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As a synagogue affiliated with the Conservative movement, the clergy and leaders of Temple Beth-El are pleased to invite interfaith families to make our synagogue your spiritual home. Our congregation embraces the increasing diversity of the North American Jewish community. We have a tradition of keruv (outreach and welcoming) that goes back to our ancestors Abraham and Sarah, who would hurry to welcome travelers into their tent. At Temple Beth-El we offer couples and interfaith families the support and resources to create Jewish homes and to practice and grow in Judaism. We seek to share with them the gifts of our faith, practices, learning and fellowship. We actively seek to nurture and support the spiritual journey of non-Jewish partners who join us, to deepen their connections to the synagogue, the Jewish community and to the Jewish people, and to inspire them to consider conversion. We joyously partner with all who join us in creating homes rich in Jewish tradition and in raising children as learned and committed Jews. Youngsters, just like their parents, can find profound meaning in Judaism, whether intellectually, spiritually or in terms of making a better world.
- An openness to questioning - Judaism is ever open to questioning, to challenge, to investigation, and personal exploration.
- A rejection of original sin - Judaism views the souls of newborn babies as pure, with the potential for good or for misdeeds. Judaism regards all of us as flesh and blood human beings, making mistakes, yet capable of changing our ways through the divine gift of teshuvah, repentance.
- Direct access to God - In Judaism, we do not believe clergy or communal leaders are any closer to God than lay people. No intermediary officiants are necessary for "confession" of one's sins, nor of beseeching God's presence.
- Judaism is not "all or nothing" - Human beings are perceived as trying to find their religious level on a continuum of commitments. Judaism inspires individuals to increase involvements at their own pace.
- A focus upon this world rather than just the afterlife - Although Judaism believes firmly in the spiritual life of the soul in the hereafter, the emphasis of Jews has always been upon actions in this world.
- Spiritual satisfaction - Judaism opens up an entirely different, spiritual view of the world. Judaism provides a lens through which to see and a sensor with which to feel previously ignored spiritual dimensions of life. For spiritual access, people need a new point of view, a religious perspective.
Judaism is a rich and compelling legacy, speaking powerfully to people today as it has throughout millennia. Hebrew Scripture is the foundation upon which the monotheisms of Christianity and Islam arose. Its universalism regards righteous people from all faith communities as meriting a blessed place in the hereafter. We have no doubt that once you walk through our doors, you will experience the warmth of our community, no matter your religious background.
There are many things that you can do to find your place as an interfaith family here at Temple Beth-El. With that in mind we invite you to:
- Choose a port of entry that eases you into the synagogue's Jewish environment.
- Assume our best intentions and keep an open mind toward our policies.
- Adopt Conservative Judaism as your family's Jewish way of life.
- Participate in our religious services.
- Attend our adult education courses or family education programs.
- Join us for a Shabbat dinner or a holiday celebration, or just stop by to chat with the rabbi.
- Join us and be part of our Jewish family.
Judaism has a wealth of resources to help you confront life’s challenges and celebrate life’s joys. We warmly welcome anyone who shares our interest in Jewish life built upon our traditions and adherence to Jewish law. We want to share our Jewish traditions, culture and practices with you. Whether you are seeking personal connection or you want to help your family’s development, we are here for you.
For additional information on successfully navigating the unique challenges and opportunities that arise in interfaith families, we encourage you to take a copy of Interfaith Families Making Jewish Choices or Grandparenting Interfaith Grandchildren available in our library, or to read The Guide to Jewish Interfaith Family Life : An Interfaithfamily.com Handbook edited by Ronnie Friedland and Edmund Case, available in our synagogue library. Of course our clergy are also always available to answer any questions.
*material adapted from the USCJ web-site