Membership Eligibility

Do I have to be Jewish to join?

  • Individuals seeking individual memberships must be Jewish. However, for a family membership, only one adult in the household must be Jewish.

I’m Jewish, but my partner is not. If we get a family membership, what is the status of my partner?

  • Your partner will be considered a member of B’nai Sholom and enjoy most of the privileges of membership. For example, your partner will be entitled to vote, to serve on most committees, and to be buried in our cemetery.  There are a few activities that are restricted to Jews, such as serving on the ritual committee and board of trustees, reading from the Torah, and leading the blessings before the Torah reading.  We will find meaningful ways for your partner and other non-Jewish family members to participate in ceremonies important to your family, like a bar mitzvah.  You and your partner will find many other inter-faith families at B’nai Sholom with whom you can share your religious and family experiences.

I’m the father of two children. I’m Jewish, but my wife, their mother, is not.  We’ve agreed to raise our children as Jewish.  Can our kids attend B’nai Sholom’s religious school?  Will they be considered Jews?

  • Yes, and yes. Consistent with the national Reform Jewish movement’s position, our congregation recognizes as a Jew any person who has one Jewish parent, is raised and educated within the Jewish faith, and publicly identifies as a Jew.  In this regard, Reform Judaism differs from the Conservative and Orthodox movements, which recognize as Jews only those who have a Jewish mother or who have formally converted to Judaism.

I’m technically Jewish, but I don’t know very much about the religion. I never had a bar mitzvah or anything.  Can I be a member?

  • Yes, of course — there’s no admissions exam! You’ll find B’nai Sholom to be a place where you can feel comfortable with whatever knowledge you possess, and a great place to learn more about Judaism.  We use a prayer book where every prayer that’s in Hebrew is also shown in transliteration and in translation.  We have a great education program for both kids and adults and wonderful holiday programming for all ages.

My grandparents were Jewish, but my parents did not consider themselves Jewish and did not raise me with any faith. Am I Jewish for purposes of membership?

  • If you have questions about your status as a Jew, you should talk to our rabbi. She will be able to guide you in the best way for you to participate at B’nai Sholom.

My partner and I live together, but we’re not married. Can we get a family membership?

  • Yes.

My partner and I are a same-sex couple. Can we get a family membership?

  • Of course. B’nai Sholom does not discriminate based on sexual orientation, and you will find other same-sex couples here.

B'nai Sholom Albany NY