Our Commitment to Inclusivity and Diversity
Diversity of Ideas
At B’nai Emunah, we strive to be a community that welcomes diversity of both individuals and ideas. Thus, we encourage members with a wide range of prior experiences and understandings of Judaism to freely express themselves. Freedom of expression encompasses respectful differences of religious opinion.
We seek a more reliable basis for Jewish unity and the future of Judaism than mere uniformity of doctrine and practice. We are a community in search of contemporary, reasoned, and meaningful ways of 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 is rooted in a history of Jews who escaped Germany and Austria for refuge in Shanghai. Today, our congregation is home to Jews of all colors and backgrounds who have made the San Francisco Bay Area their home. One of our core values is that all Jews regardless of their cultural background are fully welcome and integral to our diverse and rich tapestry.
We welcome all members of interfaith families. Non-Jewish partners can enjoy full membership benefits if they so choose and we encourage our non-Jewish members to participate actively within our community’s religious, social, educational, and organizational life. We will help to develop alternative practices in cases where tradition limits non-Jews’ involvement in religious rituals. To support those who have become a part of our community, we protect the membership benefits of non-Jewish partners should the relationship end.
Diversity of Love
B’nai Emunah strongly affirms the principle of inclusivity by welcoming all Jews, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, as full participants in the religious practices of our congregation.
We are proud to perform wedding ceremonies for LGBTQ couples and will use the same criteria for same-sex weddings as for heterosexual weddings.
Jewish LGBTQ members are encouraged to celebrate milestones with our congregation by being called to the Torah for honors and blessings.
Children of LGBTQ families, whether by birth or adoption, are welcomed into the community and encouraged to participate in all of our rituals and programming.
B’nai Emunah is committed to both welcoming our LGBTQ members and promoting the rights of those members in our wider society.
Diversity of Ability
B’nai Emunah strives to include its members in all aspects of congregational life, regardless of mental or physical abilities. We offer individual and group learning opportunities for those with special needs and our “On My Grid” 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 ritual and programming.
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.