A siddur designed for people with learning disabilities will soon be available in the UK.
The new United Synagogue edition siddur, the Siddur Lakol (“Siddur for Everyone”), was designed specifically to be used by people with learning disabilities, the UK Jewish News reported.
It was launched at a special event at Gesher School – which describes itself on its website as a school that offers “children who are differently able and learn differently an exemplary and tailored education” – on the first night of Learning Disability Week (June 20 to 26).
UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis gifted a signed siddur to which he gave to each of the school’s students who attended the special event.
“The name of the siddur tells us everything. It’s a siddur for everyone, so every Jewish person can feel a connection to Judaism, and know this is their very own prayer book. I can remember my own siddur I had as a child, and knowing it was mine,” Rabbi Mirvis told the Jewish News.
The siddur uses the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), which is a series of pictures, symbols, words or photographs that help people on the autism spectrum communicate without speech. The system is taught to children at Gesher.
The siddur will be published in several format and will provide options for people with a range of different learning disabilities. It will be available to the public starting in September.
“Our tradition teaches that the Jewish people are just like a sefer Torah – a complete and perfect whole,” Rabbi Mirvis said. “If one single letter is missing, then the entire scroll is not able to be used. Similarly with the Jewish people, every single person counts.”