Since its founding in 1959, Temple Jeremiah has taken pride in being inclusive and welcoming to families of all shapes and sizes, including interfaith couples and families.
Our Outreach Committee provides programs, resources, and support that address the unique needs of interfaith families, Jews-by-Choice, conversion candidates, and those who feel disconnected or under-informed regarding Jewish life and practice in the home or in the synagogue.
Volunteer opportunities include: helping to set up for the annual Shabbat Across America dinner; helping to plan or organize a program; being a welcome greeter at an event; creating invitations or flyers for events; and making phone calls for upcoming events.
Our Outreach Committee:
- Welcomes interfaith families to take part in synagogue life, to learn more about Judaism and to raise their children as Jews.
- Welcomes and educates new Jews-by-Choice as well as those investigating Judaism.
- Inspires Jews to engage more fully in the synagogue community, especially those who feel disconnected or distant.
- Invites non-Jewish partners to explore study and understand Judaism, thereby providing an atmosphere of support in which a comfortable relationship with Judaism can be fostered.
- Assists young adults in strengthening their Jewish connection and identity.
- Educates and sensitizes the congregational community to be accepting of all who seek a place at Temple Jeremiah.
Our Outreach program originally focused solely on the needs of those in interfaith families. We soon learned that questions of identity, ritual, choices and practice appeal to a much larger group.
Outreach is very much about Jewish choices, about making them and understanding them. For choice is the essence of Judaism, especially Reform Judaism. The ideal Reform Jewish choice is an educated choice. To accomplish that, we must gain knowledge and insight, ask questions and seek answers. The Outreach calendar of workshops and discussions provides opportunities to learn and ask, share input and implement ideas in a friendly and comfortable environment.
Some general history...
Reform Jewish Outreach was created in 1979 by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), now called the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), as a positive means to respond to the rising rate of intermarriage and the increasing numbers of people choosing Judaism. The concept and programs have evolved to include parents and children of interfaith couples, as well as the couples themselves.
- Intro to Judaism: Intro To Judaism is a 17-week overview of Judaism offered approximately once per year, providing a more extensive opportunity to learn about Jewish history, traditions, holidays and life cycle ceremonies. Participants will gain comfort and familiarity with the symbols, liturgy, music, traditions and Hebrew blessings that accompany Jewish celebrations in the home and synagogue. Reform rabbis, cantors and educators teach this in-depth course. Introduction to Judaism is designed for individuals and couples wishing to explore Judaism, as well as for those individuals considering becoming Jewish. Partners in interfaith relationships are encouraged to enroll together. For more information, visit the URJ's outreach website.
- Informal Discussion Groups: These groups allow members to share experiences and explore topics of interest to temple newcomers, interfaith families, Jews by choice, those seeking a stronger Jewish identity, and others
- "A Taste of Judaism": This is a three-part series on the basics of Judaism. Geared specifically for unaffiliated Jews, this program has been offered at Temple Jeremiah and numerous other sites throughout Chicagoland.
- Shabbat Across America: On Shabbat Across America, Temple Jeremiah joins with synagogues across North America annually to share and celebrate the fundamentals of the Shabbat worship service.
- There are also many other learning opportunities at Temple Jeremiah, including Adult Hebrew, Adult Learning classes and Torah Study on Shabbat morning. And don't forget adult, family, and children's services on Shabbat and holidays!