Temple Sinai Welcomes You! Our Doors Are Wide Open!
Yours, mine, ours: Every couple begins with two individuals from different backgrounds. Reform Judaism has made a commitment to welcoming interfaith couples into congregations, embracing them and their children and offering support and education to their extended families. Each interfaith love story is unique, but many of them share common themes and concerns.
Yes! The prophet Isaiah said: “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” (Isaiah 56:7) We know from the Torah that from the very earliest days, there have been individuals who lived with the Jewish community but who were not themselves Jewish.
Please join us! Temple Sinai hosts Shabbat worship services on Friday evening at 8.00 p.m. and on Saturday morning at 10.00 a.m. Additionally, there are monthly Shabbat activities for young families.
You are welcome at all regular services in the synagogue and, of course, at any life-cycle events to which you are invited (for example, a wedding). Temple Sinai has its own specifications regarding who may lead services and perform certain roles, but you are welcome to participate in everything that is done or read by the whole congregation at a service. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to ask our clergy or lay leaders.
Temple Sinai uses both English and Hebrew in our worship services and we provide English translations for many of the Hebrew prayers and readings. These translations convey the meaning of the prayers.
It is perfectly acceptable to read only the parts of the service with which you feel comfortable or to just sit and listen. If you need help finding the place in the prayer book, simply ask someone nearby. Temple members want visitors to feel welcome and at ease during services.
One of the best ways to learn about Judaism is to attend activities at the synagogue. Temple Sinai offers many adult education sessions. Worship services are also a great opportunity to learn about Judaism. Our clergy are happy to meet with you to answer your questions and explore Judaism together.
The Introduction to Jewish Life class (IJL) was created by the Reform Rabbis of Greater Toronto to enable those who wish to learn more about Judaism and the Jewish people an opportunity to study in depth. In addition to transmitting Jewish knowledge, the Jewish Information Class also affords the opportunity to acquire Jewish life skills and to experience Jewish religious and communal life. Our classes, taught by the rabbis and master teachers of our community, also serve as a prerequisite for those who wish to convert to Judaism under the auspices of the Bet Din (rabbinical court) of the Reform Rabbis of Greater Toronto. The program runs for approximately 30 weeks. All students in the Jewish Information Class participate in the program under the sponsorship of a rabbi who is a member of the Reform Rabbis of Greater Toronto.
If you are interested in taking the IJL course, please call 416.487.4161 or email [email protected] to make an appointment to speak with one of our clergy members.
Temple Sinai includes interfaith couples as members as part of family memberships. We welcome your participation on committees and in other facets of congregational life.
However, there are restrictions when it comes to leadership or serving on the Temple Board. Feel free to ask our executive director Rayner Conway any questions you have about membership and participation or call the temple office and request to be directed to the proper person.
The Jewish community takes delight in welcoming those who choose to embrace Judaism as their own religion. Our Sages, however, have made it very clear that a conversion is not valid if it results from any pressure or coercion. You are welcome in Reform synagogues as a friend of the Jewish people. You do not have to convert.
Traditional Jewish law says that membership in the Jewish people is matrilineal, that is, passed through the mother. Therefore, matrilineal descent means that if the mother is a Jew, the children are automatically Jewish, too; but if the father is the Jewish parent, the children will need to formalize their Judaism. Our clergy can explain the steps involved.
Children depend on their parents to teach them about identity in many areas of life. Interfaith couples must make this decision for themselves and their children. It is our experience that children who are given roots in one tradition are more likely to feel a secure sense of belonging. Children who are raised in both traditions too often feel that they do not truly belong in either community. This is a highly personal decision for parents to make and should be approached with respect for both traditions. Often couples find it helpful to contend with these issues in a facilitated manner. For help, please contact one of our clergy for a referral to our member specialist.
Many interfaith couples have chosen to raise their children as Jews, and the Reform Movement welcomes them and their children. In those families, non-Jewish parents often play a key role in providing for their children’s Jewish education and in creating a Jewish home environment. If you have decided to raise your children as Jews, contact Temple Sinai as early as possible to find out what support programs and which people are available to assist you in learning about Judaism and raising your Jewish children.
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. A number of our religious school programs are designed for family participation.
If we decide to raise our children Jewish, can the non-Jewish parent be involved in life-cycle events such as Bar/Bat Mizvah?
Yes, both parents are respected as full partners in raising their children. Though the non-Jewish parent cannot participate in some of the rituals (e.g., an aliyah), both parents and grandparents are welcome to be on the bima to support and celebrate their children and grandchildren. Non-Jewish relatives are often invited to open and close the Torah ark. If you have more specific questions, please feel free to speak with our clergy.
What about the non-Jewish grandparents? Can they be part of my Jewish child’s life?
Yes! A child who knows his or her grandparents is a fortunate child. All grandparents are welcome to attend services and events at the synagogue and your child’s religious school. Shabbat dinner on Friday nights constitutes a special time for family gatherings that can include grandparents. Grandparents can share family stories, customs and jokes. A child’s relationship with a grandparent is a treasure and should be nurtured.
Yes! Temple Sinai has made provisions for the burial of interfaith couples at Lambton Hills Cemetery.
Our Membership Services Coordinator can assist you with all of your membership questions.
Avi Ferdman & Gavin Posner