Inclusiveness: We believe there is a place for everyone who wants to gather under our tent.
Mishkan Ha’am welcomes everyone who wants to share in what we offer, including people of any age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, as individuals or in families of all configurations. Full participation is open to members of interfaith households, those with longstanding Jewish practice or no previous Jewish affiliation, and those certain of, questioning, or disbelieving in the existence of a divine presence. We know that diversity strengthens our community.
Tradition and Innovation: We believe that Judaism is meaningful both in its traditions and in the context of contemporary life.
As a Reconstructionist community, Mishkan Ha’am integrates a deep respect for traditional Judaism with an active exploration of it in light of our own time. We believe in embracing tradition—rituals and ceremonies that link us to our predecessors and to other Jews—while wrestling with Jewish teachings and practices to find meaning and make choices and adaptations that allow them to evolve.
Respect for All: We believe that every voice matters.
Mishkan Ha’am values the voices of our rabbinic leader and all of our members, including the very young. While our rabbi provides crucial, valued community and spiritual leadership, Mishkan Ha’am’s core identity stems from the community we form together. We learn from each other, asking questions and providing a safe space in which to engage. Differences and a wide range of perspectives are tolerated and respected, including grappling with issues and feelings surrounding Israel.
Egalitarian and Democratic: We believe in open and participatory governance.
We operate as an egalitarian, democratic community, and strive for transparency, open communication, and consensus in our decision-making and operations.
Participation: We believe that, together, we create the “Mishkan.”
In the Torah, the Mishkan, or sacred tent or dwelling place, was constructed with the gifts that each Jew brought. Mishkan Ha’am—“the sacred tent of the people”—too, is a hands-on community, made with the active participation of its members, who contribute in the ways in which they are most inspired. There are many paths to making the Mishkan Ha’am community special—study and learning, developing and performing rituals, meditation, or chanting services, prayer, social justice work, caring for those in need, dance, song, music-and art-making, planning services and activities, and more, which reflect the unique gifts of our members and enrich the entire community.
Active, Creative Jewish Engagement and Education: We believe that rituals and services are more meaningful for all of us when we take part in creating them.
Mishkan Ha’am gently encourages members, both adults and children, to act as learners, teachers, and leaders—sharing our stories, insights, talents, and wisdom at holiday observances and on Shabbat, helping shape discussions and creating new rituals and in our children’s education program, She’arim/Gateways. Nowhere is this more evident than with our bar and bat mitzvahs for which our children and their families create personalized services and help lead them in collaboration with our rabbi.
Fiscal Soundness and Access: We believe in living within our means and assuring financial accessibility.
Mishkan Ha’am has grown gradually, with a careful eye toward living within our financial means and maintaining accessibility for all. We appreciate and rely on financial support and contributions from our members and others. Our membership dues are modest relative to other area congregations and support much of our essential operations. If finances present a burden for an individual or family, we work to ensure that dues do not become a barrier to membership. We never charge for High Holiday attendance, welcoming everyone who chooses to join us under our tent.