Dual Faith Families

Intermarried? Beth David Welcomes You!

Beth David Synagogue welcomes all individuals and families to be a part of our community.  We recognize that intermarried couples and their families face special challenges and we seek to make you feel welcome and comfortable in our synagogue.  We sometimes use the term K’rove Yisrael (KY), meaning “a friend of the people of Israel” to describe non-Jewish partners who participate in and support the Jewish community.  We hope to see you at one of our services or events soon!

If you have questions, we have answers!

I am not Jewish, but my partner is. Can we attend services together?

Everyone is welcome to attend and participate in our Shabbat and holiday services. We have several booklets of explanation to help people get the most out of our services. For those who cannot read Hebrew, transliterated siddurim (prayer books) are available on tables outside of the sanctuary.

May I attend classes and events at the synagogue?

Yes!  We invite you to participate in our adult education classes, holiday observances, social events and more.  Within our congregation there are different levels of observance and participation.

Can I serve on a synagogue committee?

We welcome and encourage a KY’s (non-Jewish spouse) participation in nearly all aspects of synagogue life.  There are some exceptions, such as the Ritual Committee and the Board of Trustees.  A KY cannot chair a committee and does not have voting privileges at congregational meetings.

Will I be pressured to convert if we join Beth David?

Our Rabbi is always willing to explore the possibility of conversion.  However, we will never pressure you to convert.  You are welcome in our synagogue as a friend of the Jewish people.

What about Services and Life Cycle celebrations in the synagogue? How can I participate in our family’s celebrations?

Your family is invited to worship and celebrate with us!

We welcome both Jewish and non-Jewish family members to worship at all services. Weekday, Sabbath and holiday services are open to members of all faiths.

Beth David’s sacred mission is to foster intimacy and connection in the presence of each other, through the rich medium of Jewish life and tradition.

Can my family receive honors?

As a household affiliated with Beth David Synagogue, you would be welcome to participate in our Torah service and would be entitled to be honored by:

  • Being called to the bimah (altar) for a baby naming
  • Being called to the bimah for a child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah
  • Offering a prayer to your child at a Bar/Bat Mitzvah
  • Being part of a family or group blessing before travel to Israel
  • Being called to the bimah to celebrate an anniversary
  • Coming to the bimah on the occasion of a child’s consecration, confirmation or graduation
What happens if we adopt a child?

Adoption is a mitzvah, and adding children to our community is a blessing.  We welcome and embrace adopted children of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Like children of non-Jewish mothers, adopted children would need to undergo conversion.

Bar and Bat Mitzvah

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 the morning of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Jewish and non-Jewish relatives may take part in the presentation of the tallit (prayer shawl) and to accompany Jewish family members in various honors on the bimah.  During the service, both parents will be invited to share a blessing with their child, and to stand beside your child as s/he has an aliya at the Torah

As an dual faith couple, what choices do we have in planning a wedding?

The union of a couple is always a celebratory event. Our Rabbi will be happy to meet with all couples contemplating marriage and will discuss opportunities for involvement in the synagogue and in Jewish life. Please contact the Rabbi through the synagogue office.

In all Conservative congregations, weddings are performed only between two members of the Jewish faith. Conservative rabbis are not permitted to officiate at an interfaith civil ceremony.  We recognize that some congregants and children of congregants will enter into interfaith marriages.  Rabbi Ben-Gideon can assist the couple in exploring Judaism and ways to create a meaningful wedding ceremony.

If a Jew marries a non-Jew, what are the children?

Jewish law says that membership in the Jewish people is matrilineal, that is, passed through the mother.  Therefore, if the mother is a Jew (by birth or conversion), the children are automatically Jewish.  If the father is Jewish but the mother is not, the child would need to go through a formal conversion process in order to become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

Can our children attend Religious School?

Yes! All children of intermarriage can be included in our Preschool and Religious School. All children are treated equally, whether or not they have been converted. Our teachers are sensitive that some children celebrate Christmas and Easter with their non-Jewish relatives. We also want to extend our gratitude to you for raising your sons and daughters as Jews, as our children are our most precious resource.

What if there is a death in our family?

The Rabbi is available for comfort and support to all mourners. Our congregation will also be there for you in times of need.

In the event that a non-Jewish spouse affiliated with our congregation loses a loved one, our Rabbis will be available for comfort and support. Judaism offers much in the way of mourning practices. Many Jewish traditions are universal in their ability to provide comfort at a time of loss. Non-Jewish spouses may be buried next to their spouse in the Greensboro Hebrew Cemetery. The rabbi is available to discuss rituals and observances that may be helpful in a time of mourning.

Jewish Adult Education

One need not be Jewish to take advantage of the many educational opportunities offered by Beth David Synagogue. Everyone is welcome to our adult education programs and classes.

Where can I find more resources?

The Jewish Outreach Institute has a comprehensive reading and resources list.

If you have any further questions or would like to discuss your particular situation, Rabbi Ben-Gideon would be happy to meet with you.  Please contact him by calling the office, 336-294-0007 , to make an appointment.