A human being mints many coins from the same mold but the Holy One, Blessed be G‑d, strikes us all from the mold of the first human yet each one of us is unique. Therefore, every single person is obligated to say, “The world was created for my sake." (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5)

True inclusion begins with a mindset – a change in our thinking.

The Rebbe pioneered this concept in its truest form, valuing every person based solely on that person’s inner essence. The Rebbe further tasked us to make Judaism accessible to every Jew, without regard to that person’s physical or spiritual status. It is the Rebbe’s message that has empowered Chabad to be instinctively inclusive — to embrace each and every Jew and treat him or her like family, regardless of background or lifestyle. Chabad was already practicing inclusion before the term was even coined!

The Ruderman Chabad Inclusion Initiative is organic to Chabad. RCII wants to empower every one of our Shluchim and Shluchos to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for people with disabilities in our shuls, our camps, our schools – in every program that we offer.

Inclusion goes beyond welcoming and accessible spaces. Real inclusion is when someone feels that they belong—and that they are valued. We achieve inclusion when we not only treat people like equals, but when we also truly believe that each person is our equal. Of course, this does not mean that everyone is the same. It means, rather, that each person has the ability to succeed and thrive if given the appropriate supports to do so.

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But how do we know what is meaningful and important to another person?

We open our doors.
We ask.
We listen.
We take the journey together.

We do not do things for people with disabilities. We do things with people with disabilities. It is time for us to acknowledge that “Inclusion” (with a capital “I”) means, simply, that we treat people as individuals – not as a group of “those people” whose needs can be met through special programs or occasional visits to synagogues.

Thank you for joining us in taking these important steps toward inclusion. Together, we can achieve our goal – to create a culture of inclusion throughout the world!