I have news for you

I have a few links for you and the first one is an interview with me. I know, it seems a bit solipsistic, but it’s kind of exciting to be interviewed by my hometown Jewish newspaper, the Cleveland Jewish News. They interviewed me because I’m going to be speaking on Monday night at Siegal College of Jewish Studies about interfaith families and my work at InterfaithFamily.com.

One of the things I want to discuss at the talk is how welcome for interfaith families can come from everyone in the Jewish community, regardless of denomination. I was thinking about this yesterday reading an article on Chabad preschools by Ellen Umansky on Tablet Magazine‘s website. One interesting aspect of the piece was how Chabad, which is a Hasidic Orthodox outreach group, is thinking about children from interfaith families:

The open-mindedness that characterizes Chabad’s activities in general is certainly evident at the schools. The directors I spoke with said they’ll admit any child whose family is interested in a Jewish education. “Look, I don’t like labeling. We have everyone; we have families with two mommies, we have everybody,” says Chai Tots’ Hecht. “We have families that, halachically, are they Jewish? No—the father is Jewish but the mom is not—but they want it, they want the Jewish school.”

It’s kind of mind-boggling to read the Jewish press on interfaith families. It seems that all these different groups of Jews–Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, secular–are quietly thinking about how to integrate interfaith families into the Jewish community while we simultaneously argue in public about how that can possibly work. It was fun to read Maskil‘s post to the Jerusalem Post blog on recent discussion of interfaith marriage. As he put it,

We need to reframe the issue. Rather than saying “Intermarriage is the greatest threat to Jewish survival, etc.,” ad nauseum, we should be saying “integrating the intermarried into our communities is our greatest challenge, and our greatest need.”

I’m really looking forward to discussing this with people from my hometown.

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One thought on “I have news for you

  1. Hi Ruth,

    Many thanks for the mention of my Guest Blog post on the Jerusalem Post website.  I was obviously very pleased with having one of my posts featured on one of the most prestigious Israeli/Jewish publications; doubly so because the subject is so close to my heart.

    The article was part of my response to the controversy and debate around the assimilation/intermarriage issue sparked by the MASA advertising campaign.  My response – which I wrote to outline and clarify what I believe should be the stance of the (non-Orthodox) Jewish community towards the issue – was originally in 3 parts, posted on my personal blog here:

    Time for Straight-Talk about Assimilation?
    [url=http://blog.maskil.info/2009/10/straight-talk-about-assimilation/]http://blog.maskil.info/2009/10/straight-talk-about-assimilation/[/url]
    Intermarriage – Straight Talk or Just More of the Same? (Part 1)
    [url=http://blog.maskil.info/2009/10/intermarriage-straight-talk-more-of-the-same-1/]http://blog.maskil.info/2009/10/intermarriage-straight-talk-more-of-the-same-1/[/url]
    Intermarriage – Straight Talk or Just More of the Same? (Part 2)
    [url=http://blog.maskil.info/2009/10/intermarriage-straight-talk-more-of-the-same-2/]http://blog.maskil.info/2009/10/intermarriage-straight-talk-more-of-the-same-2/[/url]

    Kind regards,

    Russell Cohen (“Maskil”)
    Freelance writer & blogger
    e-mail [email]maskil@maskil.info[/email]
    Blog: [url=http://blog.maskil.info/]http://blog.maskil.info/[/url]
    Facebook: [url=http://www.facebook.com/pages/Maskil/143824138112]http://www.facebook.com/pages/Maskil/143824138112[/url]
    FriendFeed: [url=http://friendfeed.com/maskil]http://friendfeed.com/maskil[/url]
    Twitter: [url=http://twitter.com/Maskil/]http://twitter.com/Maskil/[/url]

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