Code of Ethics


“To be a center of worship and vital community life where Jews and their families from Cleveland’s western communities learn Jewish traditions and values, develop their Jewish identity, and assure the continuity of Jewish life.”


Beth Israel – The West Temple is a Reform Jewish community. Ours is a vibrant, multi-generational congregation, guided by tradition, grounded in the modern world, and infused with the sacred values of our faith. Our congregants have a wide range of belief and practice, and diversity in our pathways to Judaism. We serve interfaith families and Jews by choice. While we respect our diversity, we all are aware of the trust that binds us together in community.

The following Code of Ethics supports that commitment to a respectful, trusting relationship as a community and is based on our traditions and anchored in Jewish values.


  • In Judaism, it is considered that every human being is created in the image of God. We value each person as an individual; no one person is superior to another.
  • We embrace everyone without regard to age, ability, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, or socioeconomic status.
  • We strive to make all who participate in our community feel a sense of belonging with the expectation that their ideas and concerns can be openly stated and responded to with respect.


  • We promote open and honest communication that allows for addressing differences constructively.
  • We value dialogue, openness and consensus building. We oppose bullying in any form.
  • We conduct ourselves with one another with appropriate confidentiality and integrity, whether staff, clergy, or congregation members. We will treat our visitors and guests with kindness and respect.
  • We conduct synagogue governance and financial affairs with integrity, transparency, and in accordance with all applicable laws.


  • We will treat one another with respect, dignity, and fairness. We will refrain from negative behaviors such as gossip, derogatory speech or rudeness.
  • We act solely according to the synagogue’s best interest when acting on its behalf.
  • We refrain from using one’s synagogue position for personal advantage or benefit.
  • Under no circumstances should we violate personal or sexual boundaries, take advantage of others in any way, violate trust, or break the law. Positions of trust between clergy and congregant, staff and volunteers, teachers and students, are to be taken seriously. Allegations of any such violations will be taken seriously and will be treated in accordance with the law.


  • We embrace the fundamental value of g’milut chasadim – performing acts of lovingkindness.
  • We oppose any behavior that degrades, humiliates, or oppresses another. Verbal, written or physical abuse is never acceptable.
  • We treat others with respect, dignity, fairness, and compassion.


  • We are morally and ethically responsible for one another, to our guests and visitors, and to the wider world. We commit to the value of tikkun olam – repairing the world.
  • We do 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.
  • We strive to protect those who are vulnerable, or who are exposed to abuse – emotional, physical, sexual, or verbal.

We realize that we are all imperfect. This Code is meant to guide us as we work to be a better people and community, and keep us mindful of our expectations for ourselves and one another.

Issues that are best addressed through law enforcement or professional bodies governing clergy are to be referred as appropriate.