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February 5, 2013 eNewsletter - San Francisco

 
InterFaithFamily
February 5, 2013
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Dear Friends,
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. We're especially interested in whether couples from the Bay Area are interested in trips to Israel, so look out for those alongside the holiday questions. In addition to helping us out, you'll be eligible to win a $500 giftcard prize for completing the survey and being a member of our Network (please join the Network if you haven't already). Thanks (and good luck)!
San Francisco Bay Area
Interest Free Borrowing? Not possible, you think. It is! If you're an entrepreneur, want to go back to school or expand your family, or need funds to improve your self-sufficiency, Hebrew Free Loan may be able to help.

Join Rebecca Goodman, Director of InterfaithFamily/San Francisco, and 500 others at Limmud Bay Area, President's Day Weekend! With Karen Kushner, they'll be presenting "In This Together: Interfaith Families Making Jewish Choices" on Sunday, February 17, 3:00-4:10 p.m. in Scripps. Please come join them!

Have you heard about the workshop and class we're offering in the Bay Area this spring? Interested? Know someone who might be? Please help spread the word!
  • 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 April 9, 2013. Click here for more information and to register.
  • 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.
Community
Finding a Jewish community can be a great way to connect to your local community and make new friends. But meeting new friends, especially when new to town, can be difficult. Dana Hagenbuch shares her perspective on how she got it all. Read more in Finding Community As A Young Parent.

What if new couples (intermarried or not) were given an all access pass to the Jewish community for a year or two? Think of it as a communal concierge service, sponsored by local organizations. Ari Moffic, Director of InterfaithFamily/Chicago, is brainstorming new ways to reach couples, to engage them Jewishly, and thinks this would pay off ten-fold for the Jewish community — now and in the future. Read more in Something I’ve Been Thinking About...

National intermarriage rates are about 50%. In the San Francisco Bay Area, it's estimated to be 75-90%. Rebecca Goodman, Director of InterfaithFamily/San Francisco, thinks this is a wonderful opportunity for the Jewish community to both reach out to these numerous families, provide programs specifically designed for them, welcome interfaith families into the general programming, and listen to the needs of these families so that we can create new relevant programming. Read more in The Inside Group is the Outside Group.
Purim
We're getting excited for Purim, the next Jewish holiday! Starting the evening of February 23, it's a combination of Mardi Gras, Halloween, and New Year's Eve — but with a meaningful backstory. Learn about the holiday, or get a refresher, with our Purim booklet.

Purim's also responsible for the expression "the whole megillah." But... what's a megillah? Find out in our video about the scroll read on Purim, plus the important audience participation factor. Read (and watch) more in The Whole Megillah Video.
Weekly Torah
It's most famous for the ten commandments, but there's so much more in the Torah portion Yitro. As G-dcast blogger Nechama Tamler shows us, it's about organizing a society and taking advice from a pillar of the community (who isn't Jewish!). How can we apply this to our lives today? Read (and watch) more in The Big Ten.
Parenting
Are you considering Jewish day school for your kids? Why or why not? How have those around you reacted to you decision? Sarah R., one of our Parenting Bloggers, sends her kids to a Jewish daycare/preschool program full-time, but has decided that day school isn't the right fit for her son — and has had some surprising reactions. Read more in Saying "No" to Hebrew Day School.

With a lot of emotion, musingsofawritermom shares a post on the Parenting Blog about how, surprise!, her daughter is nearing bat mitzvah age. From baby to conversion to Jewishly self-identified, it's time for the tears. Read more in Bat Mitzvah.
Intermarriage
If you're intermarrying, not Jewish, and signing a ketubah, how do you pick your Hebrew name? And what we can learn from the biblical ger toshav, the stranger who dwells among us, when preparing for an interfaith wedding? How do names and strangers relate? Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael lets us know. Read more in Naming the Stranger: A Defining Interfaith Moment.

Have you experienced this type of hypocrisy before, individuals who vocally oppose intermarriage, but interdate? How do you respond? Wendy Armon, Director of InterfaithFamily/Philadelphia, shares one such encounter. Read more in Hypocrisy?
Pop Culture
Nate Blooms gets excited for a new Lifetime movie about an Orthodox cantor (David Julian Hirsh) and his relationship with the star of a church's gospel choir (Toni Braxton), and gets us cheering for some of the Grammy nominees. Read more in Interfaith Celebrities.
Are you a recently engaged interfaith couple with an interest in blogging for us? Or do you have an interesting story to share about a life-cycle event? About your extended (uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, grandparents, grandchildren) interfaith family? Are you LGBT and in an interfaith family? If so, I'd love to hear your story pitches! Contact me!
Sincerely,
Benjamin Maron,
Director of Content and Educational Resources
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San Francisco
Community
Purim
Weekly Torah
Parenting
Intermarriage
Pop Culture
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One of 54 sections of the Torah read, during Shabbat services, in order on a weekly basis throughout the year. Hebrew for "daughter of the commandments." In modern Jewish practice, Jewish girls come of age at 12 or 13. When a girl comes of age, she is officially a bat mitzvah and considered an adult. The term is commonly used as a short-hand for the bat mitzvah's coming-of-age ceremony and/or celebration. The male equivalent is "bar mitzvah." 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. 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. The first five books of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), or the scroll that contains them.
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