The Interfaith Matters Committee of Sinai Temple generated and sent out via mail 71 surveys to the interfaith families of the congregation on April 16, 2012.  The purpose of this survey was two-fold.  It was intended to obtain information regarding discussion topics/events that people would be most interested in as well as determine knowledge of existing resources available at Sinai for interfaith families.

As of May 16th (4 weeks time), 24 surveys were returned via mail.  (~34% return rate

The top half of the survey asked the participants to mark discussion ideas/groups that they would be most interested in and likely attend.  They could check as many as they wanted.

-7  participants had no interest in any discussions.  (2 specifically stated no need)

-Of the 17 remaining survey responses, the breakdown as to interest is as follows:

Introduction to Judaism Course 7
Overview of Jewish Holidays 8
Jewish Values                                           10
Children's Identity in Interfaith Family   10
Bar/Bat Mitzvah Info for Interfaith       14
Discussion on Life Cycle Dilemmas     9


Within these topics, participants were asked to rank the order they would feel is most interesting or appropriate for them in their lives.  Overall, the top four topics people would be most interested in discussing are:

1.  Bar/Bat Mitzvah information for Interfaith families - With most people wanting both         handouts AND a meeting to bring up any questions or dilemmas.

2.  Children's Identity in an Interfaith Family

3.  Jewish Values

4.  Discussion of Life Cycle Dilemmas - Three responses specifically asking about death/burial issues.

Added writen in topics included:  In/law and out/law issues, retirement and change from working to spare time, having Adult Hebrew classes, and burials for mixed couples.

On the bottom half of the survey, interfaith families were asked to check off all of the resources that they knew already existed at Sinai.  The results are as follows from the 24 survey responses:

16 - Interfaith Committee

13 - Library Section with topics on Interfaith

8  -  Brochure located on lobby table entitled "About Sinai…A guide to Frequently Asked                        Questions" designed with our Interfaith families in mind.

6  -  URJ brochures on Interfaith

3  -  Mentors for Bar/Bat Mitzvah families

10 - Interfaith Matters link on Sinai website

17 - Rabbi Shapiro's open door policy to discuss interfaith issues


These responses indicate that although most of the survey families know about the work of the Interfaith Matters Committee at Sinai, the library resources, and the Rabbi's open door policy, there is still some disconnect present with the other interfaith resources available.  These include brochures offered in the front lobby, and the current information provided on the Interfaith Matters link on the website, including mentors for Bar/Bat Mitzvahs.


In conclusion, these survey results are important and necessary to plan for the future of interfaith programming at Sinai Temple.  These results provide several requested topics of interest and discussion for our interfaith families, as well as addition comments and ideas.  The survey also demonstrated the need to better inform the congregation of the interfaith resources on the lobby table as well as on the website.   The results will be discussed with the Rabbi and the executive board and eventually be posted on the Interfaith Matters link on the website.


The Interfaith Matters Committee  May, 2012

Tricia Freedman, Pat Gootzit, Merle Zamansky-Coen, Vivian Miller, and Phil Lesser