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August 29, 2006 eNewsletter


 Web Magazine

August 29, 2006


Dear friend,

New book
by IFF
Jim Keen!
See below...

We've heard the insults before: if your mother isn't Jewish, you're not really Jewish; intermarriage is destroying the Jewish people; a relationship between a gentile and a Jew can never work. Comments like these hurt, especially if they come from family members. In the new issue of our Web Magazine  on Responding to Negative Comments about Intermarriage, we explore how several people have reacted to others' anti-intermarriage comments, and offer our advice on the best way to respond.

Gary Goldhammer and his wife are living proof that intermarriage is not destroying the Jewish people. His wife Christine practices Judaism, is active in their synagogue and raises their daughter Jewish. But his sister still won't accept her. Sometimes Interfaith Ignorance is All in the Family .

Wondering what to tell your child to do when he or she hears a nasty comment about intermarriage? We asked outreach experts for their advice and created Tips for Responding to Negative Comments about Interfaith Families .

On a trip to Israel, Heather Lazar rediscovered her Jewish identity and became friends with an Orthodox Jewish woman. But when Lazar started dating a non-Jew, her friend became hostile. Read more in a Newfound Love and a Lost Friendship .

As a teenager Zachary Kushner said he would only date Jews. So when he met his non-Jewish soulmate, it was both scary and invigorating. Now he has to deal with people's whispered comments about his intermarriage. But their criticisms only make him feel more confident in his choice, he says, in Opening Yourself to Danger .

Unlike Zack, his wife Madhavi never gave much thought to religion. Raised in an ashram and now an atheist, she never thought it would be relevant to her life. But it is when you marry into a Jewish family, she learns, in Overcoming Our Religious Differences .

What would you do if a parent said your choice of a non-Jewish spouse would set "a horrific example" for your children? Gail Wertheimer responded to her father's painful critique with a sensitive but firm email, in An Email Conversation between Father and Daughter, from our Article Archives.

For additional resources on responding to negative comments about intermarriage, check out our Synagogue and the Jewish Community Resource Page .

What do you think? Join the discussion  as we ask, "Do other Jews judge you for being in an interfaith relationship?"

Focus on Inside Intermarriage

We have some very exciting news. In September the URJ Press is publishing a new book by Jim Keen, a longtime contributor to Inside Intermarriage details his experience as a Protestant man raising Jewish children with his Jewish wife, and includes many of his columns for Congratulations, Jim!

To learn more about this wonderful new book, read an excerpt about how he and his wife first met, read a review from a fellow Protestant man raising his children as Jews and listen to a podcast  of an interview with Jim Keen by our Web Magazine Editor Ronnie Friedland.

If you are interested in buying Inside Intermarriage --either for yourself or as a gift--you are eligible for a 15% discount off the purchase price through the URJ Press website. To obtain the discount, go the URJ Press website, add Inside Intermarriage to your cart and enter the discount code "IFF."

Also in This Issue

"To read the Conservative movement's new 'roadmap' on intermarriage," says Julie Wiener, "you would think that a mob of crusading gentile spouses was standing at the entrance of Conservative synagogues, poised to overrun the bima and plant a cross on the Ark." Read more in "In the Mix": Looking Beyond the Roadmap .

Coming Next

We'll return on September 12 with our issue on the High Holidays/Ramadan.


Micah Sachs, Online Managing Editor

Write for Us!

We're looking for writers on the following topic:

  • Jewish-Hispanic relationships

If you are Jewish and in a relationship with a hispanic non-Jew, or are a Hispanic Jew in an interfaith relationship, and you're interested in writing on this topic, contact Web Magazine Editor Ronnie Friedland at .

Connections In Your Area--Featured Event

High Holiday Workshop at Temple Adat Shalom

Join Temple Adat Shalom in Poway, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 10, at 2 p.m., for an adult discussion led by Rabbi Tamar Malino. She will explain how to prepare for the High Holidays and how to find meaning in the services and the rituals of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This program, arranged by the Temple's Outreach Committee, is open to everyone, including non-members, and is free of charge. Reservations are necessary. Please call the Temple Adat Shalom office at (858) 451-1200 or Outreach Chair Sharon Stanford at (760) 741-7783.

For more on this event, click here. For more on Temple Adat Shalom, click here.


Network News

Check Out Our First Blog!

Our first blog debuted earlier this month. In Peace Within These Walls , Rachel Freedenberg, a religiously observant Jewish woman, writes about her relationship with her boyfriend, the atheist son of devout Christians. Post a comment and tell Rachel what you think!

We're Looking for Your Birth Ceremony Ideas is creating a resource on birth ceremonies for interfaith families. Send us your ideas for readings, prayers or other rituals that can be used at baby-naming ceremonies or the bris or simchat bat, and you'll be entered into a drawing for a $100 giftcard from Barnes and Noble or BookSense. Please email your suggestions to

Eight Interfaith Programs Recognized by the J. Readers Choice Awards

We'd like to congratulate the following organizations for being recognized by the J., the Jewish news weekly of northern California 2006 Readers' Choice Awards as having the best interfaith programs in the San Francisco area: Congregation Emanu-ElBuilding Jewish BridgesCongregation Beth AmCongregation Kol ShofarCongregation Sherith IsraelKehilla Community SynagogueTemple Emanu-El and Congregation Rodef Shalom .

Cleveland-Based Study Looking for Interfaith Families

Dr. Pearl Beck, a social researcher, is looking for interfaith families in Cleveland for a study on how intermarried couples make decisions regarding their children's educational experiences. Beck is looking for families with a child (or children) age 6-9. Each couple will be paid $100 for their participation. If you are interested, please contact Dr. Beck at or (646) 290-7195.

Ways You Can Get Involved

Support Us.  If what we do helps you or others you care about, please make a tax-deductible charitable contribution in support of our work.


Join Our Discussions.  We want to know what you think--and it's easy to tell us!

Spread the Word.  Ask your friends to subscribe to The eConnection --the more people we reach, the better!




Hebrew for "Head of the Year," the Jewish New Year. With Yom Kippur, known as the High Holy Days. Hebrew for "daughter's celebration," a modern term for a naming ceremony for baby girls. Hebrew for "Day of Atonement," the final of ten Days of Awe that begin with Rosh Hashanah. Occurs during the fall and is marked by a 24-hour fast. One of the most important Jewish holidays. 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." Reform synagogues are often called "temple." "The Temple" refers to either the First Temple, built by King Solomon in 957 BCE in Jerusalem, or the Second Temple, which replaced the First Temple and stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem from 516 BCE to 70 CE. 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. The elevated area or platform in a synagogue, from which Torah is read. Worship service leaders, such as clergy, may lead services from the bimah as well. Hebrew for "covenant," often referring to the ritual for Jewish boys when they are 8 days old ("brit milah" - "covenant of circumcision"). It is commonly known as "bris," which is the Ashkenazi or Yiddish pronunciation of "brit." A cabinet- or cupboard-like structure that houses the Torah(s) in a synagogue.
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