Dear Friends and Supporters,
For the past few years we've sent an Update to our friends and supporters in November, March, and July. We're changing the schedule: going forward we will report to you mid-year in July and year-end in January.
Instead of the full Update that would usually come at this time, we want to let you know that our InterfaithFamily/Your Community initiative is attracting increasing attention:
- In September, we issued a report on what attracts interfaith families to Jewish organizations — and how our Your Community model responds to these needs. My op-eds on that report were published in the New York Jewish Week and by the Huffington Post.
- Also in September, with increased funding from foundations, we added Stacie Garnett-Cook to our staff as National Director of InterfaithFamily/Your Community.
- In October, our Board approved a new strategic plan that calls for being in nine communities in the next four years.
- On October 31, we issued a press release that was picked up by eJewishPhilanthropy about the expansion of InterfaithFamily/Your Community to San Francisco and Philadelphia. The press release links to a new page on our site which is the central location for all news about the InterfaithFamily/Your Community initiative — please check it out.
- On November 5, we announced that we've once again been included in the Slingshot guide to the fifty most innovative Jewish organizations, recognized for the second year as a "Standard Bearer." The Slingshot guide write-up has a wonderful quote:
"[InterfaithFamily] is a perpetual innovator. Most recently, its work with InterfaithFamily/Your Community, expanding its impact beyond the already powerful website, is just another result of an ongoing drive to learn and grow. As one of the only organizations making waves in this space, the potential impact on the Jewish community is significant."
- Rabbi Ari Moffic, Director of InterfaithFamily/Chicago, and I participated in a session at which we featured our community model at the Jewish Federation of North America's General Assembly on November 11. Many communities are talking with us about bringing InterfaithFamily/Your Community to them.
We continue to experience growth in traffic to our site and in listings of organizations and professionals on our Network — we'll report more fully in January. Just a few other highlights of the past four months:
- We launched a major re-design of our website, complete with new logo and tagline, in August, and would love to hear what you think of the new look.
- We're thrilled that G-dcast is contributing a new Animated Torahlog to our site, blogging the weekly Torah portions with animated videos and contemporary perspectives. We'd love to know what you think of that, too.
- On November 8, we issued a press release about the results of our ninth annual December Holidays survey. Jewish community studies like those in Boston and New York have started to report on the frequency of interfaith families having Christmas trees, but say their data doesn't show what that "means" to the families; our surveys are filled with answers to exactly that question.
As always, we appreciate your support and interest very much, and welcome your feedback.
Please help us by forwarding this Interim Update to anyone who might be interested in our work.
Finally, at this time of terrible uncertainty, we hope that there will be a peaceful resolution of the current situation in Israel, and that we will all have more to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.
With best regards,
Edmund C. Case, CEO