Interfaith Marriage and Families in Chicago
Since 1982, we at Chicago Sinai Congregation have opened our hearts and doors to couples confronting one of the most challenging dilemmas of family and faith – the reconciliation of deep personal love with the significant spiritual, religious, and cultural differences that can be inherent in interfaith marriage. Sinai has been at the vanguard in responding to this modern challenge. We offer interfaith families and couples compassion, understanding and a unique human perspective that embraces those of all faiths, and seeks to provide a spiritual home to Jew and non-Jew alike.
Our Senior Rabbi, Seth M. Limmer, promised in his first High Holy Day sermon: “With fierce fidelity, we will continue our commitment to work with and welcome both the intermarried and the religiously curious.”
Others in the Jewish community respond to interfaith marriage as an unfortunate concession to assimilation.
Our position is very different. Today, we Jews share so much with and are so closely connected to neighbors of all faiths that we welcome through our doors those raised in any faith, those individuals or couples curious about how our Jewish tradition can enrich their lives and personal identities.
And when couples and families decide to join Chicago Sinai Congregation, everyone—regardless of how they identify religiously—is fully welcome to participate in our communal life: on our sanctuary's bimah, in our religious school's parent programs, and as an elected leader of our Congregation.
The most compelling evidence of our philosophy? Our members' deep commitment, the remarkable warmth of our community, and the way and extent to which we live our ethics and traditions.
Please share your journey with us, as we together explore the profundity of our Jewish heritage.
Interfaith Outreach Programs
More than 500 couples have participated in our programs since their inception a generation ago. Over the years, many have chosen to become part of Chicago Sinai Congregation; one-fourth of our members are interfaith couples .
Those families belong for one reason: They found, in Sinai, a community of faith committed to their spiritual journey. That help is found in our interfaith outreach:
- An open invitation to couples and individuals to come and discuss their questions with our Rabbis and our community's interfaith members
- Open Hearts & Open Door. Sinai's program for interfaith couples is a testimony to the power of compassion, caring and open minds. Open Hearts & Open Door is a conversation for intermarried couples. This experience is not about proselytizing or conversion; instead, it focuses on how we meet fundamental spiritual needs. The program allows couples to discuss important topics in a safe, nurturing and respectful environment.
- Connect with our Rabbis to work through wedding plans and discussions. We are happy to work with all couples who want to celebrate their marriage within our Jewish tradition. The only requirement: That they, as an interfaith couple, make a serious commitment to attend to their union's spiritual development, agreeing to participate in our “Judaism in Interfaith Homes” for one year. It's been proven that this kind of deep relationship-building, with our Rabbis and within our Jewish tradition, provides lasting meaning to our families, regardless of the home they one day build.