TAE welcomes all who are interested in joining our community. We were raised in different Jewish denominations and we were raised without affiliation. We were raised in other faith communities and we were raised without religious participation. We have chosen Judaism and we have chosen Jewish loved ones. We are married, single and widowed, in interfaith and interracial relationships. We are all ages, abilities, and orientations. We are together now in one congregation, one extended family. We offer support in times of need, joy in times of celebration, and at all times trust, friendship and community.
Whether this is your first synagogue experience or you are a long-time member of Temple Adat Elohim, we hope this pamphlet answers some of your questions and helps you to feel welcome in our community.
Q: What do I do during a religious service? Can I read aloud or am I supposed to sit quietly?
A: We welcome your participation in our worship services and other rituals, and we encourage you to read, sing, meditate and celebrate with the rest of our congregation. Our intention is to fully respect your individual religious choices while maintaining the integrity of Jewish tradition.
On special occasions, congregants may be honored with leadership roles in our services. Some of these roles are open to everyone. However, we respectfully request that only those who are Jewish lead the congregation in prayers that affirm a Jewish identity or speak of specifically Jewish obligations to fulfill God’s commandments. This includes recitation of the blessings surrounding Torah readings and fulfilling the commandment to adorn the Torah.
Life Cycle Events
Q: What about the big events in life? Can I get married at TAE; will my children be considered Jewish; can I be buried near my loved ones?
A: All of our clergy are available for pre-marital counseling and wedding preparations. Members of our clergy may also officiate at weddings or offer wedding blessings, under certain circumstances, when one member of the couple is not Jewish.
We are overjoyed and humbled that you are choosing to raise your children in our community. We especially recognize the unique commitment made by interfaith families who seek out our synagogue.
In keeping with the Central Conference of American Rabbis position on Jewish status (see below), we are honored to conduct rituals that include baby naming, brit milah (ritual circumcision), and bar and bat mitzvah for your children, and we welcome your full participation as parents.
At times of death and mourning, our clergy are here to give comfort and support to you and your family. This includes counseling and conducting funeral services that are respectful of a loved one’s spiritual beliefs and practices.
Q: Can I be a full member of Temple Adat Elohim and participate in all aspects of congregational life?
A: Absolutely! Our membership is open to all individuals and families who wish to be part of a vibrant progressive Jewish community. You are encouraged to participate fully in educational, communal, and social action activities. Our auxiliaries (Brotherhood, Greatest Generations, Mishpaha, and Sisterhood) also welcome everyone’s participation.
Q: I’d like to get involved on a higher level. Can I serve on the board or volunteer to contribute in other ways?
A: Yes! We would love for you to get as involved as you would like at TAE. Each adult member of our synagogue in “good standing” is eligible to vote at annual congregational meetings. All adults are also welcome and encouraged to serve in elected and voluntary leadership positions. The few exceptions are that members of the Executive Committee and Religious Practices Committee are required to be Jewish by birth or through a formal ritual of conversion.
Other Questions You May Have
Q: Will I ever be pressured to convert to Judaism?
A: We value every individual for who they are and where they are in life. We will never pressure you to convert to Judaism. If, however, you are interested in pursuing a journey toward conversion, our Rabbis and Cantor are always here to serve as your guides.
Q: Do you have programs specifically for members who are not Jewish?
A: We regularly conduct classes, such as Introduction to Judaism, that offer a welcoming setting for all who are interested in exploring Jewish tradition, practice, and ethics.
Q: Can I speak privately with one of the Clergy?
A: YES! Our Rabbis and Cantor are always here for you with a compassionate ear and open arms.
Central Conference of American Rabbis Standards
For purposes of personal identification, we maintain the following standards set by the Central Conference of American Rabbis in 1983:
The Central Conference of American Rabbis declares that the child of one Jewish parent is under the presumption of Jewish descent. This presumption of the Jewish status of the offspring of any mixed marriage is to be established through appropriate and timely public and formal acts of identification with the Jewish faith and people. The performance of these mitzvot serves to commit those who participate in them, both parent and child, to Jewish life.
Depending on circumstances, mitzvot leading toward a positive and exclusive Jewish identity will include entry into the covenant, acquisition of a Hebrew name, Torah study, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, and Kabbalat Torah (Confirmation). For those beyond childhood claiming Jewish identity, other public acts or declarations may be added or substituted after consultation with their rabbi.