Funding Gap, Syrian Family, and the Question of Non-Jewish Members in Ritual Leadership

It is a busy time within the DJC.

December’s campaign to help the DJC close its funding gap resulted in a flurry of year-end donations and pledges totalling more than $23,000.  While we didn’t quite reach our target, we were encouraged by the response.  The diversity of donors and generosity of our members was a powerful testament to how much people care about and value the DJC.  As a Board, we’re actively looking for new ways to ensure that the DJC remains financially strong so we can continue to provide the programs that all of us have come to value so much.

Meanwhile, the Social Justice Committee’s tireless work on our sponsorship of a Syrian refugee family is one example of the impact the DJC is having in the world.  We’re delighted to say that we’ve been matched with a family of seven: mother (age 38); father (age 40); and four sons and a daughter, ages 10, 9, 8, 2, and not yet 1 year.  They’re not expected to arrive until late spring, but you’ll find weekly postings on the DJC web site about how you can help.  And here’s the most recent post.

Finally, we had our latest Year of Wrestling Together session on Monday, January 25th.  Attended by over thirty community members, we wrestled with the question of which, if any, of a small list of ritual roles should only be performed by Jewish members of our community (currently, any member of the community can plan any role in a DJC service).  See this month’s Message from Rabbi Miriam for a detailed explanation of what’s included.

It was an extraordinary, at times difficult, conversation.  Rabbi Miriam shared divergent rabbinical perspectives on the question.  A number of people spoke of their concern about impinging in any way on the inclusiveness which our community holds dear; others spoke about feeling that some ritual boundaries were a reasonable part of a being in a “Jewish” circle; everyone spoke about how the support, engagement, and love of non-Jewish partners are integral to what makes our community so rich and special.

There were so many thoughtful perspectives – each different, but each dedicated to hearing and trying to understand where others were coming from.  It’s our openness to these kinds of frank, open, nuanced conversations that sets Rabbi Miriam and the DJC apart.  View the final thoughts from the participants at the end of the session.

Later this spring, based on the outcomes of these discussion, the Board will be making decisions about how to best move forward on questions like these.  We encourage you to come to the remaining session in the coming months. Lend your voice to the conversation!

The DJC Board of Directors
Josh, Hilla, Ken, Lis, Margaret, Marlee, Michael, Nadya, Shari

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