Although Jewish worshipers pray on the High Holy Days, “Cast me not off in the time of old age; when my strength faileth, forsake me not,” many synagogues ignore the accessibility needs of the elderly and disabled year round.
The nationwide voluntary organization Yad Sarah has decided to hold an information campaign for the first time so that the wheelchair- bound and hearing and vision disabled will also be able to participate in synagogue services. Many people are prevented from participating, said David Rothner, Yad Sarah’s information director, who became more aware of the problem when he broke his ankle and went to his Beit Shemesh synagogue in a wheelchair.
He asked Shani Rosenfeld, director of the organization’s display and advice center in Jerusalem, to increase synagogue officials’ awareness of the problem by presenting equipment such as ramps in Yad Sarah’s branches around the country.
It has also placed advice on the organization’s website (www.yadsarah.org.il) in Hebrew and English.