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August 21, 2012 eNewsletter

 
InterFaithFamily
August 21, 2012
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Dear Friends,
In the last eNewsletter, I gave you a sneak peak at our new logo. Last week, we rolled out our redesigned website! We listened to your feedback — you come to InterfaithFamily to learn, to connect, and to advocate — and shaped our new layout around those three entry points. We hope you'll find this new approach easier to navigate.

One more change you've likely already noticed is our name. Although we'll always be web-based, we've dropped the ".com" from InterfaithFamily because more and more of what we do involves on-the-ground programs and services. We think our new tagline — supporting interfaith families exploring Jewish life — markets us better to our end users by instantly conveying what we offer them.

Take a look around, and let us know what you think!
News from IFF
We're hiring! Please help us find great candidates for two full-time positions as we expand our InterfaithFamily/Your Community initiative from Chicago to San Francisco and beyond: based in Boston, the national Director of our InterfaithFamily/Your Communityinitiative, and in San Francisco, the Director of InterfaithFamily/San Francisco launching on October 1. Please share the job descriptions with folks you know who would be great additions to the InterfaithFamily team.
Parenting
What makes a value "Jewish"? If we teach values to children that are growing up as Jews, does that make the values Jewish? If they're the same values being taught to children of other religions, does that make them less so? Gary Goldhammer suggests that values are universal, the differences are found in faith. Read more in Jewish Values Are Everyone's Values.

Bedtime can be both a challenging and rewarding time for parents and their little ones. On the parenting blog, Julie Daneman asks, "If you incorporate prayers into your evening routine, when did your kids start saying them with you? When do you think they started to understand that they were more than just words or pretty tunes?" Read more in Sammy Sings the Shema.
Shabbat
When I received an email listing many common questions asked in the lead up to a first visit to a synagogue, I did what many of us would do: I replied by making a video so that others could also benefit from the answers. Read (and watch) more in Shabbat Services FAQ.
Secular Judaism
"Why is someone like me allowed to be an agnostic Jew while a convert to Judaism is not?" Yossi Beilin argues that, in the 21st Century, there's no reason for the religious establishments to exclusively define the number of Jews and who can convert. Instead, he proposes a new model of membership. What do you think? Read more in Thoughts on Secular Conversion: An Important Alternative to Religious Conversion.

Rabbi Nardy Grun wrote about a bat mitzvah in Israel that did not focus on religious worship ritual, but instead affirmed the the bat mitzvah girl's Jewish cultural identity through connecting to the historical places in their midst. Read more in A Secular Humanist Bat Mitzvah in Israel.
Pop Culture
We can only guess that Nate Bloom has been waiting a while to share this column on Lisa Kudrow with us. He also gives an introduction to fashionista Tavi Gevinson and a roundup of Olympians — including Aly Raisman (and her rabbi!). Read more in Interfaith Celebrities.
Are you, or is a family member, Hindu, Muslim, Quaker, Buddhist or of another religion/faith with an interesting story to share about a ritual, spring holiday or life-cycle event with your interfaith family or interfaith relationship? I'd love to hear your story pitches! Contact me!
Sincerely,
Benjamin Maron,
Managing Editor
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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." 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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