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December 5, 2006 eNewsletter


 Web Magazine

December 5, 2006


Dear friend,

This holiday season, most interfaith families will participate in celebrations of both holidays. But what does that mean? Will you have a Christmas tree? Combine the holidays? Give Hanukkah gifts in Christmas wrapping paper? In the new issue of our Web Magazine , we report how interfaith couples and families are handling the competing demands of the December dilemma.

A few months ago, we asked you to tell us how you were celebrating the December holidays. Seven hundred fifty-nine people responded to our survey, including 581 in interfaith relationships, and 342 in interfaith relationships raising Jewish children. Curious how others like you are handling the holidays? Find out What We Learned from the Third Annual December Holidays Survey .

But while our survey provides a broad portrait of how families like yours are celebrating the holidays, every household is different. Take Annie Modesitt's, for example. She's doing both, and watering down neither. Read more in Holiday au Lait .

Then there's Kim Mortellite. After taking an Intro to Judaism class with her Jewish fiancé, she feels uncomfortable about doing Christmas--but feels she's already disappointed her parents enough by deciding to raise her children Jewish. This year she's Fearing the Holidays. For outreach professionals Dawn Kepler's and Karen Kushner's perspective on her dilemma, read Fear Not!

Jim Keen and his Jewish wife long ago figured out they were raising the kids Jewish. But it still seems a bit odd that of all of his siblings, he is the only one whose family spends Christmas eve at his parents' place. Read more in 'Tis the Season to Be Ironic .

For some, the December holidays are just one compromise in a lifelong series of negotiations. Read how a Jewish man and a German woman balance the holidays in Britain, in A Magen David on Our Christmas Tree .

From Our Article Archives

Looking for some strategies to reduce stress this December? Check out Handling the December Holidays: Ten Tips from .

Jemi Kostiner Mansfield feels that all those people who fret over having a decorated fir in the house can't see the forest for the Christmas trees. Read more in Turning the Dilemma into a Tradition .

After her husband had a stroke, Marlena Thompson's resistance to having a tree didn't seem so important. Read more in O' Christmas Tree, O' Christmas Tree--You're So Much More than--Foliage!


The recent 2005 Boston Jewish Community Survey--which showed that 60 percent of interfaith households in the area were raising their children Jewish--is changing the debate over intermarriage in the U.S. Read why Paul Golin feels the Jewish community should stop talking, and start doing, in Intermarriage Tipping Point Long Past, But Institutions Must Now Catch Up .

Arts and Entertainment

In our December Holidays survey, we found less than 10 percent of interfaith families raising their children Jewish planned on telling the Christmas story. Find out what a Jewish woman and her non-Jewish husband thought of one version of the tale in The Nativity Story: Responses of an Interfaith Couple , by Tracy-Hahn Burkett and Paul Burkett.

National Public Radio host Scott Simon grew up in a mixed faith household and was exposed to Judaism and Catholicism. Hear what he says about his upbringing and raising his own Jewish daughter in Ronnie Friedland's Interview with Scott Simon .

One of the giants of American theater, Robert Brustein, has written a new play that touches on themes of intermarriage and assimilation. The Washington Jewish Week calls it "very likely the most important Jewish play of his generation." Read more in A Play That Illumines a Generation .

More on the December Dilemma

For more resources and articles on the December Dilemma, visit our December Holidays Resource Page .

Coming Next

We'll return on December 12 with the second of our two issues on the December holidays.


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

December Holidays Snapshot

Synagogues and Jewish organizations throughout the country are offering programs and events on how to handle the December holidays. In our 2006 December Holidays Snapshot, we've picked out a few we think you'll enjoy.


Network News

Congratulations, Kelly Goldberg!

Seven hundred fifty-nine of you filled out out our 2006 December Holidays Survey and were entered for a chance to win a $500 American Express giftcard. Kelly Goldberg, of Farmington Hills, Mich., was the lucky winner. Congratulations, Kelly! We hope this helps with your holiday shopping.

Thank You for Responding to Our End-of-Year Appeal

To those of you who made a contribution in response to our end-of-year appeal last week, thank you! To date, we've raised $1,660. To those of you who haven't, there's still time to make a tax-deductible donation--and we'd be grateful for your support.

Announcing Our New ECard


Look in your email in the coming week for our new Hanukkah eCard!

Documentary Filmmakers Looking for Interfaith Couples in NY/NJ/PA

The producers of a new documentary about interfaith marriage are looking for interview subjects. People in the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia area should contact executive producer Seymour Levin at (610) 505-5545 or For more, visit our Opportunities page.

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.
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