- The Warm Reform Family Congregation in the Heart of Morris County Jewish life is about people, people coming together in a sense of extended family in search of the transcendent. And it is that sense of caring and connected family which we have tried to create at Temple B'nai Or. We build on that family feeling as together we learn, worship, grow, celebrate, play, and, most importantly, engage in acts of Tikkun Olam, working to make the world what God dreams it to be. Our congregational family consists of individuals, couples with children, couples without children, interfaith couples with and without children. Among us are believers, non-believers and searchers, gay, straight, rational and mystic, multi-racial, and; just Jewish. We come together in worship services are beautiful, joyous and understandable. Interfaith families have been an integral part of our congregation as two generations of non-Jewish spouses have joyfully felt very much a part of the Temple family. In many ways, it is difficult to look around and know who is Jewish and who is not, since the non-Jewish parents are so much part of their children's Jewish lives at Temple. In our Temple family, there is no such thing as looking Jewish unless looking Jewish means having a smile on your face and a sparkle in your eyes. There is no such thing as a Jewish-sounding name. Sure, we have Goldstein and Levy and Cohen, but we also have Thomsen, Fernandez, Johnson, Chin, and Cattano. In realization of the prophet Isaiah's vision, our house is indeed a house of prayer for all peoples. You can get a better idea of the experience of interfaith families in our by going to our website: www.templebnaior.org/study/rabbi/. And if you would like to read a little bit more about my thinking, please visit my online Rabbi's study at www.templebnaior.org/community/interfaith. I think you might find as interesting a sermon I gave one Yom Kippur evening entitled "Intermarriage: Realities and Possibilities." Non-Jewish parents feel very integrated in their children's Jewish lives here at Temple. While there is a often a concern among some non-Jewish parents of Jewish children that they will be strangers in their own families, we have found that with just a little knowledge and an accepting smile, everyone feels very much included. We feel it is very important that non-Jewish parents be integrally involved in the life-cycle events of their children, e.g. bris, naming, Bar/Bat Mitzvah. While our goal is the creation of unambiguous Jewish identities for our children, we recognize the unique situation of inter-faith families as they celebrate with the Christian part of their families the important times in their lives as well. One final word for non-Jews who are raising Jewish children: Thank You! We recognize that this often entails a sacrifice on your part and a venturing into something which may not yet be totally comfortable. We know that in many families, it is a non-Jewish mother who does the schleppingand who, in many ways, is responsible for facilitating their children's Jewish education. We understand this is something that you do to strengthen your family, but it strengthens us as well, which is why you should know that we appreciate what you are doing so very much. If you are in an interfaith family and live in Morris County, NJ, we would very much like to meet you and explore if Temple B'nai Or could be your Jewish home away from home, as so many interfaith families have found it to be. Please call or email me, I would love to speak with you! Rabbi Don Rossoff 973-539-4539 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 973-539-4539 end_of_the_skype_highlighting firstname.lastname@example.org P.S. Ask us about our Open Door Policy for students in Kindergarten, 1st or 2nd grade.