FAQs About Membership

The Torah teaches “love your neighbor as yourself” and the Rabbis praise the one who “greets everyone with a cheerful face.”

At the North Shore Jewish Center, we take these teachings to heart.  In our mission to help Jews and their families find their Jewish spark and their Jewish home, we are always working to make sure that everyone who comes through our doors feels welcome.

We know that for some, the image of who they think joins a Conservative synagogue may not look a lot like who they are.  We want to dispel some of those notions by coming right out and saying who is welcome:

  1. Jews, whether single or married, young or old and whoever is part of their families. Furthermore, while the synagogue has set dues for its members to support the synagogue, we are always willing and frequently do make arrangements so that finances should not stand in the way of anyone’s involvement in the synagogue.
  2. LGBTQ Jews and their families are welcome at NSJC. Gay and lesbian Jews have served in leadership roles on our board, are active in our membership and are employed by the synagogue in key professional roles.
  3. Jews-by-Choice. We are proud to have many people who have come to Judaism at some point along life’s journey actively involved in all aspects of our synagogue community.
  4. Jews looking for an egalitarian expression of prayer and practice. Women and girls participate in the same ways as do boys and men at our services and in all aspects of Jewish life
  5. People with disabilities are welcomed to our synagogue. The building is wheelchair accessible.  The Reader’s Desk where the Torah is read is on the main level of the sanctuary, so it is accessible.  There are handicapped bathrooms.   Large print prayer books are available, either on the back shelf of book as one enters the main sanctuary, or by asking an usher.
  6. Our synagogue includes people of various racial and ethnic backgrounds whose diversity strengthens us as a community.
  7. Intermarried Jews and their families. We welcome all families with Jewish members in them and want the whole family to feel at home at NSJC.  Our Rabbi himself is the child of intermarried parents.  Some facts about how we welcome such families:
  • A person is Jewish if they are born to a Jewish mother or have converted after a period of study, immersion in a ritual bath or suitable body of water, and men have had a brit milah or hatafat dam brit (ritual circumcision or the ceremony that renders a circumcision religiously fit) under the auspices of a recognized Jewish group or clergy person.
  • All children of Jewish families may enroll in NSJC’s religious school and take part in all activities, but to become Bar or Bat Mitzvah must be Jewish as defined above.
  • Minors do not require a course of study to be formally welcomed into the Jewish community if being raised in a Jewish home. Therefore, arrangements, including the offering of financial support, can be made easily with Rabbi Benson for minor children to be recognized as Jewish through simple yet dignified rituals of immersion in a suitable body of water and circumcision/hatafat dam brit, as needed.
  • Non-Jewish parents, grandparents and other family members are included in lifecycle events and can participate in offering blessings to their children at baby-namings and b’nai mitzvah just Jewish parents at NSJC do and can participate in other ecumenical parts of services.
  • Personal milestones in the lives of our members and their families are recognized in our bulletin and elsewhere (i.e. anniversaries, birthdays, etc.).
  • We frequently offer prayers of healing for non-Jews just as we do for Jews without distinction.

From Rabbi Benson, May 2018.  For more information, contact Rabbi Benson at rabbi.benson@nsjc.org.