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December 13, 2005 eNewsletter


Now Is the Perfect Time to Give to

December 31--and the end of the tax year--is rapidly approaching. Thank you to all who responded to our appeal earlier this month; if you haven't yet, now is the perfect time. Here at, we help literally thousands of people in interfaith relationships to make Jewish choices, and advocate to make the Jewish community more welcoming to them. We need your help to continue our important work. Click on the  Donate button to contribute online, or to find out how to give by mail, email or fax. Thank you!

 Web Magazine

December 27, 2005

Dear friend,

We hope December 25th went smoothly in your family. And as the December holiday season winds down, in this issue of's Web Magazine we offer the holiday perspectives of grandmothers, mothers, spouses and children of intermarried parents.

What's it like to be the Jewish grandmother of a Baptist grandson in December? Paula Hellman tells us. Read More

Laura Bramly figures out a Jewish way to share with her daughter what she loved most in December--her joy at opening the doors of the advent calendar. Read More

She's from Moldova, he's from Colombia: Ava Yelizaveta Shapochnik-Sanchez celebrates cultural as well as religious differences in this season. Read More

Despite converting to Judaism, Shana Franklin's mother refused to give up the magic of Christmas. Read More

The youth group said kids from interfaith families were welcome, then scheduled a major gathering on Christmas--until Rebecca Rolnick came along. Read More

For Diane Barth and her husband, the December dilemma began as a non-issue, but evolved into something else. Read More

Please join our online discussion : How did your family handle December 25th this year?

Dear Wendy

A woman doesn't know how to explain to her son that he is Jewish even though his father isn't. Read More


The Conservative movement will now encourage interfaith families to participate in synagogue life, raise Jewish children, and have the non-Jewish partner convert, reports Sue Fishkoff. Read More

Fishkoff also reports on a JOI study that found Atlanta's Jewish organizations place a high priority on outreach, but don't do enough follow-up. Read More

Arts and Entertainment

"Jewtopia," the world of Jewish online dating that attracts non-Jews as well, is the subject of a play reviewed by Esther D.Kuntanowitz. Read More

Coming Next

Back before the December holidays intervened, we had a first issue on grandparenting in interfaith families. Please come back on January 6 for part 2.

Best wishes from all of us at for a happy and healthy 2006,


          Ronnie Friedland, Editor

Write for us!

We're looking for people to write articles on the following topics:

  •  When making choices as a interfaith couple, have you been affected by confusion as to whether children are considered Jewish if their fathers but not their mothers are Jewish?
  • The experiences of children of intermarried parents at Jewish summer camps.

If you're interested, please email

Connections In Your Area--Featured Organization  

Building Jewish Bridges, a program of the Jewish Federation of the Greater East Bay, offers programs to encourage discussion of challenges unique to interfaith couples and families. Programs, which range from couple groups to workshops to facilitated chavurot (gatherings of friends) give couples an opportunity to share information, resources and participate in a process of clarifying values.


Network News

The Press and Our December Survey

Newspapers and magazines all over the country wrote stories about how Hanukkah starting on Christmas Day affected interfaith families, and's December survey was mentioned in many of them--including in USA TodayNewsweek, and a widely-reprinted Associated Press story by religion writer Rachel Zoll.  To access the survey report, click here.

The Network Responds to New Conversion Efforts

Our expressions of caution and concern about new efforts to encourage conversion announced by the leaders of the Reform and Conservative Movements continue to be widely reported. The Wall Street Journal' s Taste page featured our perspective in Naomi Schaefer Riley December 16 article, "The Hard Sell." We were also quoted in the  Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles  and in the (Boston) Jewish Advocate .

Bruce Phillips Addresses Our Professionals Advisory Circle

Leading demographer Bruce Phillips discussed how outreach professionals can use survey data in the second quarterly conference call of our Professionals Advisory Circle. To read a summary of the call, click here .

Featured in The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Edmund Case was the subject of the December 8 Entry Level column of The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the leading newspaper serving charities and their donors. To access the article, click here .

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!




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." Hanukkah (known by many spellings) is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd Century BCE. It is marked by the lighting of a menorah and the eating of fried foods.
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