We are affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the association of Conservative congregations in North America.
A Warm Welcome to Interfaith Families at HJC
HJC opens its arms to interfaith families and encourages full integration into its community. HJC has created an open atmosphere, encouraging full involvement from the non-Jewish spouse.
We encourage intermarried families to become part of our warm and inviting community. Patricia Schoeffler and her husband Dan joined HJC as an interfaith couple 15 years ago. They said of our synagogue, “HJC is an unbelievably welcoming community. There have never been any judgments about our level of observance – only encouragement, support and respect for our family’s decisions. From the beginning, we were invited to participate in every aspect of synagogue life. We all feel a deep sense of belonging and this has strengthened our children’s identity as Jews. We feel extremely fortunate to have found our spiritual home at HJC and we strongly encourage other interfaith families to join our synagogue and become a part of this vibrant community.”
HJC, founded in 1907, has quite a diverse membership made up of over 350 families who together share a commitment to making the synagogue experience accessible to each and every member. Rabbi Neil Kurshan offers insightful and supportive counseling to interfaith families and encourages full participation in Adult Education, and all family and adult activities. In addition, these families are fully integrated into HJC’s Hebrew school and Shabbat programming, serve on all the committees of the congregation, and are often active participants in the men’s club, sisterhood and the religious school board.
Jewish holidays and celebrations should be a time of happiness and joy for any family. But for many interfaith families, it can be bring about questions and challenges for the non-Jewish spouse. Finding a welcoming synagogue, and determining how to best participate and be involved in their family’s Jewish experience and simchas can be daunting. At these times, it is essential to have a partner who can help navigate this often confusing terrain, and provide the insight and support to make each family feel welcomed into the Jewish community — HJC can be that partner.
Rabbi Kurshan also encourages the non-Jewish parent to be fully involved and celebrate with their child during their Bar or Bat Mitzvah. The Rabbi encourages participation of the non-Jewish spouse on the bimah, based on each individual’s willingness and level of comfort.
Interfaith families work closely with the Rabbi in order to guide their children through the proper rituals which clarify the children’s legal status as Jews. The Rabbi ensures that the timetable for these rituals is the right one for each family’s needs.
To find out more, contact Rabbi Kurshan at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 631-423-5355.