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
All Jews are 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 families. Non-Jewish partners may enjoy full membership if they so choose 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, we also protect the membership benefits of both Jewish and non-Jewish partners after a relationship ends.
Diversity of Love
B’nai Emunah welcoming all Jews and both Jewish and interfaith couples and families, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Our rabbi officials at weddings of LGBTQ couples and we encourage our Jewish and interfaith LGBTQ members to celebrate milestones with our congregation including being called to the Torah for an Aliyah, being blessed at the Torah, carrying the Torah, opening and closing the ark and leading English readings.
B’nai Emunah is also committed to promoting the rights of LGBTQ people those members in our wider society.
Diversity of Ability
B’nai Emunah strives to include members and friends of all mental and physical abilities in our 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.
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.