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August 16, 2011 eNewsletter

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Congregation Ohr Tzafon of Atascadero, Calif. is welcoming to everyone interested in finding Jewish meaning and community. All are invited to join in celebration, worship and pursuing justice and righteousness through acts of lovingkindness and social action. Congregation Ohr Tzafon ("Northern Light") is a vibrant and growing Jewish community on the Central Coast of California that pledges to fulfill Reform Judaism's commitment to the complete equality of women and men in Jewish life.

August 16, 2011

Dear friend,

Just when you thought it couldn't get bigger, couldn't get better, it does. Not only does this eNewsletter have the fantastic articles and resources you've come to expect from us, we have an announcement about a new project and an opportunity for you to help us (and win a prize while you're at it). Read on!


Karen Kushner updated our Resource Center for Program Providers, which is now offering a series of models and recommendations for professional and lay leaders to use in developing policies, practices and programs that welcome and engage interfaith families in their organizations. The first of the series is up, including an example from Congregation Ohr Tzafon of California. Read more in Recommendations for Creating a Welcoming Website.

I wrote, on the blog, about a great opporuntity for you to help us out. It'll only take a few minutes of your time. And, as thanks, you could win a $500 American Express gift card. Read more in We Need Your Help (We'll Make It Worthwhile)!.

It's taken a bit of planning, but we're excited to announce the launch of our newest blog, all about parenting and families! This group blog will feature writers from the community, parents who read our newsletters - just like you! Want to get involved? Let me know. Read more in Our New Parenting Blog.


Erica Ravin-Anand admitted that, as her wedding approached and families expressed different expectations, communication and compromise were key to making her Jewish-Sikh wedding the best weekend of her life. (And it was only afterward that she researched the similarities and differences of the wedding traditions and cultures.) Read more in Mazel Tov and Mubarak: Our Three-Day Jewish-Sikh Wedding.

Emily Blank was a new grad student, and an "indifferent Jew," when she met a Protestant seminarian. Who would have thought that marrying a Protestant seminarian would result in her becoming a cantor? Read more in How Marrying A Protestant Minister Made Me A Better Jew.


Matt Wallace reflects on his favorite holiday, Shabbos — Shabbat, or however else you may spell it — noting that, just like the various spellings of Jewish holidays and words, there are different ways of making Judaism a part of our lives, even if we choose not to become Jewish. Read more in This Is How I Roll On Shabbos.

Wondering how you can find a spiritual practice in Judaism, whether you came from a Jewish background or grew up in another religious tradition? We offer some ideas and resources for rethinking and creating Jewish spiritual practices. Read more in our Jewish Spirituality Resource Guide (available both online and as a download-friendly PDF).

Pop Culture

Nate Bloom, in his bi-weekly column, focuses on a wrestler, two actresses and a singer/songwriter. Read more in Interfaith Celebrities: Kelly Kelly, Daniela Ruah, Lauren Storm and Vanessa Carlton.

Ed Case blogged about The Bachelorette: J.P. Rosenbaum proposed and Ashley Hebert said yes, which means we're here to help. Looking for Jewish clergy to officiate? A Guide to Wedding Ceremonies for Interfaith Couples or other wedding resources? We've got it all!

Ed went on to note that Ashley has said she is open to raising their kids as Jews. Read more in The Bachelorette is Open to Raising Children Jewish.

On The Blog

Ed Case examined an article that highlights mothers who are not Jewish who are raising their children Jewish and provides insight into factors that led them to that decision – not being pushed to convert; seeking a sense of community and joining a synagogue where friends belonged; taking a great program like Stepping Stones. It also highlights the importance of developing and articulating inclusive policies at synagogues. Read more in Non-Jewish mothers and intermarrieds in the news.

Ed also looked at some provocative videos covering a wide range of issues related to teens being raised with two religions. Read more in Growing Up With Two Religions.

And, making it a hat-trick, Ed wrote about the latest study that reaches for the correlation between Birthright Israel and Intermarriage. Read more in Intermarriage: The Impact of Birthright Israel.

(I'd like to thank Ed for picking up the blogging piece while I was on vacation last week — job well blogged!)

Do you have an interesting story to share about a life-cycle event? About your extended (uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, grandparents, grandchildren) interfaith family? Are you LGBT and in an interfaith family? If so, I'd love to hear your story pitches! Did you see the request for new parent bloggers and want to know more? Contact me!

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Benjamin Maron, Managing Editor
PO Box 428
Newton MA 02464



An international program that sends thousands of young Jews to Israel each year for free. Derived from the Greek word for "assembly," a Jewish house of prayer. Synagogue refers to both the room where prayer services are held and the building where it occurs. In Yiddish, "shul." Reform synagogues are often called "temple." The Jewish Sabbath, from sunset on Friday to nightfall on Saturday. 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.
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