Role of Non-Jews

Guidelines on the Role of Non-Jews in Temple Life

Temple Shalom values and appreciates the many contributions to its community life made by non-Jews – both members and non-members. The Temple celebrates positive involvement by non-Jews, many of whom are married to Jewish members, others of whom are sincerely exploring Judaism as a possible life choice.

In keeping with that spirit, this policy document clarifies the role of non-Jews in the life of Temple Shalom so as to avoid any misunderstandings, resentments, or hurt feelings. This document is not in any way intended to diminish or discourage participation by non-Jewish congregants. On the contrary, it recognizes the many wonderful forms such participation takes, while specifying certain limits in an effort to prevent confusion and dissention. Thus, the Temple hopes to maintain and, indeed, enhance the positive nature of the role played by so many non-Jews in its community.

Exceptions to the guidelines may be made by the board of directors on the recommendation of the Ritual Committee.

Services (T’filot)

Acceptable:

  • Reading in English
  • Participating in the choir
  • Giving a d’var Torah
  • Opening the Ark

Not Acceptable:

  • Reading from the Torah
  • Holding the Torah
  • Having an alyia
  • Doing hagba and g’lila
  • Lighting candles
  • Passing the Torah (in Bar/Bat Mitzvah)
  • Leading Hebrew prayers
  • Being counted in a minyan

Service leaders are responsible for implementing these guidelines to the best of their ability and knowledge.

The Ritual Committee may allow individuals who have participated actively and consistently in the Temple community or are considering conversion to participate with their families on special occasions.

Administrative

Acceptable:

  • Join a committee (except Ritual)
  • Work for the Temple as a paid employee
  • Serve as a member-at-large on the board of directors

Not Acceptable:

  • Chair a committee
  • Service as an officer on the board of directors

Religious School

Acceptable:

  • Lead special programs
  • Participate as a parent

Not Acceptable:

  • Work as a teacher (individuals who have participated actively and consistently in the Temple community or are considering conversion may apply for exemption)
  • Work as principal

Approved: December 10, 2001

Last Updated: December 12, 2009