Our Commitment to Inclusivity and Diversity
At B’nai Emunah, we welcome diversity of individuals and ideas. Our member and friends have a wide range of experiences and understandings of Judaism and related subjects and we encourage freedom of expression that encompasses respecting our differences of opinion.
We seek Jewish unity by embracing our diversity and we look to the Jewish future by exploring ancient and contemporary ways of exploring and thinking about our Judaism. In short, we are ba’alei she’elah: Jews with questions.
Diversity of Heritage
Everyone is welcome at B’nai Emunah. Our community was founded by Jews who escaped Germany and Austria for refuge in Shanghai. Today, our congregation is home to a rich tapestry of Jews of all colors and backgrounds who have made the San Francisco Bay Area their home as well as individuals and families living elsewhere who wish to be part of our B’nai Emunah family.
All Jews are welcome in our congregation regardless of their cultural background.
We also welcome interfaith couples and families. Non-Jewish partners may enjoy full membership if they wish and we encourage our non-Jewish members to participate actively in our community’s religious, social, educational, and organizational life. In situations where religious tradition limits non-Jewish participation, we strive to develop new and innovative practices side by side with tradition. To support everyone who is part of our community, if a relationship ends, we also protect the membership benefits of both Jewish and non-Jewish partners.
Diversity of Love
B’nai Emunah welcomes all Jews and both Jewish and interfaith couples and families, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Our rabbi officiates at weddings of LGBTQ couples. Jewish and interfaith LGBTQ members are welcome to also celebrate all other milestones with our congregation. Jewish LGBTQ individuals and couples are invited to be called to the Torah for an Aliyah, to be blessed at the Torah, to carry the Torah, and to open and close the ark and lead English readings.
As with all of our non-Jewish members, our LGBTQ non-Jewish members are also welcome to open and close the ark during the singing of Aleinu and to lead English readings.
B’nai Emunah is also committed to promoting the rights of LGBTQ people in the wider society.
Diversity of Ability
B’nai Emunah strives to include members and friends of all mental and physical abilities in congregational life. We offer individual and/or group learning for those with special needs and our Bar/Bat Mitzvah training staff includes a licensed special education teacher.
We are currently working to improve the accessibility of our building with the goal of ensuring that everyone is able to participate fully in Jewish and interfaith rituals and programs.
Here is a set of pages with our Shabbat morning prayers in Hebrew, transliteration and English so those who need enlarged type can view it on their electronic device.
Values for Inclusivity
- Kavod: Respect
Judaism teaches us to treat ourselves and others with respect.
- Shalom Bayit: Peace in the Home
We must help everyone to feel comfortable, safe, welcome, and respected at home and in our centers of Jewish life.
- B’tzelem Elohim: In God’s Image
If we see each person as created in the image of God, we must see humanity and dignity in all people.
- Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Bazeh: Communal Responsibility
We must take action and inspire others to create a community in which we can all take pride.
- Sh’mirat Halashon: Guarding One’s Use of Language
What we say about others affects them in ways we can never predict. Words can hurt or heal depending on how we use them.
- V’ahavta L’Reiacha Kamocha: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
We must love and accept our whole selves, and in doing so create the capacity for extending that love and acceptance to others.
- Al Tifrosh Min Hatsibur: Solidarity
When you feel different from others, find allies and supporters. If you know someone who is feeling isolated, reach out; be an ally and friend.