Membership Questions

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.

  • Temple Sinai offers an excellent range of opportunities for every member to build relationships and find a special place in the Temple community. For some, that means joining in our participatory Shabbat services, which have many opportunities for lay involvement, including Torah text study brought to life in a way that is relevant for today. For others, it means finding enrichment in volunteer committees, social action initiatives or adult Jewish learning programs. Families value our excellent schools and child/youth programs, designed for kids from 18 months to high school and beyond. Family oriented services and activities make Jewish holidays and traditions accessible.

  • Temple Sinai uses a fair-share model for calculating membership contributions, which takes into account each congregant’s or family’s financial resources. The objective of our model is to make joining our community manageable for each household, regardless of income level. Further, we recognize that tough economic circumstances can affect anyone. In response, Temple Sinai makes a practice of working with members through such difficulties and helping to ensure new members are not turned away from becoming a part of our community due to financial reasons.

  • All of your contributions to Temple Sinai, including school fees, tzedakah and voluntary contributions, are eligible for a tax credit on your income tax return. The amount of credit you will receive is dependent on the amount of donations that you make in the year to all registered charities. Your tax credit could be up to 42% of the amount of your contribution depending on the total amount of all donations made during the year. Cemetery plots do not qualify.

  • 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.

OUR TEAM

Our Membership Services Coordinator can assist you with all of your membership questions.

Fran Isaacs

Fran Isaacs
Membership Services Coordinator
fran@templesinai.net

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