Groundbreaking siddur for people with learning disabilities and autism launched

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Groundbreaking siddur for people with learning disabilities and autism launched

Colourful 70-page accessible prayer book published by JWeb uses phonetics and symbols

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

A groundbreaking new siddur for people with learning disabilities and autism has been published for the first time this week.

The slim and colourful 70-page siddur, full of songs and prayers in Hebrew and English, uses phonetics and symbols to make services more accessible.  You can view the online version of the siddur here.

It has been published by JWeb, a new cross-communal resource founded by Deborah Gundle and Linda Goldberg, which collates information for people with learning disabilities in the Jewish community and beyond. Compiled by Gundle and Anna Perceval, the prayerbook has been welcomed by Norwood and Langdon and endorsed by the Movement for Reform Judaism. JWeb is working closely with the United Synagogue to produce a dedicated version for Orthodox communities.

Many experts believe the Accessible Siddur will allow families to attend shul for the first time in years, confident that those with learning disabilities can enjoy the service, with their own prayer book.

Ms Gundle, herself the mother of a learning disabled son, was well aware of the difficulties facing parents and families when it comes to integration into the wider Jewish community. “The siddur is a powerful tool in promoting social mobility for people with learning disabilities and encouraging synagogues and other organisations to make positive changes, to become more inclusive, she told Jewish News.  

“Copies could be given to young people to mark their bar- or batmitzvahs, and multiple copies could be kept on synagogue shelves to be used at Shabbat services. People with learning disabilities could have their own copies to use for prayers at home or to bring to shul with them”.

JWeb is rolling out the Accessible Siddur in two ways: a physical book, (priced £14, available through JWeb, Amazon, and Norwood’s Kennedy Leigh Family Centre); and a free download here, together with an accompanying film of a model inclusive Shabbat service which was made with Finchley Reform Synagogue.

So far there are eight synagogues and communities which offer inclusive Shabbat services, across the religious spectrum. They are:  Belsize Square Synagogue; East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue; Edgware and Hendon Reform Synagogue; Finchley Reform Synagogue; Manchester’s Menorah Synagogue; Mill Hill United Synagogue; New North London Masorti Synagogue, and the Friendship Circle. JWeb plans to ask shuls to conduct their own market research as to who in their community would benefit from the Accessible Siddur and then give it to them for free.

But the organisation also wants to talk to other faith communities about how they reach out to learning disabled people, and begin an interfaith dialogue.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: