Working Together for Accessibility

Accessibility of all kinds is a central value of NHC and we strive to make our Summer Institute a smooth experience for all. For information about financial accessibility, please email grants@main.havurah.org.

Our community includes many long-time attendees and newcomers with disabilities of various types, as well as people who do not identify as having disabilities but may have specific requests for how to make the week easier for them. Please contact accessibility@havurah.org to discuss any needs you have! In the past, our efforts have included:

ASL Interpretation: To enable d/Deaf folks to participate fully in the week of Institute, we hire highly competent ASL interpreters who are conversant in Jewish communal topics. Interpretation is available on a first-come, first-served basis to d/Deaf registrants. Please do not speak with ASL interpreters while they are “on duty”. They are working to translate between languages. Direct your speech and visual attention to the person they are interpreting for. For example, ask “Where do you live?” rather than, “Ask her where she lives.”

Assistance Etiquette: To aid someone with a disability, do ask an empowering question such as “How can I help?” instead of acting on an assumption of what they might need. Do offer to commit to help at a time that may not be at the moment but rather at a later time or day.

Building Accessibility: We strive to locate classes, workshops and community events at buildings that have wheelchair access. To avoid any trips, falls or physical barriers, please do keep the hallways and outdoor pathways clear of book bags, supplies and furniture that have been moved from elsewhere. Do be conscious of how you stand along major throughways. Please report to the Office if you have trouble getting into a building or if you notice a classroom is not accessible.

Cafeteria Assistance: A volunteer will be located in the dining hall at the beginning of lunch and dinner to assist folks who desire an extra hand going through the line and getting seated. It is a good idea to arrive during Family Seating if you would benefit from having more space and time to maneuver through the cafeteria with assistance. During the meal, if you see someone who might have difficulty managing the process of getting food to their table, offer to help.

Cafeteria Quiet Tables: A few tables (designated by placards) in the dining hall are reserved for quiet conversation (to serve people with hearing loss, people who might feel overwhelmed, people who need to have meetings, etc.) or non-conversation meals. Please respect that space by sitting there if you would like to make use of the quiet space feature and by moving away from those tables if you are having a louder meal. Ideas for improvement in the future are welcomed, please brainstorm with us!

Campus Guides: To help our blind and low-vision participants navigate campus, we pair them up with sighted guides to get them to and from their destinations for one day. This is a great way to get some one-on-one time with a potential new friend or to get some extra walking in if you like to stretch your legs.

Captioning: Community-wide programming is going to be live-captioned this year. Words will be transcribed and/or summarized by volunteers and their typing projected on the wall.

Chemical Sensitivity: To help everyone breathe easy, please do not spray bug spray or scented sunscreen in enclosed spaces. Please be mindful when applying perfume or scented hair and skin products to others’ sensitivities.

Communication Badges: People have different tolerances and desires for communication throughout the day and week. Taking direction from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) we will be offering colored binder clips as people check in: green means “please interact with me!”, yellow means “please interact only if we already know each other”, and red means “please do not interact with me”. You are encouraged to take a set even if you don’t anticipate needing any setting other than green! Please do respect what people are asking for in terms of interaction at any given time. We recognize that the badges are only visual symbols. Please alert any visually-impaired people you may be near of the colors displayed by those around you.

Community Announcements: While Day Heads will be making all community-wide announcements, if you are speaking to a smaller group at a workshop, late night program, etc. please keep the following guidelines in mind to be audible and accessible to all participants. Waiting until chair shuffling, applause, or other extraneous noise has quieted before speaking. Signal by raising your hand before beginning to speak. Upon seeing the hand, listeners encourage each other to quiet down. If a microphone is available, do use it! Please keep your hands away from your face and try not to turn your back to the listeners. Presenters, do wait in place for a few minutes after making announcements to see if anyone comes up to you for further clarifications or if they couldn’t hear the announcements. Please also post a copy of all announcements on the community bulletin board.

Getting Around Campus: Campus accessibility tours have been scheduled for Monday and Friday, leaving from near registration. If you miss the tour or have questions regarding access and location of facilities, priority parking, or other special needs, please contact the Institute office.

Golf Carts: The Accessibility Team will have a golf cart shuttle that will leave from near the cafeteria 10 minutes before classes, workshops, and evening programs start to head to the locations where those are. It will do the reverse trip 10 minutes after classes end. If you reserved a golf cart or are borrowing one of the communal carts, we greatly encourage you to offer a lift to others who may need one. You must have a driver’s license to operate the golf carts.

Social Butterflies: Designated on their badges, they are happy to talk to you if you at any time if you need a companion!

Space For Breaks: As we get to know the campus leading up to Institute, we will designate spaces near programming for anyone who needs some peace and quiet.

Text Formats: We are able to provide all written materials in Braille, large print, and digital screen-reader accessible formats with advance notice for those who are blind or low vision and folks who need longer to process written information.

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