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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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< Q18.4.4 TOC Q18.4.6 >

Question 18.4.5:
Fallacy: Intermarried couples have exactly the same rights as non-intermarried couples in Reform Congregations


Although congregational policies may differ by congregation, there are a number of Reform responses that address this question:

In many Reform congregations, intermarried couples now have more or less the same rights as non-intermarried couples in terms of congregational membership. The key element is "couples"; membership is based on the family unit, not the individual. Often, the non-Jewish partner serves on temple committees, but usually those committees do not include those related to religious practice and ritual (for example, a finance or employment practices committee). A survery conducted by the Commission on Reform Jewish Outreach shows that 88% of Reform Temples allow gentiles to count as Reform Jews by being synagogue members if they are married to Reform Jews; 87% of Reform Temples allow gentiles to serve on synagogue committees, but only 22% of Reform Temples allow gentiles to have an aliyah to the Torah.

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

[Got Questions?]Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your questions. If it doesn't, please drop Email to The FAQ maintainer will endeavor to direct your query to an appropriate individual that can answer it. If you would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at

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© (c) 1993-2002 Daniel P. Faigin <>