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August 7, 2012 eNewsletter - Chicago

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Featured Event from Our Network

It's worth the drive to the Gan (garden) for a pre- High Holiday program. Fun for the whole family, August 26, 3-5pm! Games, crafts and a chance to help with the mitzvah of feeding the hungry. For more information, go to the event listing on the Network.

August 7, 2012

Dear friends,

Just between you and me, things are brewing behind the scenes at InterfaithFamily. We're about to launch a new site and a new logo — keep your eyes peeled for the sneak peak of our new icon in this newsletter!


Planting the seeds for a New Year! Join us for an afternoon of fun family crafts, great music, candy apple decorating, face painting, honey taste-testing, sweet round challah eating, free raffles, and helping to repair the world as we gather food from a cool urban farm to donate to surrounding area food pantries and soup kitchens. This free family fun day on August 26 — sponsored by Reform Jewish Chicago, in partnership with InterfaithFamily/Chicago — is open to the whole community. All are welcome, Jewish or not! A special, warm welcome to interfaith families.


We are on to something big that can transform the Jewish community's response to intermarriage in a very significant and positive way. After a year of our pilot initiative in Chicago, there's a lot to say... And on the blog, Ed Case posted about it. Read more in A Model to Engage Interfaith Families.


It's no surprise that Jewish camps can make a big difference in the lives of children. From our archives, the director of an inter-denominational Jewish summer camp describes their approach to inclusion, education and fun. Read more in Welcoming Interfaith and All Kids to Our Inter-Denominational Jewish Summer Camp.

Jewish education is not a one-size-fits-all approach. For some, religious or Hebrew school offers meaningful lessons. But for Wendy Viola, she did not feel part of the Jewish community, feel a real sense of Jewish identity, until she attended Jewish summer camp. Read more in Culture Strengthens Religious Identity at a Jewish Summer Camp.


Rabbi David Gruber shared the experience of officiating at an interfaith, intercultural wedding in Italy that highlighted Jewish traditions — with a nod to the couple's other religious and cultural backgrounds. Read more in Intercultural Wedding in Italy: Sipping Sake With a German Couple in Siena.

LGBTQ Couples

Statistically, LGBTQ Jews are more likely to interdate than their straight peers. Why? Does identity shape their response to interfaith relationships? Rabbi Rachel Barenblat explores the seeming nonchalance about interdating. Read more in Negotiating Identities: Queer Interfaith Couples Share their Stories.


On the blog, Rabbi Ari Moffic wonders if you're raising your children as Jews, with Judaism, in a Jewish home, but teach them about Christmas (that their grandparents celebrate), is that such a bad thing? Why are some religious schools and synagogues afraid of this? Read more in Can Raising Children in One Religion Be Clear Cut?

On the importance of Jewish education, Rabbi Ari Moffic also wrote, "Basic Jewish literacy is not only the key to the Jewish community's survival, but it fills one's life with meaning, awe, purpose, joy, connectedness and so much more." What do you think? Read more in The Importance of Jewish Education.

Pop Culture

As the London Olympic Summer Games continue, Nate Bloom offers an update on the Jewish and interfaith athletes. Plus, Joy Behar's new talk show and celebrity news. Read more in Interfaith Celebrities.

Do you have a story you want to share? InterfaithFamily is always accepting new ideas for articles and resources. Contact with your pitches.

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Benjamin Maron, Managing Editor





A bread that comes in a few different varieties; its most common variation is a braided egg bread, though there are water challahs that don't have eggs, and there are whole-wheat challahs which sometimes also don't have eggs. It is customary to being Sabbath and holiday meals by saying blessings and eating challah. Hebrew for "commandment," it has two meanings. The first are the commandments given in the Torah. ("You should obey the mitzvah of honoring your parents!") The second is a good deed. ("Helping her carry her groceries home was such a mitzvah!") 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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