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Welcome! Our synagogue welcomes those who wish to partake in the richness of Jewish life.  Interfaith couples and families are part of the make-up of our congregational family, reflecting the diversity of an ever-widening variety of people committed to or interested in Jewish life.

MJC  -   A Welcoming Community

I believe that we must encourage people wherever they are on their spiritual journeys.  I am thrilled to engage anyone who comes through our doors, showing an interest in Judaism.  

More and more, non-Jews are entering this synagogue.  They attend life cycle events, and they are joining our community as part of intermarried couples.  In the name of nurturing Jewish life, I feel strongly that we should welcome them into our midst, in fulfilling yet appropriate ways.  Conservative congregations across the nation are addressing this same issue.  

When interfaith families join Marlboro Jewish Center, it is often because they desire a modern but traditional environment, and the same kind of education for their children.  I have noticed that the non-Jewish spouse embraces Judaism to a degree, and is committed to Jewish education for the children.  Their attitude supporting Judaism should be lauded enthusiastically.   

Our congregation endorses these avenues for participation in ritual life. 

1. The non-Jewish spouse may accompany the Jewish spouse on the bimah for an aliyah, although the non-Jewish spouse may not recite the blessings.  This honor is reserved solely for the parents of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, or of the baby at a baby naming.   

2. If the non-Jewish spouse would like to wear a tallit on the bimah he may do so, although he is not required to wear one.

3. Both parents may be named in English in a blessing said for parents which asks that they teach their child Torah.

4. A non-Jew may accompany someone Jewish on the bimah for an Ark opening, if the Jewish individual actually opens the Ark. 

5. While non-Jews are not permitted to carry the Torah or to read prayers that have specific Jewish identifiers, they may be given English readings which are appropriate for those of another faith.  

I have performed both namings and B’nai Mitzvah applying these principles in interfaith situations.  Each time, all involved have deeply appreciated that our community welcomes supportive non-Jews.  

These standards allow us to bring people close to Torah, enabling us to fulfill our mandate as Ohr la’Goyim or a light unto the nations.  Keruv, the Hebrew word for closeness, is the name of the initiative founded by the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC) of the Conservative Movement.  The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) incorporated Keruv into its mission. Go to for more information.   

I stay current on Keruv by reading articles, speaking with colleagues, and attending lectures and seminars.  I appreciate our movement’s efforts and plan to continue my education on these matters. Further, I am grateful to our Keruv Committee, which helps to make MJC a welcoming community for everyone.

I also fully support conversion to Judaism.  I am thrilled that we offer an Introduction to Judaism class here at MJC on Sundays from 10:00 am – 12:30 pm.  Go to for more information. 

I welcome your thoughts, and if you would like to help with interfaith issues, please let me know.   


Rabbi Pont


Thu, March 22 2018 6 Nisan 5778