Full of helpful advice for families starting to think about their child's bat or bar mitzvah, Bar & Bat Mitzvah For The Interfaith Family will be a helpful primer to all families (not just interfaith!).
This booklet explains the history of Hanukkah, the symbolism and significance of lighting candles for eight nights, the blessings that accompany the lighting of the candles, the holiday's foods, the game of dreidels, and more!
Connecting Interfaith Families to Jewish Life in Greater Cleveland by providing programs and opportunities for interfaith families to experience Judaism in a variety of venues, meet other interfaith families, and to connect to other Jewish organizations that may serve their needs.
A great way for Jewish professionals and volunteers who work with and provide programming for people in interfaith relationships to locate resources and trainings to build more welcome into their Jewish communities; connect with and learn from each other; and publicize and enhance their programs and services.
In my last column, I ran down the list of all the Golden Globes nominees with Jewish or interfaith family backgrounds. On Sunday evening, some of those nominees won awards, including Robert Downey Jr., who both comes from an interfaith background and is married to a Jewish woman, Susan Levin Downey. Downey has credited his wife with helping him stay sober and restart his career on more than one occasion. On Sunday he did so again in an acceptance speech that showed his quirky humor:
Many of the stars at the Golden Globe awards ceremony made public pleas for donations to relief efforts for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Maggie Gyllenhaal, an actress from an interfaith family whom I've profiled here frequently, made a pitch halfway through the show for viewers to donate to the relief fund coordinated by NBC. Other celebrities donated their outfits for a charity auction.
Here's this season's round-up of Jewish/interfaith players in the National Hockey League. This list was prepared with the help of Jewish Sports Review newsletter.
All the players are returning veterans, including Mike Brown, 24, rightwing, Anaheim Ducks and Michael Cammalleri, 27, forward, Montreal Canadiens. Last year, with the Calgary Flames, Cammalleri really came into his own as a star player and scored 39 goals, the highest total ever by a Jewish NHL player. Jeff Halpern, 33, is the center for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Other Jewish hocky players include Eric Nystrom, 26, defenseman, Calgary. Mathieu Schneider, 40, defenseman, Vancouver Canucks.
Halpern, Brown, and Schneider have two Jewish parents. (Schneider's mother is a convert to Judaism.) Nystrom, who had a bar mitzvah, and Cammalleri, who was raised secular, are the sons of Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers. Nystrom's father is Bobby Nystrom, a retired NHL star.
I wasn't aware that there is such a thing as the "World Jewish Hockey Championship" until I read this article in the New England Hockey Journal. I venture to say that few of my readers were aware of this amateur competition that takes place in Israel. One of the players who is interviewed discusses his interfaith background.
Last fall, the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball League signed Israeli (Jewish) basketball star Omri Casspi, 21. He's turned out to be an exceptional player who quickly made the starting line-up and is now a serious contender for rookie-of-the-year honors.
The other Jewish NBA player is Jordan Farmar, 23, the back-up point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, last year's league champion. Farmar, who was raised Jewish, is the son of a white Jewish mother and a non-Jewish African-American father. Farmar has visited Israel and his step-father is an Israeli.
On January 8, 2010, the New York Times had a very interesting feature piece on Princeton University women's basketball team members Niveen Rasheed and Lauren Polansky. The two players have been friends since high school despite the fact that Rasheed is Palestinian and Polansky is Jewish. To quote the article:
Polansky and Rasheed became friends playing together on an American Athletic Union team, the East Bay Xplosion, in Northern California, where they grew up a few miles apart…. Polansky's father, Jon, who died in 2005, was Jewish, and her mother, Cynthia, from South Africa, is Catholic. Polansky was raised as a Jew, and she said her focus growing up was on her education, basketball and friends. "Niveen is my teammate and my friend," Polansky said. "None of that political stuff that is going on on the other side of the world is that important to me. It has never affected our friendship."
Hebrew for "son of the commandments." In modern Jewish practice, Jewish boys come of age at 13. When a boy comes of age, he is officially a bar mitzvah and considered an adult. The term is commonly used as a short-hand for the bar mitzvah's coming-of-age ceremony and/or celebration. The female equivalent is "bat mitzvah."