Announces Annual Open Hearts Awards Grants

Chicago (October 8, 2017) –– The Inclusion In Worship Ministry of, a Chicago based not-for-profit, is recognizing Temple Beth El, Northbrook, IL with a cash grant to support their efforts to welcome individuals of all abilities.

Temple Beth-El has made great strides in welcoming and including individuals of all abilities in worship, education, fellowship and leadership. A few examples of some of the ways the congregation has become inclusive and welcoming are:

  • A lift to the bimah in the main sanctuarypr
  • Additional, lower mezuzah by the entrances so everyone can reach them
  • a ramp to the bimah in the small chapel
  • clergy no longer ask the congregation to “rise”  but instead the assembly is asked to “prepare” for prayer
  • speakers, such as Sen. Tammy Duckworth, have spoken to the congregation to educate and inspire.

Temple Beth-El applied for a 2017 Open Hearts Award grant to offset the cost of a $15,000 renovation to their existing sound system and to hire a sign language interpreter for Shabbat services and next year’s High Holiday services. The goal is to improve the prayer experience for people with hearing loss while exposing the entire community to sign language as an additional way to be a more inclusive community.

“Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the Open Hearts Awards grant and giving us, and other congregations, the opportunity to be more inclusive worshiping communities,” said Janice Hadesman, Executive Director.

For more information contact Janice Hadesman, Executive Director, Temple Beth El at or Joanne Meyer, Inclusion In Worship Program Manager at .

About the Open Hearts Awards

The Open Hearts Awards recognize houses of faith across the U.S, for their efforts to welcome worshippers of all abilities and helps fund access and inclusion projects with grants of up to $1,000. Applications for the Open Hearts Awards and Junior Open Hearts Awards (nominated by children, ages 5-18) are accepted annually. Deadline for applications is August 1.

To be eligible for an Open Hearts Award, congregations must submit a completed application form, a video or essay with electronic photos describing the congregation’s inclusion efforts and a request for funding for a specific project with costs. Awards are announced the second weekend in October in conjunction with the kick off of congregation’s fall Inclusion Awareness Day celebrations.

Since 1997, Inclusion In Worship has recognized more than 200 congregations with grants totaling over $160,000. For more information and application forms visit, call 1-800-955-2445, or email .

About Inclusion Awareness Day

Inclusion In Worship invites congregations to celebrate Inclusion Awareness Day in their house of faith. Inclusion Awareness Days kickoff annually on the second Sunday in October and continue throughout the fall on dates convenient for congregations. On Inclusion Awareness Day houses of faith take stock of their current access and inclusion efforts and renew their commitments to welcoming worshippers of all abilities as active participants. Visit for interfaith Inclusion Awareness Day Workbooks.

About Inclusion In Worship

Inclusion In Worship is a ministry of, a Chicago based not for profit organization. The interfaith Inclusion In Worship ministry provides grants, videos and educational materials to help congregations welcome worshipers of all abilities. Visit for more information.

About is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to empowering parents and health professionals with FREE tools and resources to maximize a child’s motor, sensory, and communication development. educational materials are shared freely on our website In addition,’s state-of-the-art pediatric therapy clinic in Glenview, IL offers best practices in physical, occupational, and speech therapy services. also promotes inclusion in houses of worship with the Inclusion In Worship ministry as well as inclusion in other areas of the community.


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