Congregation B'nai Chaim welcomes interfaith families!
B'nai Chaim Congregation warmly welcomes interfaith famiies. For many years, interfaith families have been an important component of the larger B'nai Chaim family. Whether they are attending services or any other function they are able to mix comfortably with other interfaith couples.
Children of interfaith couples attend our Lamad Academy religious school, along with our other religious school students. They learn together, but our teachers are sensitive to the different questions they may ask. Not all students have similar Jewish experiences when they first enter the school. Through studies and integration into the curriculum, students grow closer together and become part of a warm interactive young Jewish community. They make more friends in the young and larger B'nai Chaim community.
You will find that we also offer members of our interfaith families the support and resources to create homes rich in Jewish tradition. They learn about our rituals as well as experience the warmth and feeling of a Jewish home. Learning to cook traditional Jewish recipes are taught as well as how to bake challah. In turn, these couples enhance the values of the entire congregation.
In the near future, we are considering panels, the purpose of which is to encourage discussion and to address areas of concern to interfaith couples.
We are proud that many of the non Jewish partners have chosen to convert by taking our conversion classes. These are not superficial studies, but rather in-depth and meaningful learning experiences. Basic Hebrew for reading the prayer books as well as torah are studied. Equally important are the student discussions that takes place. In effect, these classes are equally welcomed by Jewish and non-Jewish adult students.
Social and educational activities - Adult and family programs bring everyone closer together. Family education programs are a part of the religious school curriculum, with a recent topic being The December Dilemma, specifically addressing the challenges facing interfaith households during this time of year.
We will be adding an "Ask the Rabbi" component to our interfaith education. Some questions that we are considering:
Why are Jews so sensitive about Christmas?
Can my non-Jewish spouse (partner) be active in the synagogue?
Where is our place in the Jewish community?
How can my non-Jewish in-laws be part of our Jewish life?
What exactly is the Torah?
What is Jewish Law? How does it affect us?
Also, The meaning of Israel to the Jewish people.
What is the BDS movement?
Antisemitism - as a threat to Jews as well as our fellow citizens.
To make our interfaith Jewish members and their spouses feel comfortable and "fit in", we define positions that are inclusive and are consistent with the spirit of Conservative Judaism. For example:
- Life-cycle events -such as welcoming newborn babies and Bar / Bat Mitzvah services, all family members may stand on the bimah, join in the celebration and lead English readings from the prayer book. Synagogue honors, such as blessings over wine and reading from the Torah can only be offered to Jewish family members.
- Participation in synagogue activities - Interfaith family members may join committees and fully participate in all social, study and volunteer activities.
- Rabbinical guidance and support - In times of need our Rabbis are available to all interfaith family members for comfort and support.
- Conversion - We recognize that conversion is a personal decision. There is no requirement or or pressure to convert to Judaism.
- Social - the Rabbi or our Membership Director can facilitate introductions to other interfaith or Jewish couples.
KERUV Program - The Keruv program at B'nai Chaim is part of an initiative begun by the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs to address the needs of interfaith families. Keruv is Hebrew for "to draw near." The program ensures that interfaith families are welcomed and integrated into synagogue life to the fullest extent possible, and it allows congregants to explore issues relating to interfaith marriages so that the heritage and traditions of Judaism can be respectfully and lovingly shared with family members of a different faith.
For more information or questions about CBC's Keruv program, please e-mail email@example.com.