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Conservative Synagogue Wins 2013 Award for Inclusivity

B’nai Amoona is “a role model for others…to be similarly welcoming”


CONTACT: Shira Dicker


June 24, 2013 (New York, NY)  – A Conservative synagogue in St. Louis, MO became a 2013 recipient of the coveted Ruderman Prize in Disability, awarded by the Ruderman Family Foundation, a leading force in advocacy for people with special needs and disabilities (

Rabbi Carnie Shalom Rose, the rabbi of B’nai Amoona, credits United Synagogue with providing the spark for its policy of “radical inclusion.” By awarding the synagogue the prestigious Solomon Schechter Award in 2011, “United Synagogue helped us focus ourselves on the issue of radical inclusion,” stated Rabbi Rose.

The distinction includes a $50K prize, which will be used to further the synagogue’s policy of accommodating everyone who wishes to be part of its community.

Today, B’nai Amoona provides a gold standard of inclusivity for people with disabilities as well as those who are often marginalized and excluded from synagogue life. From its Shabbatot of Inclusion to changing the physical layout of the sanctuary to provide access and visibility to enabling the speech-impaired to chant from the bima to redesigning the Aron Kodesh (ark which holds the Torah Scrolls) to providing shadows for children with autism to many other accommodations, B’nai Amoona’s ethic of inclusivity is holistic and sweeping.

"Through innovative leadership, problem solving and a deep commitment to inclusivity, Rabbi Carnie Rose and his kehilla created a synagogue that can serve as a role model for others who wish to be similarly welcoming," stated Rabbi Steven C. Wernick, CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. "The mitzvah of hachnasat orchim (hospitality) is high on the agenda of United Synagogue; in the 21st Century this means creating a physical and spiritual environment where all are welcome. We are so delighted to have been a catalyst for Rabbi Rose in the creation of his unique community. Mazel Tov to Rabbi Rose and B'nai Amoona on this honor and a big thank you to the Ruderman Family Foundation for placing the issue of inclusivity high on the agenda of the Jewish community."

The Ruderman Family Foundation has been a visionary force for people with disabilities within the Jewish community. The prize awarded to B’nai Amoona is now in its second year.

“The idea behind this award is to shine a light on excellence in inclusion within the Jewish world,” explained Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “The organizations we chose this year are not disability organizations, per se, but are mainstream Jewish organizations that have gone out of their way to be innovative in including people with disabilities.”

 What struck Mr. Ruderman about B’nai Amoona is that -- as a synagogue -- they went "above and beyond" to include people with disabilities in the synagogue and Jewish life.

 “In the Diaspora, the synagogue plays a central role as the focus of Jewish life. We’ve heard so many stories over the years of people with disabilities who have been excluded…from tefillot (prayers) and the physical synagogue itself. As a community, we don’t focus enough on those in need in our community. We were very much impressed by efforts of B’nai Amoona and are hoping that they serve as an example to other synagogues of how this might be done,” he said.

For further information about United Synagogue’s policy on inclusivity, please contact Shira Dicker at 917.403.3989 or


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