Large Enough to Serve You
Small Enough to Know You


Rabbi Elana Zelony

Inclusion and Mitzvah

February is National Inclusion Month. Our sacred texts teach us not only to include all, but to empower all to be independent. Take a look at this example from the Talmud (Beitzah 16b). “A certain blind man would recite mishnayot for Mar Shmuel, who saw that he was sad. He said to him, ‘Why are […]

Inclusion During High Holidays

I know it seems as though the High Holidays were eons ago but there were some special things that occurred of which we absolutely must take note. High Holiday Inclusion For the first time in CBT history, we had many seats identified for specific congregants. As a synagogue, our seating has always been on a […]

Inclusion Action Brings Success

When USCJ put out its first call in 2014 for participants in the Ruderman Inclusion Action Community, Rabbi Elana Zelony of Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson, Texas suggested that Zelene Lovitt submit an application and spearhead the initiative. Zelene, a longtime member and past president of the congregation, seized the opportunity to become part of […]

Inclusion Initiative Year Two

We are now embarking on year two of the Inclusion Initiative and are identifying targets for the coming year.  The biggest goal is to further expand collaboration with the existing congregation structures.  Here are some pending examples of how this will look. Inclusion Initiative Across CBT Groups We are working with the Facilities Committee on […]

Beri Schwitzer

Welcome the Strangers

I recently found my copy of Rachel Naomi Remen’s Kitchen Table Wisdom, a delightful and inspiring collection of stories that bring compassion and healing to the heart and soul. When the page opened to the story of Yitzak, I knew I wanted to share it with you. In Remen’s story, she interviews a Holocaust survivor […]

Removing Barriers to Participation

As Marines say, “We’re looking for a few good men,” and as the chair of the Congregation Beth Torah Inclusion Initiative committee, I say that as well.  We want to recruit many men and women who belong to Congregation Beth Torah (CBT) as partners to remove barriers to comfortable and complete participation of our members […]

Community Connections and Inclusion Shabbat

As Congregation Beth Torah continues its service to members and the greater Dallas community, we recently conducted an Inclusion Shabbat during Jewish Disabilities Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM).  The sanctuary was packed with members and guests. Some of the guests were residents from the Community Homes for Adults, Inc. (CHAI), composed of six homes for […]

Disabilities and Education at Beth Torah

I am the chairperson of the Congregation Beth Torah (CBT) Inclusion initiative and just read an article about how we talk about those who face barriers to full and comfortable participation in life, the language we use when we talk about differences.  Note that I didn’t use the term “special needs.”  The preferred term is […]

Beth Torah Inclusion Chair

Beth Torah Moves Forward With Inclusion

Congregation Beth Torah (CBT) Inclusion chair, Zelene Lovitt, recently returned from Chicago where she attended the United Synagogues for Conservative Judaism (USCJ) biennial convention to report on congregational inclusion activities. At the convention, the USCJ-Ruderman Family Foundation Inclusion Action Community, of which CBT is a member, recognized CBT for launching an action plan to remove […]