Julie Wiener, Mayyim Hayyim, Joseph Reyes

I’ve been preoccupied lately with the Jewish Community Heroes voting contest, which ended today. (I think I made it into the top 20 vote getters and am eligible for an award, but more about that another day, after the official results are announced.)

I’m catching up on what’s been published lately and it occurred to me: if there were to be a voting contest on who is the best writer about interfaith family issues today, Julie Wiener should clearly be at or near the top of the list.

Julie has two great blog posts this week. In Harboring Boston Envy, she writes about many of the features that make Boston a great Jewish community (full disclosure – I’m a Boston loyalist), and especially about our wonderfully welcoming community mikveh, Mayyim Hayyim. A great example of Julie’s perceptive sensitivity is this:

More important than the aesthetic is the facility’s warm, welcoming and nonjudgmental approach, with volunteer mikveh guides trained to be sensitive not just to the needs of men and women, liberal and Orthodox Jews, first-timers, converts, grieving Jews, joyous Jews and those about-to-be married (including lesbian and gay couples), but also to interfaith families.
In one of the four preparation rooms hung a beautiful framed photo and certificate of sorts that not only commemorated a family’s conversion of their baby but that explicitly acknowledged that while the baby’s non-Jewish mom is not herself converting, she plans to be supportive of and involved in the child’s Jewish upbringing.

I’ve seen that photo and certificate, it is stunning, and Julie is exactly right about Mayyim Hayyim’s warm, welcoming and nonjudgmental approach.

A Message from Joseph Reyes is about the divorced father who at one point was ordered not to take his daughter to church, raising all kinds of publicity that we covered months ago. Julie writes about a message she received from Mr. Reyes. To me he sounds more than a little paranoid, but her take on the complexities of interfaith divorces is well worth reading.

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