Natalie Portman's Directorial Debut & Paper Towns' Nat WolffBy Gerri Miller
See how Portman is making her big splash in Israel and don't miss Paper Towns with Nat WolffGo To Pop Culture
A warm thank you to all our readers who sent in comments on what InterfaithFamily.com has meant to them. This is an edited, representative sampling of the comments we received. Unfortunately, we weren't able to include all of them, but we greatly appreciate receiving each one.
Finding InterfaithFamily.com was an emotional lifesaver for me. The resources and information provided through the site are easy to navigate, extremely helpful, and validating. I am proud to refer people to the site and have received many expressions of gratitude from other interfaith couples who did not know such a wonderful resource existed.
I am Jewish, am active in the Jewish community and studied at a liberal yeshiva in Jerusalem, while she is a non-practicing Irish Catholic who went to Catholic school as a girl... we light Shabbes candles, eat challah and drink wine every Shabbat... I naively thought that she might convert...With my Jewish education and commitment, I never thought that I would become a statistic of intermarriage. When I found InterfaithFamily.com, it was exactly what I needed. ... I also hope to encourage the Jewish community to be more welcoming of couples like us because Jewish continuity is important to me and our children will be raised as Jews.
Reading InterfaithFamily.com articles has given me a new understanding of the stresses interfaith families face around issues I have taken for granted. Also, I have a new appreciation for the fact that celebrating family time at "other" holidays is not threatening to one's own religion.
My sister is married to a very nice man who is not Jewish and he has been a real blessing to our family. We need more interfaith interaction, not less, the way some people would have it. The last thing we need to do is isolate ourselves. You have shown the way.
InterfaithFamily.com has been integral to my Jewish journey. When I began dating my (now) husband, I was an agnostic, former Christian and he was nominally Jewish. I never imagined that I'd be seriously contemplating conversion to Judaism, five years later... IFF helped me visualize the issues from both a Jewish and Christian standpoint. My husband and I have a beautiful daughter, whom we've formally converted to Judaism...and I will be converting in the spring. Thank you IFF for understanding that the path towards Judaism is not a simple yes or no choice that can be made easily... While I've enjoyed all of your insightful articles, I've found those addressing the "December dilemma" especially meaningful... IFF has been my way to ease into the Jewish community and see if it fits before taking the plunge.
The InterfaithFamily.com website has been extremely informative, enlightening and well balanced. I have shared this website with a dear friend who is a Methodist minister as well as with my Jewish friends who are either intermarried or who have children who have intermarried. In addition, the Reconstructionist Synagogue with which I am affiliated (West End Synagogue in Manhattan) spent two years formalizing guidelines regarding the role of non-Jews who are married to Jewish members of the community. This website helped me to better formulate my own thoughts regarding this issue. Congratulations on the 100th issue. Mazal Tov and may you continue this quality website for many years to come.
InterfaithFamily.com has helped us in planning and creating a unique ceremony that is very meaningful to us.... However, planning comes with some hiccups and I have found IFF to help in this regard as well. Andrew has feelings like he's "giving in too much" sometimes and it's been wonderful to read about many of the other non-religious non-Jews who have felt the same. IFF has helped Andrew and me to open up a lot of dialogue. In addition... Andrew and I live in remote (Darwin) Australia.... While IFF often leaves me feeling homesick, it has been a brilliant community for me so far from home.
When I discovered InterfaithFamily.com I let out a huge sigh of relief! I have ... found it to be comforting and informative. Just knowing it is there as a resource means a lot to me. I was raised Christian, married a Jewish man, and am doing my best to raise two Jewish sons. While I actively participate in Jewish holidays and traditions, and fully support our sons' Jewish religious education, I have decided not to convert. Being in this position requires a lot of support, much of which I have been hard-pressed to find in my community. Thank you for being there ... as a place to go where I know I am not alone.
I read every new issue and they have helped me a great deal in learning about the Jewish religion as well as learning about others who experience similiar feelings to me. Through the website, and through my fiance's rabbi, we were directed to the Gerim Institute. I have made the decision to convert and began classes in October.
My grandparents are Holocaust survivors, and I grew up with Yiddish-speaking parents who refused to even discuss the topic of interfaith marriage... Interfaithfamily.com has been like the calm voice of a friend who is able not only to see the beauty and possibility in an interfaith relationship, but to speak from actual experience. In short, Interfaithfamily.com has taught me that age-old, but always novel lesson: you are not alone.
I have included your web site on our weekly email to congregants, on our website, and in our monthly newsletter. Thanks for your good works! I joined--even though I am Jewish and engaged to a Jewish man. The book and your articles are extremely important to helping new members and their spouses feel welcome and comfortable.
Comments from Professionals
I believe that stories teach more than lectures. The stories from the hearts of real people illustrate the many choices, and their varied results, far better than my words can... I think the heartfelt stories from InterfaithFamily.com offer compassionate wisdom.
I use your website every month to prepare for the havurah/support group which I facilitate for Jewish parents of interfaith couples. Using the archives as well, it seems that I can always find an article which can be used for discussion or to answer a question which arises during our meetings. Todah Rabah, many thanks, for being there.
Comments from Writers
The website ...gave me the opportunity to see how strongly people react to the issue of interfaith relationships and marriage. When I saw other readers posting comments on the discussion board in response to my column I was very flattered. I was surprised that people found my experiences interesting enough not only to read, but to discuss afterwards. The comments were usually supportive and thoughtful, but one time a reader posted some inflammatory and off-the-wall remarks. It was amazing to see other readers step in, scold the offender and begin a heated and exciting debate around the issues I had raised.
The articles I have written for InterfaithFamily.com, not only provided a way for me to share my personal feelings regarding the interfaith marriages in our family, but more than this, it has given me the opportunity to reflect and "rethink" the ways in which I handled a variety of situations in our children's interfaith family marriages. Thank you for giving me this creative outlet to reach out and touch other interfaith families while dealing with my own.