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Interfaith Families

At Kol Ami, interfaith families aren't just welcomed - they are embraced!

We believe that Jewish families come in all shapes and sizes, and we strive to be a home for anyone who wants to be part of Jewish life. At Kol Ami, interfaith families and their children participate actively in Hebrew School, ritual, life cycle events, and adult learning. Inclusiveness is a foundational value of our congregation.

In 2017, Rabbi Micah Streiffer became one of the first rabbis in the Toronto area to perform weddings that include a non-Jewish partner. (Click here to read the sermon he delivered on the topic.) He is available to offer guidance and counseling to families navigating challenging questions about religious life. Our goal is to provide support, learning, and a warm welcome.

Please do not hesitate to contact Rabbi Streiffer or call our office with questions. All are welcome here!
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A message from the intefaith committee

Dear Kol Ami Community,

On Saturday, October 14th we hosted our first program of a 3 part series on Interfaith Community Issues called, "Join the Conversation”

Below is the summarized brainstorm responses to the following question that was posed to the attendees:

How do we as a congregation join our mission (as articulated on our website) with engaging interfaith families?

The numbers below indicate how the group who attended the program, prioritized what we would like to focus on for future conversations as a community vis a vis engaging interfaith families at Kol Ami (highest numbers are top priority). We have rank ordered the community priorities expressed at that program from highest to lowest based on the number of people who chose each particular priority.

COMMUNITY CONVERSATION BRAINSTORM: Priorities for future work

17 Revise constitution

17 Membership criteria (eg. type of membership -1 vote per member; membership aligned with values; membership criteria such as non-partnered non-Jew)

11 Burial - non-denominational plots (?)

11 Communicate TKA openness externally

11 Explore patrilineal descent

8 Reconsider criteria for committee/ volunteerism involvement

2 Define lines for ritual involvement

2 Expand (?) bimah ritual involvement

2 Create safe culture

2 Support Interfaith families at TKA (e.g. mentor, buddies, Judaism 101)

1 Sensitivity training (staff, leadership, members)

0 Explore restriction on other religious affiliation

0 Advocate on interfaith issues (beyond TKA)

0 Explore how other religions approach interfaith issues

0 Analyze restrictions via lens of values

The priorities expressed are consistent with the priorities shared by Kol Ami Interfaith families whom we have interviewed and who participated in focus groups this past year. Note that any suggested revision of the constitution would naturally be dependent on community discussion on the associated priority items, listed below it, and recommendations brought to the executive, to the board and to the AGM.

Our next Community Conversation is Saturday, November 18th, 2017 at 7:00pm. We hope you will join us to continue the discussions and to crystallize community opinions on key issues over this year.

For our 2nd of the 3 part series, on November 18th, we will host a community “Moving Debate" (i.e. all stand where you believe and literally move as you are persuaded) on "membership criteria and non-Jewish community participants in Kol Ami". It will be an important program for the community to gain a sense of where everyone in the community stands on these issues (literally and conceptually) and to consider your own thoughts on this. We're hoping you can come!

Warm wishes,

Your Kol Ami Interfaith Committee -

Anita Small and Norm Rosenblum, Co-Chairs

David Bernstein, Audrey Diamant, Peter Diamant, Anna Gersman, Andrea Gregor, Tomas Gregor, Elaine Page, Sylvia Starosta, Rabbi Micah Streiffer (ex-officio member)

Sat, January 20 2018 4 Sh'vat 5778