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Temple Emanuel provides a warm, welcoming community for interfaith families. We believe that our congregation’s spiritual needs—and the needs of our families who have members from another faith or no faith background—are better served through meaningful and active inclusion of interfaith families.

We embrace spouses and children who are not Jewish in all areas of synagogue life. We want family members from other faith backgrounds to feel comfortable and engaged, and to that end, our clergy and staff welcome questions and conversations about how we include interfaith families in our community. Children of interfaith families are welcomed in our religious school. For life cycle events, the participation of a spouse or other significant family member who is not Jewish is invited and encouraged, including the following as examples:

  • Birth – Parents and other family members from other faith backgrounds may share readings from the bima (pulpit) during a child’s baby-naming ceremony (simhat bat or brit milah).
  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah – Spouses from other faith backgrounds are welcome to stand with their child on the bima and encouraged to participate in select areas of the service where they feel comfortable. Family members from other faith backgrounds may be invited to participate in select honors. Following the practices of the Conservative movement, children of a mother who is not Jewish must undergo a ritual transition before their bnai mitzvah. Our clergy will ensure that children have a beautiful and meaningful experience that fits where they are in their Jewish journey.
  • Marriage – Conservative practice allows Temple Emanuel clergy to officiate only marriages between two Jewish individuals. At those weddings, family members from other faith backgrounds may offer words of affirmation at the signing of a ketubah (marriage contract) and stand next to the chuppah (marriage canopy) during the marriage ceremony.
    • For interfaith couples wishing to marry, our clergy is glad to provide counsel and support.
  • Death – Clergy will counsel and support all bereaved family members, and invites family members who are not Jewish to participate in traditional Jewish mourning rites and rituals, such as shiva and yahrzeit.

We recognize the unique journeys and challenges faced by interfaith families and make every effort to include interfaith families in every facet of our congregational life.

 

Tue, July 23 2024 17 Tammuz 5784