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Code of Ethical Conduct

Temple Beth El is pleased to have adopted the following code of ethical conduct—a brit (covenant) that reminds members of the responsibility to maintain a sacred relationship with our synagogue community.

As we all strive to be the best we can be, establishing clear standards for conduct can help ensure shalom bayit (“peace in the house”) for all who come to Temple Beth El.

The Board of Trustees adopted the code proactively in December 2023, in line with the Union for Reform Judaism’s initiative to develop congregational ethics codes. No ethical violations had been reported at Temple Beth El.

This code applies to members of Temple Beth El. Our clergy’s professional organizations have clearly delineated codes of ethics and conduct, and Temple Beth El staff are guided by expectations in the employee handbook. Visitors are encouraged to consult our visitor guide.

We thank the task force—Scott Paler (co-chair), Dorothy Paler (co-chair), Leslie Coff, Dean Ziemke, Rabbi Jonathan Biatch, Stefanie Kushner, and Aleeza Hoffert—for their dedicated work in developing the code. We are grateful to the TBE Board of Trustees for offering feedback in the process.

Please contact the Temple Beth El executive director or the president of the Board of Trustees with any questions.

Printable PDF of the Code of Ethical Conduct

Procedures for addressing alleged violations of the Code of Ethical Conduct (PDF file)

Temple Beth El Code of Ethical Conduct for Members
Adopted December 2023

Temple Beth El is a Reform Jewish community whose vision is “to create and sustain a vibrant, inclusive, and engaged community that welcomes and connects people from all walks of Reform Jewish life, and fulfills their spiritual, educational, ethical, social, and emotional needs and expectations” (vision statement adopted in 2014). We are a vibrant, multigenerational Jewish congregation, guided by enduring tradition, grounded in the modern world, and infused with the sacred values of our faith.

Temple Beth El is an inclusive congregation that demonstrates respect for the needs of all. Through acts of joyous worship, serious learning, upholding social justice consciousness, and striving for excellence in leadership, we elevate ourselves, our community, and humanity.

The Jewish values we promote embody the sacred understanding that every human being is created in the image of God (b’tzelem Elohim). We therefore strive to hold ourselves to the highest standards of personal integrity, social responsibility, and human decency. When we behave ethically and hold ourselves accountable, Temple Beth El is a safe, welcoming, and sacred environment.

These value-based guidelines set forth the principles and expectations for adherence to standards of ethical conduct for our community. They apply to all of our members.

Guidelines for Ethical Conduct

We Exemplify Holiness (K’dushah)

Temple Beth El welcomes all who wish to engage with our sacred community. We expect members to embrace everyone without regard to religious background, age, ability, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, or socioeconomic status.

We strive to give all who participate in our community a sense of belonging. We expect members to give other members confidence that they can express their ideas and concerns openly and without fear of mistreatment, belittlement, or retaliation of any kind.

We Treat Others with Kindness (Chesed)

Temple Beth El asks all in our community to treat others in a manner that elevates humanity. Hillel once reminded us that we must refrain from acting toward others in a manner that would be shameful to us,1 so we must refrain from ill treatment of, malicious gossip about, and public embarrassment of others.

We Act with Honesty (Yosher)

Temple Beth El expects all who engage in our community to conduct themselves in an honest manner. We promote open and honest communication that allows for addressing differences constructively. We respect the efforts of others and give credit appropriately for work performed by others.

We Act with Integrity in Financial Matters (Kavod)

Temple Beth El values acting with integrity in financial matters. Temple Beth El expects members to handle financial matters related to synagogue involvement with complete honesty (e.g., refraining from financial impropriety as to Temple Beth El funds or assets).

Members are expected to uphold financial agreements made with the synagogue. If a change in personal circumstances occurs and it becomes impossible for a member to follow through on a previously made commitment, we expect the member to inform those charged with managing synagogue finances of the change and make appropriate alternative arrangements.

We Act with Compassion (Rachamim)

Temple Beth El embraces the fundamental value of performing acts of lovingkindness (g’milut chasadim). We expect members to treat others with respect, dignity, fairness, and compassion.

Temple Beth El does not tolerate bullying, malicious gossip, or slander, including any unwanted behavior that degrades, humiliates, or oppresses another. Verbal bullying, physical bullying, or cyberbullying is never acceptable.

We Insist on Justice (Tzedek)

Temple Beth El believes everyone entering our sacred space has the right to feel safe and respected, and that we are morally and ethically responsible for one another (kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh). The rights of one do not supersede the rights of another, as the ethical teachings of our tradition say: “No less than our space, no more than our place.”

We Support the Sacred Nature of the Human Body (K’dushat Haguf)

Temple Beth El does not tolerate acts or behaviors that exploit the vulnerability of another, take advantage of a power imbalance, compromise one’s moral integrity, or create an intimidating, offensive, abusive, or hostile environment. Among other things, we do not tolerate sexual harassment, including but not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical, written, or visual conduct of a sexual nature.

Further, we as a community strive to protect those who appear to be the victims of abuse or neglect, including spousal abuse, child abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, and other types of domestic violence. We expect members to raise any concerns about possible abuse with Temple leadership.

Addressing Perceived Code of Ethical Conduct Violations

If you have been exposed to or witnessed member behavior that you believe violates this Code of Ethical Conduct, please contact Temple Beth El’s executive director. If you believe that you cannot report the matter to the executive director (due to a perceived conflict of interest or another reason), you may report the matter to Temple Beth El’s president, rabbi, or cantor.

1 Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 31a

July 16, 2024 10 Tammuz 5784