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December 19, 2006 eNewsletter


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  Thank you to everyone who donated to our appeal last month; if you haven't made a donation yet, time is running out before the end of the tax year. helps many people in interfaith relationships to make Jewish choices, and advocates 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 19, 2006


Dear friend,

How do you celebrate Christmas? For some interfaith families, a menorah and a tree co-exist side-by-side. For others, it's Hanukkah at home, and Christmas at the relatives. For some, making a Jewish choice means giving up Christmas altogether. In the new issue of our Web Magazine , we share perspectives on Christmas from across the spectrum.

For years, Sue Eisenfeld's family did both holidays. Last year, her non-Jewish husband decided to make a statement against the season's rampant commercialism: no more Christmas. Now she's the one who misses it. Read more in The Spouse Who Stole Christmas .

Gina Hagler converted to Judaism 10 years ago and is raising her children Jewish. But she misses the tree, the tinsel and the stockings. Lately, she's been thinking about Bringing Christmas Back .

But Dawn Kepler, the director of Building Jewish Bridges in Oakland, Calif., has some advice for Hagler: Don't Bring Christmas Back .

Alice Hale has the opposite dilemma to Hagler. She converted and wants to get rid of Christmas--but her children love it. Find out how she deals with this unique December dilemma in Learning to Let Go of Christmas .

Suzanne Koven follows a familiar pattern of interfaith families: Hanukkah at home and Christmas at the in-laws. But her 12-year-old son's question got her to thinking: What Will We Do About Christmas? (After the Grandparents Are Gone). Read a response from Rosanne Levitt, the founder of San Francisco's Interfaith Connection, in Planning "Far Enough."

Julie Wiener's new column explores how she and her non-Jewish husband keep Christmas at bay (but also how she and her 3-year-old daughter are dazzled by the tree in their apartment building's lobby). Read more in "In the Mix": (Out of the) Home for Christmas .

One of the more unlikely holiday stories comes from Susan Freudenheim, who teaches her husband's devoutly Catholic family about gelt and latkes, in The Greatest Game: Playing Dreidel in Iowa .


Sue Fishkoff of the JTA has written a wonderful story about our Third Annual December Holidays Survey. See what Steven Cohen and Sylvia Barack Fishman have to say about our study's controversial conclusions in Survey: Interfaith Families Raising Jewish Kids Can Negotiate Christmas .

Arts and Entertainment

We're excited to announce our newest regular feature, Nate Bloom's column "Interfaith Celebrities." Bloom is the creator of Jewhoo! and the world's foremost expert on Jewish celebrities. In his new column he'll dish about Jewish stars with interfaith roots and intermarried celebrities. This week, he gives us a scoop about Daniel Radcliffe, tells us how Jack Black is celebrating Hanukkah and lets us in on the latest between "The O.C."'s Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson. Read more in Interfaith Celebrities: Is Harry Potter Half-Jewish? 

Christopher Guest's new comedy For Your Consideration satires Oscar frenzy through the device of a shticky Jewish comedy called Home for Purim. Find out whether one interfaith couple thinks it belongs in the same company as Guest's previous comic classics Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman.

Christmas music: you may love it, you may hate it, but did you know that more than half of the 25 most popular holiday songs of all-time were written or co-written by Jews? Find out more about The Jews Who Wrote Christmas Songs .

And speaking of "The O.C.," if it's December, it must be Chrismukkah time. Read Cheryl Coon's review of the latest book on the silly trend .

More on Christmas

For more resources and articles on Christmas and Hanukkah, visit our December Holidays Resource Page .

Coming Next

We'll return on Thursday, January 4, with an issue on interfaith families and Jewish preschools.


Micah Sachs, Online Managing Editor

Write for Us!

We're looking for writers on the following topics:

  • Divorce and stepfamily issues, including talking to your ex about your child's religious upbringing
  • Communicating in your interfaith relationship
  • Secular Judaism: How you practice it

Interested in any of these topics? Contact Web Magazine Editor Ronnie Friedland at .

Connections In Your Area--Featured Events

Women of Tzadik Celebrate Hanukkah!

The Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, N.Y., is hosting a concert on Wednesday, Dec. 20, at 7 p.m., featuring artists such as Basya Schechter (pictured), Jewlia Eisenberg and Ayelet Rose Gottlieb. Tickets are $15 for members, $20 for non-members. For more information, click here .


Network News

Hanukkah's Not Over Yet

As of yesterday, nearly 1,500 people had viewed or sent our Hanukkah e-card. To view the card, click here (or on the potato). in the News

We've been in the news lately--a lot. In addition to the JTA story and Julie Wiener column reprinted in this issue, our Third Annual December Holidays Survey was covered in stories by Beliefnet, the Tulsa World, the Portland Press-Herald (Maine), and the Detroit Free Press (which was reprinted in Providence, R.I., and Chattanooga, Tenn., among other cities). President and Publisher Ed Case was recently interviewed for "Your Morning" on CN8, the Comcast Network, and "Busted Halo with Father Dave Dwyer" on Sirius Satellite Radio. We also got a nice shout-out from Miss Conduct in the Boston Sunday Globe Magazine.

Ways You Can Get Involved

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!




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. Hebrew for "candelabrum" or "lamp," it usually refers to the nine-branched candelabrum that is lit for the holiday of Hanukkah. (A seven-branched candelabrum, a symbol of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, is a symbol of Judaism and is included in Israel's coat of arms.) Yiddish word for a potato pancake, traditionally eaten during Hanukkah. Hebrew for "lots," referring to the lots cast by Haman, the story's antagonist, to determine the date on which to kill the Jewish people. It's a spring holiday commemorating the Jewish people's triumph. The story is told through the biblical Book of Esther; the namesake heroine, a Jewish woman, marries the Persian king. Their interfaith relationship is central to the story. Yiddish for "money," usually refers to chocolate coins given on Hanukkah (and used as bets during the dreidel game).
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