The stone that the builders refused has become the cornerstone.
In 2015, after a year-long communal journey towards becoming more inclusive of people with disabilities, we received a Cornerstone Certification stating that Congregation Beth Jacob is a Jewish home where individuals and families with special needs are welcome and included.
A safe, accepting community does not happen by chance. CBJ has worked hard to ensure that inclusion is both an explicit and implicit value. We strive to see the “tselem elokim“, the image of God, in every person who steps through our doors. We believe in the importance of listening to each other and honoring our differences.
We are excited that we are the first synagogue to be certified by Rosh Pina, and are continually striving toward inclusion of people with disabilities. Many of our families are interfaith, and they feel their difference hardly worthy of comment. You are welcome here no matter what your skin color, sexual-orientation, or political creed.
Abraham our forefather was a wanderer and a foreigner. Moses stuttered. King David was the 7th son of a shepherd. If our ancient stories have one lesson for us, it is this: out of vulnerability can emerge new strength, and people who are different will create a new tomorrow. As we learn from the Psalms (118:22), “The stone that the builders rejected became the cornerstone,” and in the words of Isaiah the prophet (49:7), “The one who is despised… kings will see him and rise.”
Do you have a child with special needs?
Have you been looking for a place to discuss the journey you’re on?
CBJ’s parent discussion group may be just for you.
Parents who have children with special needs, ranging from social-emotional, specific learning differences, and autism, to intellectual disabilities are invited to attend monthly meetings at CBJ with Darby Auerbach-Morris.
Darby is an Inclusion Specialist at CBJ with a California dual credential in Special Education and General Education K-12, and a Masters degree in Social Work.
We meet on the second Wednesday of each month, unless it falls on a holiday, 4:30–5:30pm in the Beit Midrash. Any information shared by group members is strictly confidential. Feel free to drop in at any time. For questions or more information please contact Darby directly.
Children’s Story Books on Special Needs
- Ian’s Walk; A Story About Autism by Laurie Lears
- Nowhere Hair by Sue Glader
- Hi, I’m Ben! …And I’ve Got a Secret! by Julie A. Bouwkamp
- Don’t Call Me Special; A First Look at Disability by Pat Thomas
- I Don’t Want to Talk About It by Jeanie Franz Ransom
- Susan Laughs by Jeanne Willis
- We Go in a Circle by Peggy Perry Anderson
- Jumping Jenny by Ellen Bari
- Andy and His Yellow Frisbe by Mary Thompson
Books to Help Understand Special Needs
- Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships by Dr. Temple Grandin
- Uniquely Human; A Different Way of Seeing Autism by Barry M. Prizant
- The Water Giver by Joan Ryan
- Life Animated by Ron Suskind