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Photo Credit: Drew Coffman

Interfaith Inclusion

Identifying best practices on interfaith inclusion means looking at it through the lens of our Judaism -- one that is both authentic and dynamic.

In 2016, USCJ convened a commission of thought leaders from within the Conservative movement to create a rich, broad, and results-driven conversation about how our congregations can devise practical, effective strategies for interfaith engagement. The resulting report recommended we work with our synagogues on four actions that foster new pathways and entry points to engage 21st-century families. We must be:

  1. Welcoming: Kehillot must reflect on their outreach and communications strategies to ensure they are creating low-barrier entry points for unaffiliated, unengaged, and under-engaged families. Every implicit and explicit message makes a difference.

  2. Honoring: Kehillot should affirm that every member of a Jewish community can make a meaningful contribution to a congregation’s mission and vision, while recognizing and respecting how every member of the community defines his or her relationship to the Jewish covenant.

  3. Deepening (Community Organizing and Education): Kehillot must value the hearing of individual and family stories to develop a better understanding of how people come to and step into Jewish community, and use community organizing techniques such as one-on-one meetings and house meetings to help the community develop a shared language.

  4. Transforming: Kehillot are able to make structural changes to their governance and cultural changes to the community once the leadership establishes the foundation of the congregational culture, heightening congregants’ understanding of the needs of the community while ensuring that governance reflects that vision.

USCJ was awarded a grant by the Jewish Funders Network and the Genesis Prize to launch the Community & Covenant Action Community, a training program for congregations seeking to take a reflective and intensive look at how they engage interfaith families in their community. The community launches in October with 10 congregations.

We celebrate the diversity among and within our kehillot and encourage the engagement of all those who seek a spiritual and communal home in an authentic and dynamic Jewish setting. We call on all of our kehillot to open their doors wide to all who want to enter. Let us strive to make the words of Isaiah a reality in our time: 'My House will be called a house of prayer for all people' (Isaiah 56:7).

USCJ Standards for Congregational Practice, Section V - Membership

Check back in Spring 2018 to sign up for the next cohort

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