Welcoming Your Interfaith Family to Temple Beth Am

We warmly open our doors and hearts to our non-Jewish members. We are committed to couples with one Jewish partner to welcome them as a couple within our community, to embrace them and their children, and to offer support and education for their extended families.

q My spouse/partner is Jewish and I am not. If we join will I be welcomed at TBA?

Yes, all family members are warmly welcomed at all TBA events and services. We encourage members to attend as a family so that the family unit can become closer and understand Jewish history, traditions, and culture.

I don’t read Hebrew. How can I possibly follow the Shabbat/worship service?

Our prayer books are written for all levels of understanding. The text is written in three types of wording: Hebrew, English transliteration, and English all on the same page. (A transliteration is a phonetically written version of Hebrew.) Throughout the service the clergy will guide the congregation through the prayer book and say the page numbers so that the congregant may follow the service in the wording that is most comfortable to the individual.

When we join TBA, will my non-Jewish spouse be expected to convert?

No. We are grateful for the support given to the Jewish spouse/partner and the participation at TBA. Conversion is a personal decision made only after heartfelt consideration. Our rabbi will guide you through the conversion process and the congregation will joyfully celebrate if and when the decision is made to convert to Judaism.

When we join TBA, will my non-Jewish spouse be considered a member?

Yes. When a family/couple joins TBA all immediate family members/partner are considered full members. All non-Jewish spouses/partners are welcomed and encouraged to participate on all levels including our committees, attend classes and holiday events.

Do you have other interfaith families at TBA?

Yes. We have many couples/families that are interfaith. Our goal is to welcome and include all members regardless of their religious upbringing.

What will be the status of my children in the Jewish community

Since 1983, the Reform Movement has recognized the children of either the Jewish parent (mother or father) as Jewish if they are raised and educated as Jews. There are many children in our congregation’s Religious School who have other religions in their extended families and our teachers have been trained to be sensitive to this.

We are considering enrolling our child in TBA’s Religious School. Are parents who are not Jewish welcome to participate in Religious School classrooms and events?

Jewish tradition puts a high value on family life. We encourage both parents to be involved in their child’s Religious School experience and we welcome your participation. We offer rabbi/parent study designed to help parents learn and understand what their child(ren) are learning at Religious School. In addition, each grade level has events designed for students and their parents to “learn by doing” together as a family.

Will my non-Jewish spouse be able to participate in our children’s bar/bat mitzvah?

Yes. The Rabbi will work with you and your family to identify opportunties for full family participation in the service.

What about non-Jewish grandparents? Can they be a part of my Jewish child’s life?

Yes. A child who knows his/her grandparents is a fortunate child. All grandparents are welcome to attend services and events at the Temple and Religious School. Grandparents add another dimension to a family and are an important part of a family’s history, values and traditions.

Please contact office@tbaparsippany.org for further information.