On February 7th-8th, the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) once again participated in the 2nd annual global ShabbaTTogether highlighting Disability Inclusion and Mental Health and Wellness in our community.
ShabbaTTogether is a global weekend of disability Inclusion and mental wellness in over 500 comminutes on 6 continents dedicated to advancing inclusion throughout Jewish communities.
In 2019, the RCV ran an educational course for Rabbis and Rabbetzins presented by Rabbi Reuvi Cooper based on resources from the Ruderman Chabad Inclusion Initiative to develop their awareness and understanding of this vital area.
The RCV also distributed pamphlets to all member shules outlining the myths and facts of disability inclusion aiming to guide congregants in practical ways to help others feel included.
This year the RCV once again organised for members to have meaningful experiences within their shules to highlight the message of inclusion through conversations, discussions, personal reflections and a dedicated sermon.
The highlight of this year’s awareness campaign was a RCV produced video clip focusing on the challenges community members living with disabilities face, particularly in religious settings such as the synagogue and explaining how we all can make a difference to ensure that our community is more inclusive and welcoming to all so that everyone can belong.
Click the link below to check out the video on our Facebook page or on Youtube
Shabbat Together Melbourne Video Clip Youtube
Shabbat Together Melbourne Video Clip Facebook
Rabbi Daniel Rabin, RCV Immediate Past President explained that a “key focus of the weekend was to create a safe space to reduce the stigma often associated with discussing mental health and discussing strategies for increased mental wellness, as well the challenges community members living with disabilities face, particularly in religious settings such as the synagogue or holiday programs, which often present a unique set of potential difficulties”.
Rabbi Reuvi Cooper, RCV ShabbaTTogether Liaison explained that the program aimed to educate through personal testimonials from community members and concentrating on creating a mindset of inclusivity and practical ways to help people living with disabilities and their families feel welcome and supported.
“Our community, just like every community, includes people with disabilities and mental health conditions, We have to strive together to create an environment where every single person feels comfortable and like they truly belong.”
Rabbi Heilbrunn OAM, President of the RCV noted that he looks forward to the RCV’s unique way of participating in ShabbaTTogether next year in order to continue to further the goal of ensuring everyone can belong.”
Click here to view AJN article on the initiative.