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August 30, 2011 eNewsletter

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August 30, 2011

Dear friend,

It's almost the start of a new month. Both September and the Hebrew month of Elul start later this week, which means we're officially in the lead up to the High Holy Days. We have plenty of resources for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (see below!).

But this newsletter isn't just about the holidays. We have a lot of new articles - and blog posts! - for your family too.

User Survey

Have you filled our our short User Survey? Please take a few minutes to let us know what you think and how we can best serve you with our resources and advocacy work. As a bonus, you'll be entered into a drawing to win a $500 American Express gift card! Complete our User Survey!


We highlighted two of our popular FAQs (frequently asked questions) last week. Curious as to why Jewish families look down upon intermarriage? Wondering how to explain to your parents that your partner is not Jewish? Do you have other questions? Want to know more? Read more in 10 Questions Non-Jewish Partners in Interfaith Couples Ask and 10 Questions Jewish Partners in Interfaith Couples Ask.


Our new Parenting Blog is off to a great start! Many of the new Parenting Bloggers have written posts:

If you haven't already, check out the new group blog, leave some comments, start conversations and subscribe to the RSS feed.

Our new Wedding Bloggers, Yolanda and Arel, have also introduced themselves, posting a video introduction to the Wedding Blog. Read more in Who are we? Arel and Yolanda introduce themselves.

Then, Yolanda and Arel posted a second video, in which they reveal their wedding date and talk about their venue. Read more in Video 2: We chose a date and a venue.

Leonard Wasserman and his wife Dorothy have been major supporters of welcoming interfaith families in the Philadelphia Jewish community. Our friends at Interfaithways are honoring the Wassermans at an interesting film event, "From Woody Allen to Ben Stiller: Interfaith Relationships Portrayed in Film." If you're in The City of Brotherly Love then, we hope you'll attend! Read more in Philadelphia: September 19.

Pop Culture

The new Lifetime reality show, Russian Dolls, looks at "de-Judaization" of the Jewish-Russian community and intermarriage. What do you think? Read more in Russian Dolls.

Was Chely Wright and Laren Blitzer's marriage the first celebrity, Jewish interfaith, lesbian wedding. Read more in Mazal Tov, Chely and Lauren.

If celebrities or other famous people are so readily declared Jews, after their parents turned away from Judaism, or after a couple generations have not practiced Judaism or have even known they were Jewish, why aren't the same standards applied to the rest of us, the non-famous? Read more in "Outing" Celebrity Jews as Jews.

The inside scoop, brought to you by Nate Bloom. This week, looking at tennis's Mardy Fish; Major League Baseball's Brad Ausmus; and the weight loss of Carrie Fisher, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill. Read more in Interfaith Celebrities.

Watching the USA Network show, In Plain Sight, Heather Martin didn't get much of the religion vibe. During the wedding planning clips, they didn't talk about a rabbi or priest or minister. There was no talk of what color kippot they should be ordering or whether or not they would be stepping on a glass at the end of the ceremony. It didn't even occur to Heather that there would be any elements of a Jewish wedding. Read more in A Jewish Wedding? (SPOILER ALERT!).


Before Cassie Morgenstern and her husband began trying to conceive their first child, she thought she had the whole interfaith deal figured out, but her hopes and fears changed once she was pregnant. (She suspects a Jewish woman's prayers for her child would not be any different.) Read more in A Christian Mother's Jewish Prayers for Her Unborn Son.

When Adina Giannelli learned she was pregnant with her first child, she knew she wanted to give her baby a Hebrew name. Although her partner is not Jewish, out of love, respect and an abiding wish to honor what mattered to her, he agreed. She is currently pregnant with their second child, a son, and this time the naming process hasn't been quite as seamless. Read more in The Battle for Uzi.

As her husband stepped out of the mikvah (ritual bath) and the rabbi handed him his conversion papers, Bonni Goldberg was suddenly married to another Jew. He was changed by his conversion, and she was, too. For one thing, she found she had new expectations of him for their family. Read more in True Confessions from a Convert's Wife.

High Holy Days

A month away, Rosh Hashanah starts on September 29th, with Yom Kippur following on October 8th. The Jewish High Holy Days are not always the most popular holidays in interfath families. How do you and your partner negotiate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur? Our newly updated Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Resource Page can help!

We're proud to share our two new booklets, High Holy Days: the Basics and Celebrating the High Holy Days with Kids. We have easy reference blessing downloads with accompanying audio files. Our comprehensive Guide to the High Holidays for Interfaith Families, recipe index and quick tips are all there too. Check it out!

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!

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 "Head of the Year," the Jewish New Year. With Yom Kippur, known as the High Holy Days. 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. 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.
Plural of "kippah," Hebrew for "skullcap," also known in Yiddish as a "yarmulke," the small, circular headcovering worn by male Jews in most synagogues, and female Jews in more liberal congregations. Traditional Jews were kippot (plural of kippah) all the time. Hebrew for "collection," referring to the "collection of water," is a bath used for the purpose of ritual immersion in Judaism. Today it is used as part of the traditional procedure for converting to Judaism, by Jews who follow the laws of ritual (body) purity, and sometimes for making kitchen utensils kosher. 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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