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Har Shalom Welcomes Interfaith Households


Har Shalom has a distinguished history as an egalitarian and inclusive Synagogue.  If you are the non-Jewish spouse or partner in a Har Shalom household, we encourage you to be an active part of the Har Shalom family. Here are some of the opportunities we offer:

  • Adult learning classes to help you gain a comfortable understanding of our services and Jewish traditions.
  • Full involvement in the volunteer projects, educational activities, and all non-ritual committees.
  • Full access to and assistance of our clergy
  • Participation in the religious school activities and life-cycle events of your family members.

Our staff and officers will be happy to discuss with you the many opportunities available that will help you to become a vital participant in our Synagogue’s community.

For more information or further questions, please contact the Rabbi or Hazzan in the Clergy Office.

Resources for Interfaith Households


  • If I would like to discuss what activities I can participate in at Har Shalom, as a non-Jewish partner or spouse, whom should I contact?
    • Our clergy are pleased to discuss any questions that you have, please Ask the Rabbi.
  • Can you recommend any books or websites, or local or national organizations that can provide helpful information to interfaith households?
    • Our clergy are pleased to direct you to additional resources related to your specific interests. The following is an initial list of resources which provides a good starting point.
    • As you will understand, although we identify these organizations as a resource for learning, information and opinions found on external web sites may not represent the views of Congregation Har Shalom or its members.
    • Interfaith Community –
    • Jewish Social Service Agency –
    • The Jewish Outreach Institute –
    • The Mothers Circle (JCC) for non-Jewish moms –
  • What are the halakhic limitations that apply to a non-Jewish spouse or partner?
    • When it comes to the participation of non-Jewish spouses or partners in Synagogue life there are three areas of limitations:
    1. Participation in services. There are many opportunities for non-Jewish spouses or partners to participate in important family milestones such as baby namings and b’nai mitzvah, and they can have a reading role during Shabbat services. At the same time, there are also some halakhic constraints. In accordance with the rules of the Conservative Movement, with which Har Shalom is affiliated, a non-Jewish spouse or partner may not have Torah-related honors, nor recite blessings.
    2. In what ways can a non-Jewish spouse or partner participate in the life-cycle events of my family?
      • Honors are often awarded to people celebrating a life-cycle event. These events involve a core family as well as the community at large. We wish to have every member of the core family share in the joy. In these situations, such as a birth or a b’nai mitzvah, the non-Jewish family member often accompanies the Jewish family member to the Torah (following the blessings), as someone who enables this moment of joy to take place. While the Jewish family member recites the covenantal blessings, the non-Jewish family member is very much part of the occasion.  Har Shalom also creates opportunities in the service that are not strictly Jewish ritual. These may include readings, the presentation of a tallit to a child, or saying some words to the child that do not have covenantal significance.
Sat, April 17 2021 5 Iyyar 5781