Dallas’ Temple Shalom Reforms Old Beliefs

Image from Temple Shalom Dallas

Temple Shalom is a Jewish temple in Dallas that was founded in October of 1965. It was officially created after a petition for it achieved seventy-eight signatures. The temple’s opening marked the first time in nearly a century that a Jewish Reform Congregation existed in the Dallas, Texas, area. Temple Shalom says that they have a strong Sisterhood and Brotherhood and that they are interfaith. This means that they invite people from all religions and actively encourage polite discussions between religions.

The temple itself is set in a scenic place and has a breathtaking exterior and interior. Their building sits on a fourteen-acre property and measures 55,000 square feet. The outside of the temple is modern yet simple, with a long main level and many windows. Inside, the temple is decorated with wood that features gold-colored embellishments. It has a very welcoming feel, further expressing the congregation’s interfaith ideals. The mission statement of the temple states, “Temple Shalom builds holy community, connecting our congregation to one another, to God, Torah, Israel, and the Jewish people through worship, study, gathering and community service.”

The temple is specifically a Jewish Reform Temple. Jewish Reform is a movement that seeks to preserve the traditional aspects of Judaism while allowing practicing Jewish people to evolve with the times. One key feature of Jewish Reform is “to affirm beliefs without rejecting those who doubt and to bring faith to sacred texts without sacrificing critical scholarship.” People who advocate for Jewish Reform believe that they can still have faith in their religion without excluding those with different belief systems. This is very important for religions and seems to be a relatively new aspect of religious reform.

Reform Judaism still includes essential elements like the Torah, God, and Israel but seeks to change the previous ways of generations past. For instance, the website for Temple Shalom reads that “Reform Jews are committed to the absolute equality of women in all areas of Jewish life. We were the first movement to ordain women rabbis, invest women cantors, and elect women presidents of our synagogues. Reform Jews are also committed to the full participation of gays and lesbians in synagogue life as well as society at large.” These few sentences are monumental in the world of Judaism and religion as a whole.

Temple Shalom is also a place for making connections. The current rabbi encourages people from all walks of life to come to the temple and respectfully engage with one another. Meaningful gatherings and thought-provoking conversations are highly encouraged. This can be an excellent way to understand all the different religions around us better. Finally, the temple includes both a brotherhood and a sisterhood that are open to the youth and have a goal of Reform in mind.

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