Interfaith Families / Keruv
Orangetown Jewish Center welcomes Jews and their family members of other religious traditions to participate in all we have to offer. Interfaith families participate in life-cycle events and celebration from birth onward, in services, educational and recreational programs, and in synagogue life through various committees, which form the fabric of our community. We offer education, mentoring, and guidance with our clergy and educational staff, and connections with other people making the same spiritual journey.
Keruv means “bringing closer”. The Keruv Initiative spearheaded by the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (a constituent arm of the Conservative Movement), was formed to answer the needs of interfaith couples and families in order to welcome strangers into the tent.
As a household affiliated with Orangetown Jewish Center, you would be welcome to participate in our services and would be entitled to be honored by:
- Creating a ritual for a baby naming or Brit Milah
- Speaking from the bimah to your child on their becoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah
- Being part of a family or group blessing before travel to Israel of for moments of transition
- Participating in services from the bimah with appropriate readings
Brit Milah and Naming Ceremonies
Brit Milah (ritual circumcision) is the rite though which a baby boy is welcomed into the Jewish community and at which he receives his Hebrew name. Rabbis Scheff and Drill will be happy to assist in the planning and participate in the celebration of this most meaningful ceremony.
Upon the birth of a daughter, the Rabbis will be delighted to discuss the options for a naming ceremony in the synagogue and/or in your home.
Bar and Bat Mitzvah
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony is an important rite of passage, as a Jewish child becomes a Jewish adult. We afford opportunities to all family members to participate in the service.
On Friday night, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child, surrounded by family, may lead the congregation
At the time of the Kiddush. On the morning of the Mar/Bat Mitzvah, Jewish and non-Jewish relatives may take part in the service with appropriate readings and prayers.During the service, parents will be invited to speak from the bimah and share a blessing with their child.
Children from interfaith families may be enrolled in our Religious School, provided that the child is Jewish or there is an intent to have the child converted to Judaism by the age of 10. Our school principal and teachers are well prepared and understand how to integrate children from interfaith households into our school.
One need not be Jewish to take advantage of the many educational opportunities offered by the synagogue. We offer a wide variety of adult education programs. These range from Jewish education to knitting. Everyone is welcome to our adult education programs and classes.
There are many committees and clubs at the OJC. The Sisterhood and Men’s Club are both social and service organizations that welcome new members. Helping Hands is a program that helps feed and house the homeless. Chesed provides help for congregants who are ill. All of these groups welcome Jewish and non-Jewish participants alike. Opportunities for involvement are designed to help people seamlessly become part of the OJC community.
Special Programs for Interfaith Family Members
Programs may include mentoring (such as having a mentor family). guidance from trained staff and other congregants with the same type of life experiences, discussion programs using a format developed by the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs and special workshops or speakers. Many of these will evolve and change as our synagogue grows.