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I started InterfaithFamily.com as an independent non-profit in January 2002. There was a time three or four years into it that I gave serious thought to closing down. I started to write an essay that I thought I would submit to Moment magazine complaining bitterly about the lack of funding support for outreach to interfaith families.
Yes, we did have pioneering support, without which we couldn’t have gotten started, from the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, the Richard & Rhoda Goldman Fund,
There was a change in the funding climate that began in 2006. Important funders finally realized that attracting more interfaith families to Jewish life was essential to the growth and strength of the Jewish community. After fluctuating below $375,000 for four years, we raised $535,000 in 2006 and $875,000 in 2007, enabling us to take on important new projects with new staff and start a transition from a start up to a more mature organization.
Edgar M. Bronfman was a key catalyst in this change. His Samuel Bronfman Foundation was our first major new funder in 2006 and since then has been among our most generous funders.
We now have some insight as to why Mr. Bronfman supports our organization, as well as our friends at the Jewish Outreach Institute. With Beth Zasloff, he has written an important new book: Hope, Not Fear: A Path to Jewish Renaissance Here are some of the key things he has to say about intermarriage:
If more funders and policy makers in the Jewish community adopted Mr. Bronfman’s attitude towards intermarriage, we would see a much greater communal effort to attract interfaith families to Jewish life. We can only hope that that will be the case.
You can find an interesting interview of Mr. Bronfman’s co-author, Beth Zasloff, on Daniel Septimus’ blog at MyJewishLearning.com. You can also listen to an NPR On Point show that focused on the book with a discussion with Mr. Bronfman and Sylvia Barack Fishman.
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