Bimah (Be)longing: Conservative Shuls Debate Role of Non-Jewish Members
Since then, the Conservative synagogue has evolved, expanding opportunities for non-Jewish spouses and children of interfaith couples to participate. Today Condit would be welcome on the bimah, though he still could not take part in the Torah service.
For Hirsch, who has been on Kol Shofar’s board for the last nine years and served as congregational president, interfaith issues hit home.dan pine & uriel heilman Jweekly.com
“Since I’ve been on the board, we’ve become much more egalitarian. We have changed our policies around non-Jews coming to the bimah,” the Mill Valley resident said. “The issue was, do we want to be an inclusive community or not, and if we do, how are we going to do it with heart?”
To Conservative synagogues, these questions are not trivial. They cut to the heart of a philosophical and practical debate about how open they should seek to be toward the non-Jews in their midst.
“Inclusivity is a very broad notion,” Booth noted. “We want to be welcoming to people, create entry points and let them figure out what’s right for them. We teach a certain idea of what Judaism is, but we give people an idea that they’re welcomed with room to explore.”