Congregation B’nai Israel provides a warm, inclusive, spirtual and supportive community for all who seek a Jewish experience. Keruv (to come closer), spearheaded by the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (a constituent arm of the Conservative movement), was formed to answer the needs of interfaith couples and families, and, in the words of the Torah, to “welcome strangers into the tent.” Congregation B’nai Israel welcomes interfaith families into our synagogue family through our Keruv program. Keruv programming provides opportunities for congregants to explore issues relating to intermarriage in a safe and supportive environment.
Our synagogue welcomes those who wish to partake in the richness of Jewish life. Interfaith couples and families are part of the make-up of our congregation, reflecting the diversity of an ever-widening variety of people committed to or interested in Jewish life.
Congregation B’nai Israel offers meaningful ways to celebrate important life-cycle events. From the joy of birth to the sadness of death, and everything between the two, we are here to be a part of these significant moments in your life. Jewish milestones are so often and fully celebrated as part of a community, and we offer that opportunity for you and your family. At B’nai Mitzvot, if there is a non-Jewish parent and other non-Jewish relatives, they may participate in the ceremony in many meaningful ways. A Brit Milah (Bris or ritual circumcision) and baby naming ceremony for a girl, mark the parents’ commitment to raising the baby as a Jew. Both parents in an interfaith marriage may participate in the blessing ceremony.
We welcome both Jewish and non-Jewish family members to worship at all services. Weekday, Shabbat, and holiday services are open to members of all faiths. We are proud to provide both morning and evening services as an opportunity to share uplifting spiritual support with fellow congregants. At all times, we respect and appreciate non-Jewish partners of members, and encourage them to participate in as much synagogue life as they choose. While only Jews may be called to the Torah, there are many opportunities for the non-Jewish family member to participate in meaningful ways, such as reading certain passages. Following the Hebrew service can be quite challenging for some Jews and for some non-Jews alike, so bookets are available with transliterations and explanations of the service.
“At first I was nervous about how I would be received, but everyone has been really welcoming. I was included right away in services and activities, and have been able to learn more at my own pace. Everybody just seems glad I’m there.” — Dan
Congregation B’nai Israel is a place of learning for people of all ages. Enlightening and enriching learning opportunities are available for everyone. We are proud of the unparalleled educational experiences in our Religious School and our adult education programs.
Our Chesed Committee works under the direction of our Clergy, providing assistance and emotional support to B’nai Israel congregational family members experiencing loss of a loved one. We guarantee respect and confidentiality.
Social activities have been varied, from Shabbat potluck dinners at members’ homes, Sisterhood brunches, summer picnics, attendance at Mud Hens and Tiger baseball games, Mahj Jong nights, wine tastings, cantorial concerts, book reviews, weekly Shabbat Kiddush luncheons and more allowing informal interaction. Please check the website frequently for programs; feel free to contact any of the Synagogue officers or staff to express ideas for programs or social events.
“The people at B’nai Israel make me feel very welcome and comfortable. I remember when I first started to attend, a woman reached out to me and was very kind. As I got to know more people at shul, I found everyone to be open and welcoming. There are opportunities to meet new people and get involved, and my experience is that as I met more people, they embraced me even though I am not Jewish. I enjoy attending services and special events and look forward to visiting with the members. In addition, I am comfortable in the services because I find common values and messages in the sermons that are delivered.” — Darlene
Contact our Outreach Coordinator Rhoda Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org, to receive a packet of informational materials.
Membership Chair Fran Weinblatt will be happy to get in touch with you and provide more information on our synagogue family.
We invite you to call us, send an e-mail, join one of our classes, attend our services, or schedule an appointment so that we can begin a dialogue, which we know will help you see how wonderful it can be to be part of our warm and caring community. We would love to have you as our guest for a Saturday morning service. Please call our office to make arrangements.
“In my opinion the degree of compatibility between a man and wife in an interfaith marriage is the most important issue. My wife and I work closely in all our decisions and I believe that allows us to resolve all issues equitably. I have found that the members of B’nai Israel have all been considerate of me and my non-Jewish upbringing. I also try to be respectful of all other religious beliefs and have respect for those who were raised differently. My commitment to my wife was that I would do everything I could to help her maintain her faith in Judaism and learn all I could. While I have learned much and have respect for her faith, in my heart I do not feel ready to convert yet. The former Rabbi and current Cantor have both treated me with kindness, helped me understand, and not pressured me to convert. In my mind the best ways to welcome interfaith congregants are: Be patient in teaching us the rules that you believe in. Do not be offended or suspicious if we ask what you consider odd questions. You who know the answers may consider it odd, but we who are trying to learn really don’t know and are not questioning the reason for the answer, just the answer. Above all, accept us and let us learn in a friendly environment.”– Harvey