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Update - July 2015

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HomepageSupporting Interfaith Families Exporing Jewish Life July 30, 2015
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Dear Friends,

We’re thrilled to share this Mid-Year Update with you, our friends and supporters. InterfaithFamily has continued to see rapid growth in the first six months of 2015. Below is a snapshot of what we’ve been up to since January.

National Overview

  • Our website traffic is up 32%, with 987,964 unique visitors over the last 12 months!
  • Last year, we worked with See3 Communications to develop a strategic marketing plan. We’re seeing the fruits of our labor. A Google AdWords grant worth $10,000/month of free search engine marketing has resulted in an increase in requests to our officiation referral service, which are up 8% over the first 6 months of 2014.
  • In June, we launched the #ChooseLove campaign, built around some of the social media, storytelling and partnership strategies developed with the marketing plan. By the end of June, the video had almost 23,000 views and 154,000 individual impressions on Facebook. We had a more than 1060% increase in impressions and 176% increase in profile visits. Haven’t seen the video yet? Click here. (We invite you to upload a story or video here.) In addition, we’ve tied in our first-ever event in Boston with the campaign, creating the 2015 #ChooseLove Celebration, to raise visibility around InterfaithFamily’s resources and programs.

Advocacy

The biggest news on the advocacy front was the award of the Genesis Prize to Michael Douglas “to emphasize the inclusiveness of Jews of intermarriage within Jewish life.” We met with the Genesis Prize Fund and with Michael Douglas, publicized the award, and as a “thought partner” contributed one of the first posts to the Genesis Prize Fund’s new blog, “What Draws Interfaith Families to Jewish Life.” We were especially pleased when Michael Douglas shared the #ChooseLove video on his Facebook page, saying, “I support the message of InterfaithFamily.com and this video.”

We continued to write and speak on numerous advocacy issues, and the Journal of Jewish Communal Service published Ed Case’s essay, "What We Know About Intermarried Families."

Your Community Initiative

  • Our most dramatic growth came when we launched two new communities—Atlanta and Washington, DC—earlier this summer, joining Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles (where we received a Cutting Edge Grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles) and our affiliate in Cleveland. We have three terrific new Directors—Rabbi Malka Packer in Atlanta, Rabbi Sarah Tasman in Washington, DC and Rabbi Keara Stein in Los Angeles. We are ahead of schedule on our strategic plan to be in nine communities by the end of 2016.
  • Rosov Consulting has completed a pilot independent evaluation of IFF/Philadelphia. They found good indications that IFF’s work is making a difference; many of the desired short-term outcomes in our Logic Model are being achieved. We’ll refine the model for the IFF/Your Communities and begin evaluations in Chicago and San Francisco by early next year.
  • In the past six months we have experimented with several new programs, including:
     
  • -Monthly meet-ups of new couples in the Bay Area (featured in the Bay Area’s j newspaper, "Couples meet up for insightful interfaith discussions");
    -“Cocktails and Conversation” in Philadelphia;
    -“Goodnight, Sleep Tight” based on the bedtime Shema unit in our Raising a Child with Judaism in Your Interfaith Family class;
    -“Love, Religion and Baby,” an expansion of the Love and Religion workshop, for new parents in Chicago (featured by Brooke O’Neill in the Chicago Jewish News, "Our Marriage, Our Conversation");
    -Shavuot “Spring on TAP Beer Tasting” in Boston; and
    -Jewish Yoga in San Francisco.

  • The now seven rabbi Directors of the Your Communities meet weekly by video conference with the national Your Community staff. This community of practice, of professionals who are 100% dedicated to reaching and engaging interfaith families Jewishly, is unique in the Jewish community, and they will continue to refine our model.

 

Funding and Staffing

Organizationally, we have had a seamless executive transition, which has been very well received, with Jodi Bromberg becoming CEO on March 31, 2015, and Ed Case remaining as Founder working on fundraising and advocacy initiatives at Jodi’s direction. We have grown tremendously; we now have 24 on staff with 2 open positions, and 5 new staff in the first six months of 2015. We added two new Board members: Jessica Smith, a public relations and communications professional at Burson-Marsteller in Washington, DC, and Juliana Rodriguez, an incoming Harvard freshman from Denver and former co-chair of the Rose Youth Foundation.

In July, the Reform Movement announced the hire of April Baskin, our Director of Resources and Training, as their new Vice President of Audacious Hospitality. While we will miss April on our staff, it’s affirming to see the largest North American religious movement hire a member of InterfaithFamily’s staff for this important position.

Our fundraising is proceeding according to projection; we received increased funding from the Crown Family Philanthropies, renewed funding from one of our private major funders, and new grants for IFF/San Francisco from the Walter & Elise Haas Fund and the San Francisco Federation’s South Peninsula Impact Grants Initiative.

We are planning our first major event for October 22, 2015, to celebrate all of our growth. Ed Case and Barry Shrage, the president of CJP, will be honored at an evening reception; in the late afternoon, we’ll be having an exclusive conversation for community leaders on the future of engaging interfaith families Jewishly. If you are receiving this report, we hope that you will consider attending; visit interfaithfamily.com/celebrate2015 for more information.

We’re off to a good start for 2015 and are excited about what’s to come in the second half of the year—our first-ever event, starting programming in our new communities, refining our model—and beyond. Thank you for the interest and support that makes everything we do possible. If you have any questions, or would like to receive our detailed 2015 Mid-Year Report, please contact me at jodib@interfaithfamily.com or 617-581-6804.

All the best,

Jodi's signature

Jodi Bromberg, CEO

To see a complete list of updates, click here ChooseLove

Don’t miss our 2015 #ChooseLove Celebration!
Honoring Barry Shrage and Ed Case
October 22, 2015, Hebrew College
Click here for more information

 
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A Summer holiday commemorating the receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, it is also known as the Feast of Weeks, as it comes seven weeks after Passover begins. 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.
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. Hebrew for "hear," the first word and name of the central Jewish prayer and statement of faith.
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