Joint Statement of Principles and Policies
Updated: Mar 16
The steering committee for the TBS / NCJC One Community collaborative is composed of the following individuals: Rabbi Leiken (TBS), Lauren Schimko (TBS),Sue Marquith (TBS), Lance Gilden (TBS), Marion Osterlitz (TBS), Rabbi Berkman (NCJC), Mike Backelman (NCJC), Harry Baker (NCJC) and Don Arnstein (NCJC). The committee has been meeting every 2 weeks for many months, overseeing the many working committees and keeping the process of potentially establishing a One Community collaborative on track. At the last meeting, some of the issues that the rabbis have been working on were discussed. Here is a DRAFT of this information. Please read through it and share your thoughts and questions (firstname.lastname@example.org) with us.
At the core of our collaboration are two congregations, New City Jewish Center and Temple Beth Sholom representing the Conservative and Reform Movements, respectively. Building on a culture of respect for different traditions, each of our synagogue communities fully preserves the prayer services, ritual policies and synagogue standards unique to our individual congregational practices and Movement affiliations. More information about Temple Beth Sholom and New City Jewish Center can be found on their websites.
One of the benefits of our collaboration is the sharing of facilities and staffing resources. In order to leverage the energy and vitality that both congregations bring to the collaboration, while at the same time appreciating the differences in our religious practice. The following policies have been drafted:
■High Holy Celebrations
The High Holy Days are incredibly important times of the year for both congregations and the preparation during the month of Elul will provide a variety of educational/ritual/spiritual opportunities for meaningful collaboration. High Holy Day services themselves will be run separately for each congregation.
There are a number of holidays and memorial days throughout the year that have limited ritual distinctions insofar as congregational practice is concerned. Yom Ha-Shoah, Yom Ha-Zikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut are examples of opportunities where our congregations may partner as one Jewish community. Where distinctions do exist, the ritual policies follow the “sponsoring congregation.”
■Programing and Adult Education
Lifelong Jewish learning and study is an important part of our partnership and we see courses and programs led by clergy and members of both congregations being offered throughout the year. We imagine a course catalog appearing in the beginning of the year with a structure similar to an adult learning college. We see a variety of programs and speakers in areas such as mental and spiritual health, Israel, American Judaism and the Diaspora, social justice, etc.
■Rabbis and Cantors – Clergy in both Congregations
The primary role of clergy within the Clarkstown Center for Jewish Life (CCJL) system is to serve the interests, needs and practices of their congregation. The clergy will collaborate together on behalf of the entire community for the purposes of joint programming etc. and will work together in the schools. The clergy are employed by their respective synagogues and their primary relationship is to those congregations.
■Life Cycle Celebrations
Jewish life cycle events including weddings, b’nai mitzvot, baby namings, brissim, etc., taking place on CCJL grounds, are conducted in accordance with the congregational standards associated with the affiliated family or the sponsoring clergy.
In order to ensure that our building is open for a diverse and pluralistic Jewish community, we observe the current Kashrut policy of the New City Jewish Center throughout the building in all spaces.
The use of respectful musical instruments are an important part of TBS Shabbat and holiday services. When services are taking place at the same time in both prayer spaces, both congregations will work to show respect to one another in regards to volume, critique, etc.
■Public Spaces, Shabbat and Yom Tov Observance
Public spaces are those spaces not scheduled for use by one congregation such as the front lobby, hallways, classrooms, and social halls. On Shabbat / Yom Tov, use of electronic and photographic devices will be prohibited in all public spaces including reception areas used by either congregation following services.
■Joint Ritual Process
A task force made up of the chairs of both ritual committees and the rabbis will discuss any issues that arise that have yet to have a clear decision. If the process needs additional thought, there may be others invited to join.