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August 2, 2011 eNewsletter

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Featured Event from Our Network

Shabbat Story Hour & Crafts Program at West Cobb Library: join Congregation New Tamid of Georgia, the Marcus JCC of Atlanta and other families for a special Shabbat program for children age two to seven and their parents and grandparents. August 13, 2011.

August 2, 2011

Dear friend,

The content of this eNewsletter is a little bit different. Yes, we're bringing you great articles and blog posts, but you'll also find two new videos, a new booklet and other practical resources. Take a look, and let us know what you think!

User Survey

Fill out our User Survey, and you'll be entered to win a $500 American Express Gift Card givewaway! The survey will only take a few minutes, and will help us improve our content and resources. Thanks for participating!

Going to Synagogue

Going to synagogue for the first time can sometimes be a daunting experience. The architecture may be unfamiliar, the ritual items foreign and words are used in languages other than English. Knowing what to expect, in advance of your first visit, will help you feel more comfortable in this space. To that end, we have created a new video. Watch What To Expect At A Synagogue.

Menachem Wecker wrote a quick guide that will give you the basics needed for deciphering the architecture and decorative art in Jewish congregations. Read more in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Synagogue.

At Home

What is a mezuzah? This booklet will let you know! While the word might not be known, many people have seen "boxes" — small, slender boxes or tubes — on doorposts of homes. Perhaps you've seen them in your neighborhood, or maybe on TV or in a movie, on the doors of homes were Jews live. That box is called a mezuzah which means "doorpost" in Hebrew. The mezuzah, established in biblical times, contains biblical verses in Hebrew. But what is their purpose? Our new booklet, Mezuzahs: What's on the Door is available for viewing, downloading and perusing.

More of a visual learner? Our new video explains How To Put Up A Mezuzah.

And if you want something smaller to have in hand as you and your family affix a mezuzah to your home's door frame, the handy PDF of the blessings, in Hebrew, English transliteration and translation, and with audio files of the blessings, will be helpful. Read more in Mezuzah Blessings.

Pop Culture

Joanna Rothman wonders if the writers on the television show Felicity were ahead of their time, as she looks at an episode that included a rabbi's perspective on interdating. Read more in Tackling Interfaith Relationships on the Small Screen.

Nate Bloom, in his bi-weekly column, looks at the Jewish and interfaith connections in the new movie Cowboys and Aliens and pays tribute to Amy Winehouse, in memoriam. Read more in Interfaith Celebrities.

Ed Case blogged about The Bachelorette (a show he claims not to actually watch), in which one of the final two contenders is Jewish. If picked, The Bachelorette will have an intermarriage on its hands. Read more in The Next Celebrity Interfaith Couple?

I blogged about new mom Ivanka Trump and Gwyneth Paltrow's new religious views for parenting. Read more in Celebrity Updates: Ivanka and Gwyneth.


Ethan Meirowitz, one of our wedding bloggers, writes that, now that he and Mia are married, he has to figure out the next big challenge: kashrut. Read more in We Did It! And So Did I!.

I blogged about Kate and Dee, in advance of their wedding in NYC last Sunday. And, as a bonus, included an essay by Rabbi Lev Baesh reflecting on why he officiates at LGBT and interfaith weddings, and what liberal Judaism can learn from it. Read more in This Weekend, At Midnight, Under The Chuppah.

And, following last Sunday's now legal same-sex marriages in New York State, I blogged about two of the many couples who were wed. (Surprise, one of the couples is made of felt!) Read more in Sunday Was a Busy Day for Weddings in New York.

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! Contact me!

Are you on Twitter? Follow us for breaking stories and resources! Are you on Facebook? Like us for daily content! On Youtube? Subscribe to our channel!


Benjamin Maron, Managing Editor


Hebrew for "fit" (as in, "fit for consumption"), the Jewish dietary laws. A member of the Jewish clergy who leads a congregation in songful prayer. ("Hazzan" in Hebrew.) A language of West Semitic origins, culturally considered to be the language of the Jewish people. Ancient or Classical Hebrew is the language of Jewish prayer or study. Modern Hebrew was developed in the late-19th and early 20th centuries as a revival language; today it is spoken by most Israelis.
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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