Every person who seeks to journey with us is welcome and entitled to full and meaningful participation in Jewish and congregational life. Our goal is to celebrate each person’s individuality, creativity and unique contributions.
Beth El is open and inclusive to all. We joyfully welcome you!
People from many different backgrounds — Jews by birth and Jews by choice, people still deciding whether to become Jewish, white Jews and Jews of color, interfaith households, people with limited prior Jewish learning and people with extensive Jewish experience — are part of the Beth El community. We are two-parent and single-parent families, couples and individuals of all ages, and families formed by adoption (including transracial/transnational adoption) and by birth. Our membership includes LGBTQIA+ individuals and couples, multiracial families, people of varied education and socioeconomic levels, and people living with physical, developmental and mental health challenges.
We seek the active involvement of all our members in worship, learning, the social life of the congregation, repairing the world, and in congregational leadership at every level. We believe that:
We continue to make progress toward achieving diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. In 1975 we created the country’s first egalitarian, gender-neutral prayer book which, in updated form, we still use today (now with English transliterations). Our clergy performed its first same-sex spiritual wedding in 1992, twelve years before same-sex marriage was legally recognized in Massachusetts and 23 years before it became the law of the land in the United States. Members canvassed door-to-door for Massachusetts Question 3 in 2018, which preserved civil rights for transgender people in Massachusetts. And our Antiracism Working Group is now working to embed a racial equity lens into all aspects of congregational life.
Our work is never complete and we sometimes miss the mark. We are continually learning how racism and social and economic injustice remain prevalent in and outside Jewish life. We recognize that just by saying we are a welcoming community doesn’t make it so, and we strive at all times to do better. We warmly welcome you to join us in this journey. For more information, please email Inclusion Committee chair Susan Tohn.
Embracing full inclusion at Beth El has meant making improvements to our building, enhancing our prayer life, and designing accessible programming. It has also set in motion a process of examining our personal and communal values and practices. These are some of the things we’ve done and are continuing to do.