Sign In Forgot Password

Community Policies


Am Tikvah Religious Life Policies

Photography and Videography Policy During Services on Shabbat/Holidays

We allow photography or videography for lifecycle events from a fixed location in the back of the sanctuary/Fireside Room as long as the camera does not click or beep. We do not allow camera phones in services. Photos may be staged before or after the service. Note that this does not apply to lifecycle events that are not on Shabbat or work-prohibited holidays, and photography at non-services events on Shabbat will be addressed on a case by case basis.


Minhag around Dress in Services

When performing ritual roles in the service that are the bimah, such as taking an aliyah, hagbah, galilah, all adult Jews are encouraged to wear a tallit. We encourage and do not require people to wear kippot in the synagogue. Tallitot and kippot will always be available for those who want to wear them.


Eligibility Policy for Taking an Aliyah, Hagbah, and Galilah

The following policy only applies to aliyot planned in advance. When aliyot are designated during a service or on the spur of the moment, we are tactful and only ask, “Are you comfortable taking an aliyah?” 
To be eligible for taking an aliyah (saying the blessing), the person must be Jewish (as considered by the Am Tikvah by-laws). People who are not Jewish by the Am Tikvah by-laws can join them on the bimah and say amen. Everyone who has a Hebrew name will be called up by their Hebrew name; if not, they will be called by their English name.
This does not apply to hagbah (lifting the Torah), galilah (wrapping/dressing the Torah), or opening the ark. Those may be done by non-Jewish participants.


Passing the Torah

All members of a family can participate in the ritual of passing the Torah through the generations.


Group Aliyot

Congregation Am Tikvah accepts group aliyot.


Writing on Shabbat and Holidays Minhag (Custom)

In accordance with the principle of informed choice, on congregational property and at congregational events, Congregation Am Tikvah allows members to either write or abstain from writing on Shabbat and work-prohibited holidays, as is their personal practice. We recommend that writing be restricted to being in service of our values of inclusiveness (e.g. making nametags) or education, and not be done during services in the prayer space.


Congregational Financial Transactions Policy

Congregation Am Tikvah does not engage in financial transactions on Shabbat or work-prohibited holidays. A member or staff person of Am Tikvah may make a note and follow up after the Shabbat or holiday is over.


Electronic Congregational Communication Policy

Congregation Am Tikvah does not send or post electronic communications (e.g. email, newsletter, social media) to large groups on Shabbat or work-prohibited holidays. Staff is strongly discouraged from conducting electronic communication regarding synagogue business on Shabbat/holidays (or schedule to send after Shabbat/holiday ends), with the exception of emergency situations or pastoral communication. Congregants are strongly encouraged to wait to text or delay sending emails on synagogue business (to staff or members) until after Shabbat/holiday has ended.


Mi Shebeirach Policy

Purpose and Goals
Congregation Am Tikvah maintains a list of people for whom congregants pray for healing, strength, and/or comfort during the Mi Shebeirach for Healing prayer. This policy aims to set guidelines for the list so that it remains up to date (i.e. does not include people who are now well), limits it to a length that feels reasonable to most members, and can be used to collect information on who needs support from the Rabbi or the Care & Concern Committee.


Submission Process
Congregation Am Tikvah will maintain a page on its website for submitting names and relevant information; a draft page can be found here. If a congregant prefers to submit names verbally, by phone, or by email, a staff member or lay leader can submit that information through the form on their behalf. We appreciate you using the online form if you are able. The form will automatically populate a spreadsheet, which can be accessed by the Rabbi, Care & Concern Committee Chair, Religious Life Committee Chairs, staff, Co-Presidents, and any other relevant congregational leaders.


Submission Guidelines
Only members and staff of Congregation Am Tikvah can submit names to the Mi Shebeirach list. The submitting member/staff does not need to be Jewish to submit a name.
The person whose name is submitted does not need to be Jewish, nor a member of the Am Tikvah community. We trust that no names are submitted without the knowledge and permission of the person being prayed for, or one is completely confident that they do not mind if their name is disclosed to the congregation.


There will be two categories regarding the duration of time that a name will be recited for Mi Shebeirach: long term and short term. Short term names will stay for four weeks; at the end of four weeks, they will be removed (without notifying the submitter). The submitter is welcome to resubmit any names for an additional four weeks duration.
There are also appropriate instances when names are placed on the list for longer term support and prayer from the community. These names may remain on the list for indefinite lengths of time, until the person passes away, or they or their submitter requests removal.  When names are read aloud during services, there will be no distinction between long- and short-term names; the categories will only be delineated in the spreadsheet.


Printing the Name of God

Congregation Am Tikvah’s minhag (standard practice) on printing the name of God is that any English form may be written in full (i.e., one does not need to substitute G-d, Gd, G0d, etc.), and Hebrew names of God may also be written in full, but writing out the tetragrammaton (Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh) is discouraged. We encourage substitutions (e.g. spelling out Adonai) or replacements (e.g. ה with an apostrophe, double yud, etc.). 


Policy on Papers with the Tetragrammaton Name of God

Papers and books that include the full tetragrammaton (Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh) must be put in the genizah, not the recycling or trash.


Kashrut Policy

We are respectful and non-judgmental of all of the wide variety of food practices held by members of our community.
We have a space that is comfortable for as wide a set of the Jewish community as possible.
We want to have our policy be well publicized so that people can contribute food to events without anxiety or confusion.
We want key ingredients of homemade and prepackaged food to be made known with a checklist next to each dish so that people can make informed choices and not worry about what they're eating (both for kashrut and allergies, etc.).
As a Jewish institution, we honor Jewish observance.


General Kashrut Policy
Kashrut is a system of dietary rules derived from Torah, which have evolved over time. The rules govern how certain food is stored, prepared, and eaten. As a congregation, we endeavor to apply these rules in a way that is both respectful of the important role kashrut plays in Jewish life, and also allows our congregants - who have a wide array of dietary practices - to share food and eat together comfortably. This policy only applies inside the Am Tikvah building and to official Am Tikvah events offsite. It does not apply to congregant lifecycle or other private events outside the synagogue building.
In the Am Tikvah kitchen and social hall, we are comfortable with people bringing in and/or storing packaged or home-cooked food that is pescatarian but does not contain non-kosher seafood. Such food does not need to be prepared in a kosher kitchen. 
At official Am Tikvah events outside the synagogue building, the food should be either meat/pareve or dairy.
Any meat that passes through the kitchen (outside of Passover, when the kitchen kashrut is switched to both meat and kosher for Passover - see Passover Kashrut below) must not be cooked or heated in the oven or kitchen microwave, or be stored in the kitchen.


There are some situations where eliminating meat might not be appropriate. For example, the Odd Fellows have an exemption to the pescatarian policy because they are a longstanding renter composed significantly of Am Tikvah members, and they are careful to not let meat sandwiches touch kitchen utensils or plates. We ask them to unwrap their sandwiches in the social hall.
Going forward, we will ask all new renters and events to respect our pescatarian standard in the kitchen and social hall.
The staff microwave and refrigerator in the office are not kosher, and non-kosher food can be stored and heated there.


Passover Kashrut Policy
It is our policy and practice to kasher the kitchen for Passover and switch it to being a meat kitchen, and observe the kashrut rules unique to Passover for the entire eight days of the holiday. We will change or kasher the dishes, utensils, serving bowls, and all food preparation items and surfaces that will be used during the holiday. We cover the countertops and cabinet surfaces. No food that is not kosher for Passover can be brought into the kitchen or served at congregational events for the duration of the holiday. 
We acknowledge that different Jewish traditions have different definitions of what is kosher for Passover. If you are having an event in the synagogue during Passover, we ask that the menu be discussed with the rabbi and/or synagogue staff in advance.


Oddfellows Clause 
As a longstanding renter at Am Tikvah, the Oddfellows have an exemption to the Am Tikvah Kashrut (Jewish dietary rules) policy. 
The Oddfellows are permitted the following: 
  • Meat of kosher animals (without a kosher symbol) is permitted in the social hall, but not the kitchen. Meat and dairy should not be served together in the synagogue building.  No Am Tikvah kitchen supplies are to be used with meals that include meat.
  • Oddfellows are permitted to use an outside grill and/or an indoor hot plate/induction plate within the Social Hall using their own pots, utensils, etc.
Sun, June 16 2024 10 Sivan 5784