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Electronic Newsletter 11-25-08

Table of Contents

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Connections In Your Area--Featured Events

Take a Taste!

Dec. 2, 7 p.m.

A three-week course in A Taste of Judaism is yours--if you aren't a member of  host synagogue Temple Solel in lovely Hollywood, Fla. This one is for non-members only, so come on down!



November 25, 2008

Dear Friend,

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us! What a great holiday. We here at IFF hope it finds you all well and happy with your families. I am pleased to send you a newsletter with a lot of good meaty stuff to read during the holiday.

If you made a contribution to in response to last week's email appeal, thank you! In these hard economic times, support from our readers is more important than ever -- please click on the donate button if you can help.

angry dadTelling Your Parents

Uh oh. You told your folks you were getting engaged and they did not respond well. Watch Rabbi Reuben's Ruminations: Parents Threaten to Cut You Off, produced in partnership with the Jewish TV Network,  and get Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben's expert advice.

Finding a Welcoming Jewish Community

Like many members of the independent minyan where she prays every week, Debbie B. is knowledgeable about Judaism. Unlike them, she's not Jewish. It hurt to find out that means she's only An Unofficial Member.

Our Network Director Robin Schwartz attended Mechon Hadar's Independent Minyan Conference. Read her blog post to learn more about this fascinating trend in the Jewish community.

Leo FelsenDeath and Mourning

How do you cope with death if you don't believe in God? Michael Felsen writes about Honoring My Father, Leo Felsen, who is pictured at left.

Bar and Bat Mitzvah

His mother tried to convince him not to. Even into adulthood and parenthood, she remained wary of Jewish ritual and prayer, but Thomas Karatzas wanted a bar mitzvah, as Stacey Palevsky reports in Starting From Scratch.



Matthew ScottLove, Marriage, Communication

Learn how a nice Protestant boy from Indiana became an authority on how to make gefilte fish. Read more in Matthew Scott's A Good Eater.



browniesGrowing Up In An Interfaith Family

When Justina Colon's sister announced she was converting to Judaism, her parents acted as if the world split in two. This devout Catholic saw nothing wrong with it. Read more in My Sister Opens Doors For Me.





Susan Blashka has to warn you about Marriage and Other Hazards of Interfaith Dating.


Adam Bronfman

New Attitudes Toward Intermarriage

Jewish community leader Edgar Bronfman and his son Adam, left, have become increasingly vocal about welcoming interfaith families. We reprinted an excerpt,  Abraham and Sarah's Tent: Rethinking Intermarriage from Hope Not Fear, a new book Edgar Bronfman wrote with Beth Zasloff. Ed Case's blog post, Breaking New Ground with Jewish Leaders, highlights Adam Bronfman's remarkable speech last week at the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities.



Cape Ann SunsetConversion

"I thought all the Jews who live nearby could come," she said. "I'm not really Jewish," I said. "Just come," she said. So Charlotte Gordon did, as she explains in How One Phone Call Helped Me Convert to Judaism.



Rod CarewArts and Entertainment

Nate Bloom's Interfaith Celebrities: A Surprising Dancer, A Head of State and a Baseball Great straightens out the myth of Rod Carew's Jewishness. 


New On the Blogs 

One thing that's new is that we're blogging a lot more! We even got our COO Heather Martin to write a post, Dreidel? Dreydel? Dreyidel? Our publisher Ed Case wrote Ron Klain, Rahm Emanuel and the Christmas Madness and there were also posts from me, Micah Sachs and Robin Schwartz. (One of my posts was Very Naughty.) As soon as Rabbi Lev Baesh gets back from his trip to Sweden, he's going to write too. It's a great time to add us to your RSS feed reader.

We'd love to hear from you--join the discussions on our discussion boards or by posting a comment on an article.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Ruth Abrams, Managing Editor

Write for Us!

We're looking for writers on the following topics:

  • When your community barely tolerates interfaith families
  • Winning over the prospective in-laws
  • Hebrew school--I hated it, you're going
  • This food is delicious--what is it?
  • Dumb things I wish I hadn't said in earshot of my extended family
  • I want my children to be Jewish--whatever that means | P.O. Box 428, Newton, MA 02464 | 617 581 6860 | | P.O. Box 428, Newton, MA 02464 | 617 581 6860 |

Yiddish for "stuffed fish," a patty made of ground up varieties of fish, matzo meal and spices, boiled in fish broth. A popular dish on Passover, sometimes served on Shabbat and other holidays as well. Hebrew for "son of the commandments." In modern Jewish practice, Jewish boys come of age at 13. When a boy comes of age, he is officially a bar mitzvah and considered an adult. The term is commonly used as a short-hand for the bar mitzvah's coming-of-age ceremony and/or celebration. The female equivalent is "bat mitzvah." 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." 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 "count," it refers to the quorum of ten Jewish adults (in some communities only men are counted; in others both men and women) required to hold a Torah service, recite some communal prayers, and the home-based recitation of the Kaddish. Minyan may also now refer to group that meets for prayer service, similar to a synagogue's congregation or a havurah. 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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