Today is September 24, 2023 /
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
CALLING SOMEONE TO THE TORAH
For most of us, we can remember sitting in synagogue in years past when only men were called to the Bimah for an Aliyah to the Torah. They were called up by their Hebrew (or in Ashkenazi communities Yiddish) names as “Ben”, “Son of”. This began to change in the 1970s when women began to be allowed to ascend the Bimah for Aliyot. They are called up by their Hebrew names as “Bat,” “daughter of”.
Traditionally, anyone called to the Torah was only called up using their name and their father’s name. Over time, many have added their mother’s name when they are called to the Torah. Customs and traditions do change.
Now, as we are looking to continue to expand the inclusivity of rituals in our Kehilla Kedosha, our sacred community, we have included the manner of calling to the Torah those who identify as non-binary, trans, or who simply prefer to be identified using gender non-specific language. The term now coming in to use by the Conservative movement is “Mi Beit”, “from the House of”. A person can still use their parent(s)’ names with “Mi Beit.”
If you wish to be called to the Torah this way, simply inform us and we will make a notation in our records with your Hebrew name. We understand the importance of calling people by the names they choose, with their chosen titles, chosen pronouns, and in the way they want. All people are created “B’tzelem Elohim”- in the image of God. Calling people to the Torah in the way they prefer respects both the humanity and the divinity in all of us.
LGBTQ+ Inclusion Committee