We are excited that your family is thinking of joining us at Congregation Beth Shalom.
We value you for who you are, and we respect the religious choices you have made in your household. While recognizing that the Jewish people have certain religious obligations, we do not wish to impose these on others. Our ritual policies reflect this philosophy, as we welcome the rich diversity you bring to our community.
We understand that each family is unique. Many interfaith families, and indeed many Jewish families, have non-Jewish relatives who wonder what roles in the community might be open to them. You may well have questions and concerns this brochure does not address. I look forward to meeting with you to discuss these concerns.
I stand ready to help you on your spiritual path wherever it may lead.
Rabbi Michael Beals
YOUR FAMILY IS INVITED TO WORSHIP WITH US
We welcome your entire family to worship with us.
- We welcome both Jewish and non-Jewish family members to lead psalms and other inspirational and responsive readings.
- We welcome both Jewish and non-Jewish family members to greet worshippers.
- In addition to the participatory types of reading mentioned for Friday night, we also have prayers for the welfare of the country and for peace which can be led from the bimah (pulpit) by Jewish or non-Jewish family members.
- Honors involving the Torah, in particular ark openings and aliyot (Torah blessings), because of their covenantal language, are reserved for Jewish members of the family.
Daily Minyan and Holiday Services
- Participation follows that described for Friday and Saturday services.
LIFE CYCLE EVENTS
We welcome your entire family to celebrate life cycle events with us.
Brit Milah Ceremonies (circumcisions)
- Every son of an interfaith couple is eligible to be ritually circumcised. In the home, the mohel (the person performing the circumcision) will help determine the extent of the non-Jewish parent’s participation. However, the Rabbi will be happy to assist in choosing meaningful ceremonial readings for the non-Jewish family members.
Simchat Bat/Baby Namings
- All Jewish children—that is, children of Jewish mothers or children who have been formally converted to Judaism—may be brought to the synagogue for a naming ritual. The Rabbi will help find beautiful and meaningful readings for both the Jewish and non-Jewish family members.
Bar/Bat Mitzvah Celebration
- Presentation of the Tallit (prayer shawl)
In the spirit of inclusion, we present the tallit in the center of the sanctuary for all to experience. Therefore, both parents in all families present the tallit along with special blessings and words of encouragement.
- Passing of the Torah
As we pass the Torah from generation to generation, we reserve this tradition for Jewish members of the family.
- Aliyot and Ark Openings
These are reserved, as at all Saturday worship services, for Jewish members of the family.
- As in all Conservative congregations, weddings are performed only between two members of the Jewish faith. If there are non-Jewish family members who wish to participate in the ceremony, we warmly welcome them to do so.
- The Rabbi is allowed to preside only at the funeral of a Jewish family member. Non-Jewish family members, however, are encouraged to speak at the funeral.
- People of all ages in the congregation are entitled to a Jewish education.
- Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies are conferred on people of the Jewish faith who are at least 13 years old.
- Jewish members of the household are encouraged to take titled positions.
- Both Jewish and non-Jewish members of the family are encouraged to take committee memberships in order to help shape the future of the Congregation Beth Shalom.
We Warmly Welcome You Into Our Congregation!