You could call “We All Belong” the theme song of the Ruderman Chabad Inclusion Initiative, a four year, $1 million effort to create a welcoming culture for those with disabilities and mental health conditions, but the all-new music video is so much more than just a short-lived catchy tune.
A multi-faceted project conveying the importance of embracing every person as a valued community member, We All Belong uses music and art to spread awareness, change attitudes and bring home the message that each one of us is an irreplaceable component of the beautiful mosaic that is the Jewish nation.
Launched in January 2015, the RCII is a four-year collaboration between the Ruderman Family Foundation and Machne Israel Chabad Headquarters to ensure that those with disabilities and mental health conditions are accommodated in every area of Jewish life. The RCII has launched numerous initiatives to achieve that goal: an inclusion hotline addresses challenges and identifies solutions and the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute offers a four-part CEU accredited course on inclusion. Guidance, training and mini-grants to facilitate inclusive programming and environments are also available through the RCII, while two books on the subject, We Can Find a Way, for children, and Power of the Individual, for adults, have both been very well received.
Spreading the message of inclusivity around the world was a matter that required considerable thought, explained RCII director Dr. Sarah Kranz-Ciment, PT, DPT. While Chabad is known for welcoming every person, true inclusivity takes things to a different level.
“This isn’t about making a separate group, a class or a camp for people with disabilities or mental health conditions,” said Kranz-Ciment. “This is about reaching out and weaving each person into all of the ongoing programming in the community, letting them know that we want them to come and that we are making it truly possible for everyone to participate. All too often, we say ‘Everyone is welcome,’ but without providing the support they need to join, it is really an empty invitation.”