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Interfaith Opportunity Summit 2016

2016 Interfaith Opportunity Summit logo

Summit schedule as of September 20, 2016 – reflects confirmed speakers to date

To register for the Summit, please visit the registration page

Summit Goal:
To explore — with funders, federations, Jewish leaders and interfaith family engagement practitioners — the issues that need to be addressed to have more interfaith families engage in Jewish life and community, and and lay the groundwork for increased efforts towards that end.

Learning Goals:

  • What influences the Jewish engagement of millennial children of intermarriage, interfaith couples, and interfaith families with young children – according to researchers, and people in interfaith relationships themselves?
  • What does successful Jewish engagement by interfaith families look like – how do we measure success? What services and programs currently engage interfaith families Jewishly, and what promising trends are emerging, including from the Jewish Funders Network/Genesis Prize matching challenge initiative?
  • How can Jews and their partners from different faith traditions experience the value of Jewish wisdom, and express their spirituality in Jewish settings?
  • How can Jews and their partners from different faith traditions feel included in “the Jewish people?”
  • How can we effectively reach the spectrum of interfaith couples, from those who are seeking to those who are not, through messaging and marketing to interfaith families, relationship building, community organizing approaches to them, and Israel trips?
  • How can we address difficult attitude and boundary issues surrounding intermarriage: the term “interfaith,” privileging in-marriage, wedding officiation, ritual participation, and conversion? Can those who say they are “doing both” be included in Jewish life and communities?
  • What are effective entry points and ways to facilitate progress into more engagement?
  • What does a local Jewish community need to offer to engage interfaith families? What are the roles of general programs aimed at and marketed for everyone, and of services and programs that are targeted at people in interfaith relationships?

 

Order of events:

 

7:30 – 8:30: Registration

9:00 – 9:10: Welcome and introduction to the day

9:10 – 9:25: Setting the stage — What’s new, demographically speaking, since The Pew Report?
Presentation by Alan Cooperman, Pew Research Center

9:25 – 11:00: Plenary 1
What influences people in interfaith relationships to engage Jewishly? An opportunity to hear from researchers and interfaith couples.

What do three key segments of people in interfaith relationships — millennial children of intermarriage, interfaith couples, and interfaith families with young children — tell us about what influences their Jewish engagement?

Participants: Rabbi Deborah Glanzberg-Krainin, Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia; Len Saxe, Cohen Center; Tobin Belzer, Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California; Sheila Katz, Hillel; millennial children of intermarriage; Karyn Cohen, Jacobson Family Foundation; interfaith couples from Philadelphia; Fern Chertok, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies of Brandeis University; Keren McGinity, Hebrew College.

11:00 – 11:15: Break

11:15 – 12:00: Plenary 2
What’s new in interfaith family engagement work? What are the desired outcomes and success measures of that work?

Everyone wants more interfaith families more engaged in Jewish life and community. But what does that mean — what are the long-term goals and short-term desired outcomes of interfaith family engagement work, and how do we measure success? The recent Jewish Funders Network/Genesis Prize matching challenge initiative stimulated funding and programming — what’s new in the field? In this session we will learn about the desired outcomes and program evaluations at Honeymoon Israel and InterfaithFamily/Your Community, and about trends in interfaith family engagement work from the JFN/Genesis Prize initiative.

Participants: Rachel Shtern, JFNA, Wendy Rosov, Rosov Consulting, on desired outcomes of Honeymoon Israel and InterfaithFamily/Your Community and what we know from program evaluations so far; Melissa Rosen and Maxyne Finkelstein on the projects that sought funding from the JFN/Genesis Prize match and the strategies of the projects that were funded.

12:00 – 1:00: Lunchtime Workshop and Opportunity for Summit participants to talk with practitioners
Over lunch, participants will have two opportunities

First, interfaith family engagement practitioners who would like to share information about their programs will be stationed at tables and available to talk with Summit participants. Information will be available in advance to help participants identify with whom they’d like to talk.

Second, Keshet and Be’chol Lashon are offering a lunchtime workshop, When Interfaith Is Just One Piece of the Puzzle: Thinking About Race and Sexuality. Joanna Ware from Keshet and Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder and Sandra Lawson from Be’chol Lashon will discuss overlapping and intersecting social identities such as race and sexuality, and how they affect us and interfaith families.

1:15 – 2:35: Program Sessions 1

Choose from one of three concurrent sessions.

Session 1A: Why would interfaith families want to engage in Jewish life and community — what’s in it for them?
“I’m not/my partner’s not Jewish. Can applying Jewish wisdom add value to our lives too? Can we express our spirituality in a Jewish setting?

Interfaith couples won’t engage in Jewish life and community unless it offers something they are seeking and that meets their needs. In this session we will learn what needs to happen for interfaith couples to understand and experience applying Jewish wisdom as adding value to their lives, and for Jewish partners and partners from different faith traditions to be comfortable expressing spirituality in Jewish settings.

Participants: Stacie Garnett-Cook, National Director, InterfaithFamily/Your Community, Jon Woocher, Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah; Rabbi Avi Orlow, Foundation for Jewish Camp; Rev. Eleanor Harrison Bregman, Romemu; Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie, Lab/Shul; Rabbi Mychal Copeland, Director, InterfaithFamily/San Francisco Bay Area; Rabbi Nadia Siritsky, Society for Classical Reform Judaism.

Session 1B: How can we effectively reach the spectrum of interfaith couples, from those who are seeking, to those who are not?
Every Jewish organization is asking, how do we reach the unengaged? In this session we will learn about messaging and marketing to interfaith families; relationship building, community organizing approaches to them; and the attraction of Israel trips.

Participants: Alicia Oberman, Jack and Goldie Wolfe Miller Fund, Archie Gottesman, Jewbelong.com and Liz Polay-Wettengel, National Director of Marketing and Communications, InterfaithFamily on marketing and messaging; Jennifer Green, Nuroots, LA Federation and Ross Berkowitz, Tribe 12, Philadelphia on community organizing/connectors; Avi Rubel on Honeymoon Israel; Eva Stern, PJ Library.

Session 1C: The meanings of belonging to the Jewish people
“I’m not/my partner’s not Jewish. Can we feel like we’re part of the Jewish people?”

In this session, we will consider how partners from different faith traditions can feel included in the Jewish people. It will be an interactive text study led by Yehuda Kurtzer, Shalom Hartman Institute, moderated by Lesley Said Matsa, Crown Family Philanthropies, with comments by Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Reconstructionist Jewish Communities, Rabbi Adam Chalom, International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, and Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner, Temple Emanu-El.

2:35 – 3:00: Break

3:00 – 4:20: Program Sessions 2

Choose from one of two concurrent sessions.

Session 2D: How can we address difficult attitude and boundary issues — the term “interfaith,” privileging in-marriage, wedding officiation, ritual participation, conversion, families doing “both?”
“I’m not/my partner’s not Jewish. I hear Jewish leaders say in-marriage is ideal/intermarriage is a bad thing.” “My rabbi said she couldn’t/wouldn’t marry us.” “If the mom’s not Jewish the kids aren’t, right?” “I like/don’t like the term ‘interfaith’.” “We looked at Temple ____ but they have all these rules about what ‘non-Jews’ can’t do.” “When I’m in a Jewish place I get the feeling they want me/my partner to convert.” “We want to raise our children ‘both’ — will Jewish organizations help us do that?”

In this session we will learn about ways to address difficult attitude and boundary issues surrounding intermarriage. What kind of messages do we/can we send by language, communications, and policies around the term “interfaith,” privileging in-marriage, wedding officiation, ritual participation, and conversion? Can two-religion families, those who say they want to or are “doing both,” be included in Jewish communities?

Participants: Laurie Franz; Rabbi Lisa Rubin, Central Synagogue; Rabbi Scott Perlo, Sixth & I; Susan Katz Miller, author of Being Both; Rabbi Ari Moffic, Director, InterfaithFamily/Chicago; Len Saxe, Cohen Center; Paul Golin, Society for Humanistic Judaism; Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie; Rabbi Deborah Waxman; Mark Young, Davidson School at JTS.

Session 2E: Entry points and pathways of Jewish engagement.
“Like everyone else, we’re looking for meaning and community. Can we find that and be comfortable with other Jewishly-engaged people?”

In this session we will learn about effective entry points for interfaith couples starting to engage in Jewish life and community, and ways to facilitate progress into more engagement.

Participants: Ben Binswanger, Joyce & Irving Goldman Family Foundation; Mark Horowitz, JCC Association; Meredith Lewis, PJ Library; Rabbi Julie Zupan, Reform Jewish Outreach Boston; Rabbi Miriam Farber Wajnberg, JCC in Manhattan; Catherine Fischer and Rabbi Eli Freedman, Rodeph Shalom, Philadelphia; Ruth Nemzoff; Rabbi Phil Warmflash, Jewish Learning Ventures; Rabbi Chuck Simon, Federation of Jewish Mens’ Clubs; Marion Usher, Love and Religion workshop.

4:20 – 4:40: Break

4:40 – 5:45: Plenary 3
What does a local Jewish community need to offer to engage interfaith families?

In this session we will consider the role of general programs aimed at and marketed for everyone, and consider whether and when services and programs that are targeted at people in interfaith relationships are needed.

Participants: Sandy Cardin, Schusterman Foundation; Rabbi Laura Baum, Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston; Rebecca Katz-White, UJA Federation of New York; April Baskin, Union for Reform Judaism; Rabbi Kerry Olitzky, Big Tent Judaism; Jodi Bromberg, InterfaithFamily.

6:00: Reception and evening program

Derived from the Greek word for "assembly," a Jewish house of prayer. Synagogue refers to both the room where prayer services are held and the building where it occurs. In Yiddish, "shul." Reform synagogues are often called "temple." A language of West Semitic origins, culturally considered to be the language of the Jewish people. Ancient or Classical Hebrew is the language of Jewish prayer or study. Modern Hebrew was developed in the late-19th and early 20th centuries as a revival language; today it is spoken by most Israelis.
Reform synagogues are often called "temple." "The Temple" refers to either the First Temple, built by King Solomon in 957 BCE in Jerusalem, or the Second Temple, which replaced the First Temple and stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem from 516 BCE to 70 CE. The first five books of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), or the scroll that contains them. Hebrew for "my master," the term refers to a spiritual leader and teacher of Torah. Often, but not always, a rabbi is the leader of a synagogue congregation. Yiddish for "synagogue."
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