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Interfaith Families

Hear what CEEBJ interfaith family members are saying:

  • "As an Interfaith family, we feel very comfortable at CEEBJ and have raised our three kids at the synagogue, from kindergarten Hebrew school through b'nei mitzvah. As a non-Jew, I felt included to participate and stood along my spouse in my children's b'nei mitzvah ceremonies."
  • "For us, ritual and tradition are a huge part of spirituality. Through our Jewish observances, we create important family bonds. The non-Jewish member of our family has never needed to explain himself or justify his presence in the congregation. That he is willing to create a Jewish life with his children has always been enough. He has been made to feel an essential part of the B’nei Mitzvot for both of our children." 
  • "CEEBJ feels inclusive to our family for all of the services and programs which we attend."
  • "As the Christian partner, I was afraid that I would never really find a spiritual place for myself outside of what I grew up with. But at CEEBJ I've found a loving, supportive, and welcoming community that accepts me for who I am and where I am in my own Jewish journey."
  • "I am comfortable as an interfaith family participating in events when I am not thought of as interfaith. I am a member, a worshiper, a participant, an ice cream server, a greeter, a sukkah builder, a student, a teacher, a planner and a participant. The best part, to me, of being part of this congregation is worshiping together and finding our own way to speak to God. It is an honor to feel welcome, to sing or not sing, to be able to attend or watch on Zoom."
  • "What makes us comfortable as an interfaith household at CEEBJ is the warm and welcoming atmosphere of Temple and, equally, the camaraderie with Temple members. CEEBJ feels very inclusive."

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q.  Does CEEBJ have members who are not Jewish?
A.  Our congregational life is enriched by our members who come to us with different faiths and religious backgrounds. We welcome your entire family. Both Jewish and non-Jewish partners are considered members if they so choose. 

Q. Can non-Jewish partners and extended family participate in lifecycle events? 
A. Yes. We believe it is important to welcome all of our members’ families, regardless of their own religious affiliation. Please contact our rabbi to discuss how best to involve your family. 
  
Q. How do CEEBJ clergy support interfaith couples? 
A. Our clergy seek to support interfaith couples, guiding and counseling couples before, during, and after a marriage ceremony.  While they appreciate the importance of the wedding ceremony, our clergy wish to help these couples recognize that the ceremony is one step in their relationship with each other and their developing relationship with the congregation.  Our clergy will also be able to help partners find creative ways to solemnize their relationship. Please contact our rabbi to discuss how we can be part of your celebration.  

Q. I don’t read Hebrew. Will I be able to understand the service?
A.  Yes. We conduct our worship services in English and Hebrew. We provide transliterated Hebrew and English translations of all Hebrew prayers and readings. 

Q. Does CEEBJ offer any educational programs for interfaith families?  A. Yes. All adult learning programs are open to all of our members, regardless of faith.  We also welcome anyone interested in exploring Judaism to attend the Wisconsin Council of Rabbis’ Introduction to Judaism course, which is offered in conjunction with the Harry and Rose Samson Jewish Community Center. We periodically offer programs for interfaith couples about a range of issues they may encounter and specifically regarding raising children in interfaith families. Please contact our Director of Lifelong Learning or our clergy with any specific questions or concerns you may have. 

Q. Does CEEBJ expect the partner of a different faith to convert to Judaism? 
A. No. While we are delighted to talk with you about conversion at any time, those of different faiths are always welcome at CEEBJ. 

Q. I maintain my non-Jewish religious upbringing. Is that a problem? 
A. No, we respect your traditions and your background. We do expect that children who enroll in CEEBJ’s youth educational programs be raised as Jews and not in more than one faith. 

We periodically offer programs for interfaith couples about a range of issues they may encounter and specifically regarding raising children in interfaith families. Please contact our Director of Lifelong Learning, Rabbi or Cantor to with any questions or concerns your family may have or to discuss your family’s situation. 

Q. Although we raise our children as Jews, our extended family is a different faith. How can they feel welcome at our lifecycle celebrations? 
 A. Non-Jewish family members can participate in all services including b’nei mitzvah services, and other life cycle events. Everyone is welcome to attend services and all CEEBJ events. Please contact our rabbi to discuss how best to involve your family. 

Q.  Do the CEEBJ Clergy officiate at funerals for non-Jewish congregants? 
A. CEEBJ clergy will officiate at funerals for non-Jewish congregants in the sanctuary, funeral home or grave site. If asked to participate, CEEBJ clergy will offer a prayer or eulogy at a funeral that is officiated by non-Jewish clergy elsewhere.  

 

 

Sat, December 10 2022 16 Kislev 5783