Inclusion and Outreach

learning!Our mission is to cultivate and sustain an inclusive environment in which all current and prospective members of the Rodeph Sholom Synagogue and School communities feel welcome and embraced, regardless of their attributes including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, disability, age, sexual orientation and gender identity.  With respect to religious diversity, we welcome all people who seek a connection to Jewish life, we value non-Jewish individuals who are part of our community and we encourage their involvement.

The Inclusion and Outreach Committee reaches across CRS to ensure that every aspect reflects the different family structures and backgrounds of our diverse community. Throughout the year, we review by-laws, policies, programs and communications to ensure the consistency of our message and actions.

torah  unscroll 2Our inclusion and outreach efforts support many existing programs within the synagogue as well as the creation ofnew activities, events and programming. We advocate for the interests of our diverse community to ensure that the varying needs of our members are woven into all aspects of synagogue life.

“As your rabbi, my hope is that all of us, clergy and congregation alike, will do everything we can to embrace those who have stepped forward and shown a willingness to make Congregation Rodeph Sholom their spiritual home.…” Click here to read the full Chronicle article from Rabbi Robert N. Levine, September 2007.

outreach age“…We take pride in welcoming everyone who comes in, of every ethnicity and sexual orientation and demographic. But we are only now learning ways to talk about difference, ways to meet different needs; we are only now realizing that treating everyone the same is not necessarily welcoming….” Click here to read Rabbi Lisa J. Gruschow’s sermon on Yom Kippur 5768.


We welcome those who come from a different faith background, including those raised in different parts of the Jewish community or in a family with no religious tradition who are actively supporting a Jewish home and/or seeking greater engagement in our community.  As one community we wish to:

Internal Resources and Testimonials

In 2007 we formed The Parents InterCircle as a learning and support resource for non-Jewish parents raising Jewish children. For the first three years we developed a network of adults and scheduled regular meetings. From discussions about how to create a Passover Seder that is reflective of your family, to providing resources for Bar or Bat Mitzvah services (see guide below), transliteration and song tunes for Shabbat and holiday liturgies, lifecycle events and more, to simply connecting over coffee for camaraderie and conversation, the Parents InterCircle has become a presence in our community. In response to the needs and schedules of our families, we have focused our efforts on developing an on-line library of resources.  Our network of congregants is available as an accessible source for information and dialogue. Please email gro.cynsrcnull@elcricretni for questions or more information.

Click here for a Bat/Bar Mitvah Guide to Congregation Rodeph Sholom Shabbat services.

“We had already come to the decision that we would raise our children Jewish before we had children, but as a non-Jewish parent, I knew we needed help to do it the way I wanted…” Click here to read the full testimonial from our member, Amy Lipin.

“Community is an overused word in today’s parlance, but Rodeph Sholom has become our community. Our family feels very much at home here, thanks to the ties that bind anyone to a place like Rodeph Sholom: the people. And our children have embraced their heritage in a nurturing place. They are fond of saying, ‘we’re half-Asian and 100% Jewish!’ …” Click here to read an article from our member, JuJu Chang.

List of suggested external resources for intermarried households:

A So-Called ‘Lost’ Jewish Family
Milton Steinberg-Basic Judaism
Daniel Syme-The Jewish Home: A Guide for Jewish Living
Anita Diamant & Howard Cooper-Living a Jewish Life
Abraham Heschel-The Sabbath
Wendy Mogel-The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children
Rifat Sonsino and Daniel B. Syme-Finding God: Ten Jewish Responses
Thomas Cahill-Gifts of the Jews
Morris Kertzer-What is a Jew?
Alan Dershowitz-The Case for Israel
Alan Dershowitz-The Case for Peace

Partnership with the LGBTQ Committee

The Inclusion and Outreach Committee partners with the LGBTQ Concerns Committee to address relevant issues in our Synagogue and School.  Together, we aim to make Congregation Rodeph Sholom welcoming for all of our members and all kinds of families. Our LGBTQ community gathers annually for a celebratory dinner.

“I would say that Rodeph Sholom has become our second home. While the congregation is large, most everyone is so personal and thoughtful. Did I mention we are a Gay headed family? At Rodeph Sholom, we feel like we are just another active congregational/school family!…” Click here to read the full testimonial from our member, Steven Fuchs.

“As a new Jew, my extended family here has given me the wonderful example of what being Jewish can mean. As a daddy I’ve been supported in too many ways to enumerate. And as part of a same-sex couple I’ve never felt so respected and at ease. Both in sorrow and in gladness, I’ve had the chance to feel the genuine caring of the people on West 83rd.…” Click here to read the full testimonial from our member, Rodrick Dial.

List of suggested external resources:

The World Congress of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Jews
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
The Jewish Outreach Institute
Lamda Legal Defense Fund
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network
Hetrick-Martin Institute
Family Equality Council

Addressing  Special Needs and Disabilities

Click here to learn about our special needs resources at Congregation Rodeph Sholom.

Share your thoughts: We invite you to participate in all of our programs, events and services.  We encourage your comments, requests and involvement in all of the activities of our Committee.  If you have suggestions, please contact: gro.cynsrcnull@hcaertuonoisulcni.