Diversity and Inclusion
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
“When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I Adonai am your God.” (Leviticus 19:33–34)
These words from the Torah remind us that we have all been “strangers” in one way or another, and demand that we draw on that experience to develop radical empathy for people who feel marginalized.
Our Beth Meyer congregation includes the voices and faces of Jews, families and friends of all backgrounds and from all places – geographically, emotionally and spiritually. We embrace our diversity in experience, opinion and level of observance, yet come together in study, prayer, work and community engagement. We include members of the LGBTQ community, people of color, people with disabilities, single-parent families, interfaith/multi-heritage families and blended families. We seek to continuously include, recognizing this is an ongoing and incomplete process.
A faith community is weakened for all if barriers of attitude, communication or architecture prevent people with disabilities from participating fully in the worship, study, service, and leadership of their congregation. We endeavor to create an environment in our services and our educational programming to ensure that people with disabilities and their families fully and comfortably participate in congregational life. We know that our buildings are not yet completely accessible to all bodies, and we are working to continue to update our campus.
People of all genders should be equally engaged in all aspects of synagogue life, including prayer leadership, teaching and learning, lay leadership, and ritual practice. We recognize the unique needs of the transgender and non-binary members of our community, and actively work for outreach and real inclusion.
Our buildings direct members and visitors to non-gendered, single occupancy restrooms on our campus.
Jews may adopt for themselves and their children a Hebrew name which contains the gender marker of their choice (i.e. ben, bat) or a name containing a gender-neutral marker (e.g., m’beit) and this name will be used in official documents of our synagogue and while calling them to the Torah.
It is our custom to use each individual’s gendered or non-gendered pronouns of choice in referring to them during synagogue services, at programs and in publications.
We want same-sex couples and LGBTQ individuals and their families to feel at home in our community – and they do. We are grateful for our LGBTQ staff, lay leadership, teachers and congregants and their unique experience.
We recognize that we can always do more to repair the spiritual damage inflicted on some LGBTQ people by the religious institutions which once rejected them. We strive to be a source of healing, and we have pledged to be a refuge from hatred and a safe place for our members of all ages to come out and live open and proud lives.
Our rabbis, our community and the Conservative Movement have embraced same-sex marriage. Beginning in 2012, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS) has provided Conservative rabbis with guidelines for performing same-sex weddings. These guidelines grapple with serious issues regarding the ways in which a traditional ketubah (marriage contract) and wedding ceremony presume gender and how they can be adapted to meet changing values and needs.