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February 19, 2013 eNewsletter - Philadelphia

February 19, 2013
Dear Friends,
Saturday evening, February 23, through Sunday is Purim! A holiday that combines Mardi Gras, Halloween, and New Year's Eve with a meaningful history. Learn about the holiday, or get a refresher, with our Purim booklet.

Before you scroll down to see the fantastic articles and resources in this newsletter, please take a moment to fill out our annual survey about interfaith families' experiences participating in Passover and Easter celebrations — you could win $500 for doing it before February 22!
Join InterfaithFamily/Philadelphia on February 24 at Nest's Purim party, fun for the whole family! There will be children's activities, Megillah reading, and hamantashen — all in Nest's ultimate indoor playroom.

Have you heard about the classes we're offering in Philadelphia this spring? Interested? Know someone who might be? Please help spread the word!
  • Raising a Child With Judaism, an eight-session class for parents who want to explore bringing Jewish traditions into their family life. Each weekly session is learned online, and there are two in-person gatherings, a Shabbat dinner and a wrap-up session. The next Raising A Child class starts on March 12, 2013. Click here for more information and to register.
  • Preparing for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, an eight-session class for parents who have a 4th-7th grader preparing, whether in the early stages or later stages, for a bar or bat mitzvah. Each weekly session is learned online, and there are two in-person gatherings. The next Preparing for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah class starts on April 9, 2013. Click here for more information and to register.
  • Love and Religion, a four-session workshop over four weeks for newly married or seriously dating interfaith couples to talk about how to have religious traditions in their lives together. The first session meets in person and the next three meet online with multipoint video conferencing. The next Love and Religion - Online workshop starts on February 28, 2013. Click here for more information and to register.
Have your kids seen Shalom Sesame's video about Purim, starring Grover? What did they think? Was it a helpful way to explain the holiday? Read (and watch) more in For Kids: The Story of Purim.

Once your kids have the story down, move on to the lessons of the holiday. Stephanie Carey Maron reviews Nate, his dads, and the lessons learned in the new children's book, The Purim Superhero. Read more in Life Lessons of The Purim Superhero.

Is Grover not your speed? Looking for a more "adult" version? Nancy Gorod shares the full Purim story which "reads like a screenplay for a program on the CW Network" — far more gritty than the version you might have been taught as a kid! Read more in The Purim Story In All Its PG-13 Glory.

Sticking with the adult themes, Wendy Armon, director of interfaithFamily/Philadelphia, reminds us that Purim is not just a children's holiday. Read more in Purim: Not Just for Kids.

Despite the fun and costumes, sometimes precisely for those reasons, some find Purim offputting. On the Parenting Blog, musingsofawritermom shares her experiences with Purim. Read more in I Don't Like Purim.
As a grandparent, how do you share Judaism with your grandchildren? Does your approach differ if their parents are intermarried? Grandmother Sharon Morton offers her tips: sharing stories, teaching philanthropy, practicing social action, and being happy. Read more in Leaving a Jewish Legacy to Our Grandchildren.

Habits are formed over 20ish days. February is a short month. This month, mom SLP, is trying to do one kind thing for another person every day and hoping to make a habit of it. Want to join her in making the world a better place? Read more in Slipping and Sliding.
Animated Weekly Stories
Have you heard the term "People of the Book" as a nickname for the Jewish people? Nechama Tamler wonders if there are differences between cultures that revere reading and cultures with more of an oral tradition. What kinds of changes do you imagine take place when people go from listening to words to the act of reading them? And how might that affect an understanding of rules, laws, and structure? Read (and watch) more in Sentences and Laws.

You had me at "dolphin cloth"? This week Nechama continues her blogging with the instructions for how to build the place where God will "dwell among us." But, what does it even mean that there's a place where God will dwell? And why "among" us? Read (and watch) more in Who Dwells Where?
Rebecca Goodman, director of InterfaithFamily/San Francisco, examines both sides of a debate: should the Reform Movement's rabbinical school permit interdating or intermarried applicants? What do you think? Read more in Rabbis and Intermarriage.

Ari Moffic, director of InterfaithFamily/Chicago, responds to couples who wonder if they can use a ketubah at their wedding if one partner is not Jewish. Plus, links to our resources on choosing an interfaith ketubah! Read more in Love Is In The Air.
Pop Culture
This Sunday, February 24, the 85th Academy Awards will air live on TV. Will you be watching? Nate Bloom shares the scoop on the Oscar nominees, their Jewish connections, and their films. Read more in Interfaith Celebrities.
It's only February, but we're looking ahead to Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) in the spring. Are you the descendant of Holocaust survivors? Have you or other relatives intermarried? We'd love to hear your stories — contact me!
Benjamin Maron,
Director of Content and Educational Resources
 Animated Weekly Stories
 Pop Culture
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Yiddish for "Haman's pockets," and shaped after the three-corner hat of Haman (the villain of the Purim story), these are triangular cookies with poppy seed, jam or fruit filling in the middle. Hebrew for "scroll," usually refers to the Scroll of Esther ("Megillat Esther"), the biblical book read on the holiday of Purim. Hebrew for "document," a legal document that is both a prenuptial agreement and a certification that a Jewish marriage has taken place. The Jewish Sabbath, from sunset on Friday to nightfall on Saturday. A member of the Jewish clergy who leads a congregation in songful prayer. ("Hazzan" in Hebrew.) 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.
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