“God loves the stranger, providing food and clothing for each one. You too must love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
(Deuteronomy 10: 18–19)
The congregation at Temple Beth Am has always had a philosophy of extending warmth and hospitality to every person who chooses to enter our doors. We honor and respect all members of our congregational and communal families, Jewish and non-Jewish, and we extend a heartfelt welcome to all who wish to join together with us in worship, study and service.
In balance with this welcoming philosophy, Temple Beth Am strives to maintain its identity as a Jewish house of worship and learning and to fulfill its mission of maintaining and strengthening our historic and unique covenant with God.
A special Task Force was established by the President of the Temple, Joyce Marlin, to study and make recommendations that would ensure that our policies were presented clearly and appropriately for a non-Jewish partner of a member family or a non-Jewish guest entering our sanctuary to join with family and friends for worship.
The Task Force met on seven occasions and did significant research on the established policies of Reform Judaism on participation by non-Jews, as well as the practices of more than 50 Reform congregations throughout the United States. Joyce Marlin worked extensively with the Task Force to forge a report that would emphasize the Temple’s philosophy of inclusiveness.
The Task Force report was reviewed and approved by the Ritual Committee. The Report is now adopted as a policy statement by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees and embodies the Temple Beth Am policy on the role of the non-Jew at our Temple.
This policy statement defines the roles for both Jewish and non-Jewish members and visitors. The areas covered included membership, governance, education, ritual participation, and life cycle events.