27 2015

BD: Beit Midrash: Yaakov Ariel; Non-Jews in the Synagogue?

10:00AM - 12:00PM  

Contact Lia Sater

Merely half a century ago both Jews and non-Jews conceived of synagogues as exclusive tribal Jewish territories in which non-Jews took no interest. For the most part mixed couples did not consider joining the synagogue unless the non-Jewish spouses converted. Synagogues proved, however, to be dynamic institutions that respond to the changing cultural trends. One trend has been the growing numbers of romantic and matrimonial unions between Jews and members of other ethnic and religious groups.
Many of the partners not joining the Jewish fold officially, have done so informally, often partially, and at times in addition to participation in non-Jewish spiritual or communal venues. A growing number of spiritual seekers, who have searched for new communities of faith, have come to observe and consider and at times join regularly Jewish services and rituals. The talk will consider the new realities in which synagogues have ceased being insular ethnic Jewish territories and have come to include women and men of many ethnic and religious backgrounds. This influx has changed and enriched synagogue life in meaningful ways.