or how communities have supported and accommodated individuals with non-physical disabilities including allergies, autism, or emotional disabilities. The survey provides a list of common accommodations needed by some individuals, as well as a place to provide individualized feedback.

The Agudas Achim Disability Inclusion Committee

The Agudas Achim Disability Inclusion Committee was formed in February 2018 on the heels of our very successful Disability Inclusion and Awareness Shabbat weekend. The purpose of the Committee is to promote inclusion and access for individuals with disabilities at Agudas Achim, whether they are members or guests of members.  The committee held its first meeting in early March and is chaired by Barbara Elkin. In addition to developing the Disability Inclusion Questionnaire, the Committee will also be working with staff and leadership over the next year to implement a self-assessment,using the Disability Self-Assessment Toolkit developed by the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and will be making recommendations to the Board and staff for changes needed to promote Disability access and inclusion at Agudas Achim, based in part on responses to the survey.  If you are interested in being on the committee, want more information about the work of the committee, or would like to be on an email list about activities or events related to Disability Inclusion, please email inclusion@agudasachim-va.org.   

Agudas Achim Kitchen Practices and Standard Food Allergy Practice

In recently years, food allergies have become more prevalent.  In an effort to keep our members safe and healthy, Agudas Achim Congregation is now using the following practices to notify our congregants with respect to the presence of potential food allergens.  Please note that although our kitchen staff make every effort, our kitchen cannot guarantee against cross-contamination.  

All foods served at events at AAC (including Kiddish, Oneg, etc) will be labeled if they contain one of the following allergens where it is not clearly obvious.  (i.e., casseroles, dips, cookies, cakes, etc).  These allergens are dairy, egg, peanut, tree nut, gluten, wheat, soy, fish, and sesame.  Labels will be placed on the table next to the food.

If a food is made from a mix or is prepackaged, the ingredient list and warnings (i.e. “processed in the same facility as…” or “processed on the same equipment as) will be available on the table next to the food.  
    The following are things to be aware of regarding food prepared in the kitchen at AAC:

  • Salad dressings are made in house and are oil and vinegar based.  If a different salad dressing is served it will be labeled as explained above.
  • Peanuts are rarely served at AAC events, with the exception of explicit requests.
  • Dairy alternative creamer for coffee and tea is soy milk.  Nut milks are not used.
  • All kugels contain eggs.
  • All hummus contains sesame.
  • Soups do not contain gluten thickeners

*If a change is made to any of this (i.e. a special request is made for a b’nai mitzvah to have peanut butter cookies) a bright, yellow sign stating the allergen that is present in the food will be hung outside of the kitchen, in addition to placing a label next to the food containing it.

    Please note that if, in order to accommodate the food allergies of you or a member of your family, you may bring in a small amount of approved Kosher food to be kept in the kitchen for your use only during synagogue-wide events.  Please contact Diana Weil to coordinate this: dweil@agudasachim-va.org.

    Judaism teaches us that the most important obligation (“mitzvah”) is to protect every life, and perform whatever actions are necessary to avoid any potential harm to an individual (“pikuach nefesh”).  We adhere to this standard of practice as we model the value of being sensitive to the needs of others.

 

Upcoming Events - Stay tuned!