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Welcoming Interfaith Families

Welcome!
 
On behalf of our Board, Clergy, membership, and staff, welcome to Beth Shalom Congregation. Everyone here at Beth Shalom is on a journey. We are all growing as human beings and as part of a holy community. Our synagogue welcomes everyone who wishes to enjoy the sweetness and beauty of Jewish life. Interfaith couples and families represent a significant part of our congregational family, reflecting the diversity and growth of interest in Jewish life.
 
We seek to provide opportunities for—and access to—Jewish study, prayer, and tradition to anyone seeking the richness of Conservative Judaism. This includes those who are born Jewish, who have chosen Judaism, who are part of a Jewish couple or a Jewish family, and who are exploring Judaism. As part of our congregation, you will be invited to participate, encouraged to ask questions, and supported in your personal and/or family journey. Whether you are seeking a spiritual home, an opportunity to celebrate Shabbat, Jewish holidays and a range of lifecycle experiences, or simply a place to build friendships and enjoy a variety of cultural and educational activities and a community in which you and/or your children can learn and grow, you can find your place here at Beth Shalom. I myself would not be the Rabbi I am today without having had a community that was open to all families and that welcomed families no matter where they were on their path of Jewish learning or observance. I strive to ensure that I lead Beth Shalom to be this kind of community.
 
I invite you to call, e-mail, or visit with me so we can begin a dialogue about your own journey and how the wonderful opportunities Beth Shalom offers can provide a warm and caring community. Also, please feel welcome to attend a class, Sabbath service, or any of our scheduled programs.  All are welcome at all of our events.
 
With blessings for a meaningful journey,
 
Rabbi Jenni Greenspan

Keruv

Keruv is the Hebrew word meaning “to bring close.” Keruv is the Conservative Movement approach to reaching out to interfaith couples and families and bringing them close to the joys of Judaism. Spearheaded by the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (a constituent arm of the Conservative Movement), Keruv congregations seek to welcome Interfaith couples and families and support them on their journey of Jewish exploration and engagement.

If you are an interfaith couple or family, or are related to one, and would like to learn more about interfaith Keruv opportunities at Beth Shalom Congregation or be matched to a buddy who is also part of an interfaith couple, please contact Rabbi Greenspan

Simcha (Happy Event) Opportunities

All members of the family can have a role in your upcoming simha (happy event) at Beth Shalom:

Brit Milah and Brit Banot 

Rabbi Greenspan and Beth Shalom can welcome the new addition to your family with either a Brit Milah (ritual circumcision) for a boy or a Brit Banot (Covenant Ceremony or Baby Naming Ceremony) for a girl. Brit Milah for a boy takes place on the eighth day after birth under the supervision of a certified MohelBrit Banot can take place at a mutually convenient time, often with the first few months of birth. Both ceremonies welcome the baby into the Jewish community and bestow upon the child his or her Hebrew name. Rabbi Greenspan can officiate at these celebrations and help you plan how to involve Interfaith family members in meaningful and moving ways. Either ceremony can take place in the synagogue or in your home.

Bar and Bat Mitzvah

The Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony is an important rite of passage as a Jewish child becomes a Jewish adult at the age of 13. Interfaith parents, grandparents and other significant family members are important parts of the Bnai Mitzvah experience and can be included on the bimah during the service in a variety of ways.

On Friday night at the completion of services, Jewish and non-Jewish parents participate in recessional march with clergy out of the sanctuary and in the reception line following services. On Saturday morning, non-Jewish parents and relatives may take part on the bimah in the presentation of the tallit and by reciting an English blessing for the student after the Torah Scrolls are returned to the Ark during the service. Interfaith parents can also choose to stand together with their child on the bimah to jointly recite a parental prayer especially composed for our Interfaith parents.

Weddings

The union of a couple is always a celebratory event. Rabbi Greenspan will be happy to meet with all couples contemplating marriage, provide the same pre-marital counseling offered all couples, if desired, and can discuss opportunities for involvement in Judaism and the synagogue. Rabbi Greenspan also can officiate at a Hanukkaht HaBayit (Home Dedication ceremony for any couples who want to establish a Jewish home and raise Jewish children) at any time before or after the wedding. Please be aware that Rabbis and Cantors in the Conservative Movement are only permitted to officiate at a marriage between two members of the Jewish faith. Nevertheless, Rabbi Greenspan and Beth Shalom can provide support and resources for all those considering marriage and for interfaith newlyweds. In addition, every couple, who are members or children of members, receive an artistic rendering of the Blessing for the Home, suitable for framing, created especially for Beth Shalom by an Israeli artist. More on our welcoming of LGBTQ congregants can be found here.

All members of the family can enjoy what Beth Shalom has to offer

Jewish Education

One need not be Jewish to take advantage of the many educational opportunities offered by the synagogue. Everyone is welcome to our adult education programs and classes. A child need not be Jewish to attend our tots and Shorashim programs. Children of interfaith couples may be enrolled in our Religious School, provided that the child is Jewish or that parents intend to have the child converted to Judaism.

Social and Volunteer Opportunities

One need not be Jewish to enjoy the spectrum of social programming and volunteer opportunities at Beth Shalom such as social action projects, social events, Religious School and Sisterhood programming, and even holiday events. Non-Jewish members have been active in our Membership Committee; helped coordinate Social Action aid for the needy and Religious School class programs, helped raise funds for our Religious School through our bagel sale, sang in our Interfaith choir, played an instrument as part of our Purim Silly Symphony, and more.

Missions to Israel

Non-Jewish family members are an essential part of our congregational family. Therefore our congregational Missions to Israel also include visits to Christian holy sites so that everyone in the family feels a meaningful connection to the Holy Land. Bnai Mitzvah and Confirmation ceremonies celebrated in Israel include opportunities for the participation of non-Jewish family members.

Thu, July 25 2024 19 Tammuz 5784