Resolution Adopted by the CCAR

RESOLUTION ON RABBINIC COMMITMENT TO KEIRUV

Adopted by the Board of Trustees
June, 2001

Background

WHEREAS, the practice of keiruv, the process of reaching out to and welcoming non-Jews who hav expressed an interest in living a Jewish life - is a well-recognized practice in Jewish history as an expression of the Torah's command: "Hageir hagar itchem v'ahavta lo kamocha," You shall love the ger who lives among you as yourself." (Leviticus 19:24 & more); and

WHEREAS, the Reform Jewish community in North America has been enriched in recent years by the increased attention being paid to conversion and the resultant inclusion of increasing numbers of Jews- By-Choice; and

WHEREAS, it is recognized that an ever-increasing percentage of the households joining Reform congregations are intermarried couples whose non-Jewish partner has expressed interest in Jewish life; and

WHEREAS, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, in response to the urging of its then President, Rabbi Alexander Schindler (z"l), has been engaged in outreach to the intermarried community for more than 20 years; and

WHEREAS, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the current President of the UAHC, has called for a renewed commitment to the practice of keiruv; and

WHEREAS, the CCAR included in the 1999 Statement of Principles a commitment to "not only open doors for those ready to enter our faith, but also to actively encourage those who are seeking a spiritual home to find it in Judaism."

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the CCAR call upon all of its members to rededicate themselves to the practice of keiruv by:

  1. Communicating with their membership/constituencies via sermons, bulletin messages, and other appropriate means, about the importance of inviting the non- Jewish spouses of Jewish members of the community to explore the possibility of conversion to Judaism;
  2. Encouraging non-Jewish spouses to consider increased Jewish learning and living which may lead to conversion to Judaism, and devoting personal time to this endeavor.
  3. Working personally with those individuals who express interest in the possibility of converting to Judaism;
  4. Educating their membership/constituencies as to the importance of accepting gerim as full and authentic Jews; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the CCAR will continue to develop resources for use by its members in their renewed dedication to keiruv through the auspices of the UAHC/CCAR Joint Commission on Reform Jewish Outreach and the CCAR Committee on Conversion.