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Sydney Temple Sons of Israel Improves Shul Access

By Jack Columbus

It's a lot easier now for people with mobility difficulties to get to shul in Sydney. The Temple Sons of Israel has embarked on a project to improve access for congregants and visitors who have difficulty walking or climbing and descending stairs.

In late March, work crews were busy installing three chair lifts, one going from the building's main entrance up to the first floor which houses the sanctuary; and two lifts going from entry level to the downstairs meeting and recreation areas.

Congregation president, Martin Chernin, says the membership decided improved access was needed, particularly given the aging population of the community.

He says the project was made possible through the generous assistance of members as well as the provincial government's Community ACCESS-ability Program which provides for cost-shared grants to community groups for accessibility-related capital improvements. Under this program, the provincial Government makes grants of up to two thirds of the direct and indirect costs of renovations, installations, and/or equipment, with the sponsoring organization being responsible for raising at least one third of the funding from other sources. In addition to the chair lifts, the project includes a wheel-chair ramp at the main entrance. The ramp will be constructed later this spring.

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