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Code of Ethics

Congregation Keneseth Israel Code of Ethics

Adopted August 1, 2023


Congregation Keneseth Israel is a Reform Jewish Community formed in 1903 by a group of Jewish merchants who shared a vision to create a Reform Jewish home in Allentown, PA.

Congregation Keneseth Israel exists in the context of our people’s covenantal relationship with God. We are a vibrant, multi-generational congregation, guided by tradition, grounded in the modern world, and infused with the sacred values of our faith.

Congregation Keneseth Israel is an inclusive community that demonstrates respect for the needs of all. Through worship, learning and concern for social action and social justice, we strive to better ourselves, our community and the world at large.

Every participant in our community, whatever their role has a right to:

  • A safe and inclusive experience
  • Treatment and interaction that is
    • Fair
    • Honest
    • Dignified
    • Nonjudgmental

Our Jewish values embody the teaching that every human being is created in the image of God (b’tzelem Elohim). We therefore strive to hold ourselves to the highest standards of personal integrity, social responsibility and human decency. Because we behave ethically and hold ourselves accountable, Congregation Keneseth Israel is a safe, welcoming and sacred environment.

This value based code of ethics sets forth the principles and expectations of adherence to standards of conduct for our clergy, congregants, staff, visitors, and guests whether participating in a Congregation Keneseth Israel activity that takes place in the building, online, or at off-site locations.

Mission Statement of Congregation Keneseth Israel

The purposes of Congregation Keneseth Israel are to promote the enduring and fundamental principles of Judaism, to ensure the continuity of the Jewish people, to enable its members to develop a relationship with God by providing communal worship, study and assembly (Beit Tefillah, Beit Midrash and Beit Knesset) and to apply the principles of Reform Judaism to the values and conduct of the individual, family and society in which we live.

Elements of the Code of Ethics

Exemplify Holiness (K’dushah)

Congregation Keneseth Israel welcomes all who wish to engage with our sacred community.

  • We embrace everyone without regard to religious background, 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.

Honesty (Yosher)

Congregation Keneseth Israel expects anyone involved in our community to conduct themselves in an honest manner.

  • We promote open and honest communication that allows us to address differences constructively.
  • We protect the confidentiality of privileged information, either about an individual or the synagogue, and do not disclose it without permission. For example, this includes personnel information such as employment status, compensation, and performance review, as well as personal information about an individual’s health, financial status, or family matters.
  • We respect the effort of others and do not take credit for their work.
  • We recognize, respect, and protect the intellectual property rights of our synagogue and others. We obey copyright laws governing the use and distribution of published materials.
  • We make decisions regarding synagogue-related matters with transparency, openness and accountability, unless confidentiality dictates otherwise. For example, it is especially important that we protect inadvertent and premature release of names of candidates for employment. This includes adhering to placement guidelines of the CCAR (Central Conference of American Rabbis), ACC (American Conference of Cantors), and ARJE (Association of Reform Jewish Educators) when hiring clergy.

Honor (Kavod)

Congregation Keneseth Israel values acting with integrity.

  • 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. For example, we refrain from hiring or firing, rewarding or punishing staff or volunteers, and awarding or denying contracts based solely on personal considerations such as favoritism, nepotism, or bribery.
  • We conduct financial matters related to synagogue involvement with complete honesty. For example, we refrain from financial impropriety in decisions regarding restricted, committed, or discretionary funds.
  • We are bound by sacred obligation to uphold financial obligations to the synagogue. If a change in personal circumstances occurs, we will inform those charged with managing synagogue finances and make appropriate arrangements.
  • We conduct employment practices and related decision-making in an ethical and legal manner. We establish and enforce the appropriate policies and procedures to protect the employees of the congregation, such as fair employment policies, grievance reporting, and conflict resolution procedures.

Loving Kindness (Chesed)

Congregation Keneseth Israel embraces the fundamental value of performing acts of loving kindness (gemilut hassadim).

  • We treat others with respect, dignity, fairness, and compassion.
  • We refrain from derogatory speech, negative talk, gossip, and slander, whether in person or on social media.
  • We oppose bullying, including any unwanted behavior that degrades, humiliates, or oppresses another. Verbal, physical, or cyberbullying is never acceptable.

Justice (Tzedek)

Congregation Keneseth Israel believes everyone entering our sacred space has the right to feel safe and respected, and that we are morally and ethically responsible for one another (kol Yisrael areivim zeh bazeh).

  • We do not tolerate sexual harassment, including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical, written, or visual conduct of a sexual nature.
  • 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 appear to be victims of abuse or neglect, including spousal abuse, child abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, and other types of domestic violence.

Compassion (Rachamim)

Congregation Keneseth Israel embraces the fundamental value of performing acts of compassion (rakhum).

  • We have empathy for other people’s pain and suffering.
  • We are generous with other people.
  • We are sensitive to other people.
  • We are non-judgemental to other people.

Procedures for addressing allegations of unethical behavior are available upon request from Congregation Keneseth Israel’s office.


Sun, April 14 2024 6 Nisan 5784