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April 23, 2013 eNewsletter - San Francisco

 
InterfaithFamily
April 23, 2013
Dear Friends,
Did you hear? InterfaithFamily is thrilled to be recognized by the Natan Fund as a Core Grantee!

And in case you missed it in the last newsletter, we're counting the days until the next holiday, a period of time between Passover and Shavuot that is known as the Omer. Not sure what the Omer is? Luckily, Drew Barrymore and her partner, Will Kopelman, helped explain it last year.
SF Bay Area
Diversity has always been prevalent in the Bay Area. Find out how/when Jews arrived in California at the Contemporary Jewish Museum's California Dreaming exhibit (closing April 28). While you're there, check out Drop-in Art Making too!

You can also explore our diversity at Congregation Sherith Israel on May 5, when Building Jewish Bridges will lead a program about being Jewish and Asian.
Common Ground
Before the events unfolded at the Boston Marathon, I had scheduled this article by Milton Davis to be published on April 19 — the day Boston was on lockdown as a suspect was on the run. Given the timing of events here in Boston, where InterfaithFamily is headquartered, it seemed especially fitting to have the reminder that we're more than our religions, more than our nationalities, and there's always opportunity to work together and find common ground, as Milton, an American Jew shares his story of his life with Sechkin, a Turkish Muslim. Read more in Giving a Hand.

On a related note, we shared an adaptation of the mi shebeirakh, the prayer for healing, with Boston added in, on our Facebook page. It could easily be adapted for West, Texas or any other communities in need. Read and see more in Mi Shebeirakh Prayer in Hebrew, English, and Transliteration.

On Friday, when too many of us were watching nerve-wracking news unfold in the Boston area, it was nice to be reminded of the small moments of good in our lives. Robin Warsaw of InterfaithFamily/Philadelphia shared how some families, like hers, are integrating highs, lows, and good deeds. Read more in A High, a Low, and a Mitzvah.

By coincidence (or not?) last week's Torah portion was about dealing with tragedy and death — and relates to the Boston Marathon explosions. Nechama Tamler's written a great post, which includes a bunch of links and the G-dcast video. Read and watch more in Boston and "After the Death."
Shavuot
Looking for information about Shavuot, the holiday that starts the evening of May 14? Our booklet covers the history, custom, and basics, and don't forget to check out our favorite holiday recipes.

The story of Ruth is so often used to show that welcoming "strangers," converts, is ingrained in Jewish text. But the Book of Ruth also includes the story of Orpah, who turned back and did not join the Jews. Andi Rosenthal asks us to think about how we can honor the symmetry of their decisions and lives. Read more in Orpah: A Shout-Out for Shavuot.
Intermarriage
"When I was a teenager, I never thought I would intermarry," writes Stacie Garnett-Cook, National Director of the InterfaithFamily/Your Community initiative. "Judaism was too important to me and I had seen what happened in interfaith households in my father's family. I drew a line in the sand and said that I would only marry someone Jewish. As I got older and started dating more, though...." How and why did her opinion change and evolve? Read more in History is Not Destiny.

Ed Case felt a pall settling over Jewish communal attitudes towards intermarriage last week. Read more in Sadness and Hope.

Growing up in a Conservative Jewish family, with intermarried parents, Meri Phillips never felt like she fully fit in. Now she's trying to find a religious home for her own family, and is torn by the Conservative movement's attitudes toward intermarriage. Read more in Conservative Conundrum.

From our friends at Ritualwell, a new interpretation of the seven blessings (sheva brakhot, said during a wedding ceremony) for interfaith couples. If you're getting married soon, or know a couple who is, this might be a nice English rendition to use. Read more in A New Seven Blessings.
Animated Weekly Stories
How do our words affect our physical lives — and the lives of those around us? A look at the grossest part of the Bible, what used to be thought of as leprosy (though not an accurate translation), and how our words caused it. How might this relate to gossip today? Read and watch more in The Power of Words.
Parenting
Rebecca Goodman, InterfaithFamily/San Francisco's Director, notes that sex, politics, money, and religion are considered "taboo," topics to be avoided in conversation. While religion is taboo, should God be? How do you talk about God with your kids? Rebecca has great ideas for conversations with kids and teens — and book recommendations too. Read more in Is God Taboo?

How do you ensure that parents are involved in their child's bar or bat mitzvah experience? Not just the day of, but in the months or years of preparation? Ari Moffic, InterfaithFamily/Chicago's Director, has ideas for synagogues. Read more in Preparing Parents For Their Child's Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

Wendy Armon, of InterfaithFamily/Philadelphia, looks at a secular Jewish community's focus on children and bar and bat mitzvahs. Might this be an approach for your family? Read more in A Secular Jewish Alternative.
Pop Culture
In this week's column, Nate Bloom dishes on Major League Baseball's Jewish and interfaith roster, looks at a few gay/lesbian interfaith marriages, and checks out the cast of The Big Wedding. Read more in Interfaith Celebrities.
 
Sincerely,
Benjamin Maron,
Director of Content and Educational Resources
 SF Bay Area
 Common Ground
 Shavuot
 Intermarriage
 Animated Weekly Stories
 Parenting
 Pop Culture
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One of 54 sections of the Torah read, during Shabbat services, in order on a weekly basis throughout the year. Hebrew for "daughter of the commandments." In modern Jewish practice, Jewish girls come of age at 12 or 13. When a girl comes of age, she is officially a bat mitzvah and considered an adult. The term is commonly used as a short-hand for the bat mitzvah's coming-of-age ceremony and/or celebration. The male equivalent is "bar mitzvah." Plural form of the Hebrew word "mitzvah" which means "commandment," it has two meanings. The first are the commandments given in the Torah. ("You should obey the mitzvah of honoring your parents!") The second is a good deed. ("Helping her carry her groceries home was such a mitzvah!") The spring holiday commemorating the Exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. The Hebrew name is "Pesach." Hebrew for the plural of "blessing" (and "bounty"). A Summer holiday commemorating the receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, it is also known as the Feast of Weeks, as it comes seven weeks after Passover begins. A member of the Jewish clergy who leads a congregation in songful prayer. ("Hazzan" in Hebrew.) Hebrew for "my master," the term refers to a spiritual leader and teacher of Torah. Often, but not always, a rabbi is the leader of a synagogue congregation. Hebrew term for a unit of dry measure, it was used to measure barley and is sometimes translated as "sheaf" (as in, "sheaf of barley"). Omer now refers to the period of 49 days from Passover to Shavuot. Today, instead of bringing an omer of barley to sacrifice, the days are counted ("counting the Omer"). It's also a period of semi-mourning, when traditional Jews will refrain from partying, dancing, listening to live music, or cutting their hair.
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