Send to Friend  Bookmark  Print

January 24, 2012 eNewsletter - Chicago

Table of Contents

Did you receive this email from a friend? You can subscribe too!
sign up

Follow Us...

Looking for a rabbi or cantor for your interfaith wedding or other life cycle event? We have a database of more than 500 rabbis and cantors throughout the U.S. and Canada.

officiation request button

If what we do helps you or others you care about, please make a tax-deductible charitable contribution in support of our work.

donate button

Featured Organization from Our Network

Come get to know this welcoming and supportive congregation that lives up to being a "House of Prayer for All People." Temple Anshe Shalom invites all interfaith families in the area who have not yet found a synagogue home to join them for a fun, family-friendly Shabbat on February 3.

January 24, 2012

Dear friend,

As February draws nearer, we have two exciting occasions on the horizon: Love and Religion — Online in Chicagoland and Tu Bishvat. Read on for more details about both.


We're excited to tell you about the first workshop and class InterfaithFamily/Chicago will be offering this year: Love and Religion — Online and Raising a Child with Judaism in Your Interfaith Family!

  • Love and Religion — Online is a four-session conversation about interfaith weddings, married life with two religious backgrounds, including extended family, navigating holidays and more. Using video conferencing online, you'll be able to join us from the comfort of your own home! Starts February 1. Register now!
  • Raising a Child with Judaism in Your Interfaith Family is a one-of-a-kind, eight-session class for interfaith parents thinking about whether and how to bring Judaism to their home, their lives and their parenting. This class runs February 27 through April 27. Register now!

For more details, to see publicity flyers you can share with friends and organizations or for blurbs to include in your own emails, read more in Two Exciting New Programs in Chicagoland.

News from IFF

Help IFF win $1000! Did you know that January is the slowest time for nonprofits to receive donations? AbleBanking does and they're offering $1000 to the top 5 nonprofits in Massachusetts who get the most votes on their website. It's simple: visit and enter "" as your favorite charity. Please vote by January 31. We'll let you know if we win!

Monmouth Reform Temple (MRT) in Tinton Falls, NJ is donating its tzedakah (righteous giving, charity) to! Each month, a Temple member nominates a charity; any donations made in January will go to, and the Temple members who nominated us have agreed to match the donation up to $200. Inspired by this idea? Start your own tzedakah box at your organization and consider making your first recipient!

Tu Bishvat

Getting ready for the holiday of Tu Bishvat? We are!

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat developed three guides for hosting a Tu Bishvat seder meal — one aimed at little kids, one for children who are a bit older and one for teens/adults — that make the holiday accessible and easy to celebrate. Read more in Three Tu Bishvat Haggadot.

Want a quick overview of a Tu Bishvat seder? Looking for more resources to help you host your own fruit-filled meal this year? Read (and watch) more in Tu Bishvat Seders.

Life Cycle

A way to help interfaith families navigate the process of planning a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah ceremony and celebration, this resource includes detailed information about what takes place at a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah as well as information on ways a child's interfaith family can participate in the celebrations, and possible limitations on participation in some synagogues. Read more in Bar/Bat Mitzvah Ideas and Primer for Interfaith Families.

Mia, who blogged on our Wedding Blog, and was married in July, returned to give us an update on her wedding (and the Shabbat preceding it) as well as the first six months of marriage (which included hosting her new Jewish family members for Christmas). Read more in Six Months Later... Reflections.

Each year on the anniversary of her father's death, Paula Rosenberg feels the strength of the Jewish community supporting her through her grief. She finds she marks the anniversaries (according to both the secular and Hebrew calendars) in different ways. Read more in Mourner's Kaddish as a Source of Comfort.


Alexis Gewertz wrote, "With our immersion in each other's faiths and acknowledgement of deep differences, conflicts are inevitable. They range from silly, like our views on cursing — I'm convinced cursing is part of Jewish culture, but Steve dislikes my colorful language — to deeper issues like how our theologies inform our values." Above all, they've discovered that communication is key. Read more in A Jew and a Catholic Walk Into an Islam Class...

How would you describe your Jewish identity? Would you mention your interfaith family? That you're interdating? That you're a Jew by Choice? Check out this video on the Network Blog and let us know. Read (and watch) more in Jewish Identity.

When Ari Moffic hosted a Shabbat dinner for four interfaith families, her four-year-old told her that she loved their Shabbat party! She felt a renewed sense of connection to the Sabbath and hopes the couples left wanting to create new traditions for their families. Read more in Interfaith Family Shabbat - Total Joy.


On the Blog, I wrote about a soon-to-be-published book by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and the controversy it's already causing. Read more in Kosher Jesus.

What does your family's bedtime routine look like? On the Parenting Blog, Julie Daneman shared that "Baby" picks his bedtime books; for the past week it's been My Shabbat. She admits that, as the non-Jewish parent, she likes his choices - and hopes that these routines are, in some small way, a step toward incorporating more Jewish traditions in his daily life. Read more in Bedtime Routines.

Pop Culture

In his regular column, Nate Bloom takes a look at four celebrities and their two upcoming interfaith marriages (Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman; Amber Tamblyn and David Cross). Read more in Interfaith Celebrities.

Are you, or is a family member, Hindu, Muslim, Quaker, Buddhist or of another religion/faith with an interesting story to share about a ritual, spring holiday or life-cycle event with your interfaith family or interfaith relationship? I'd love to hear your story pitches! Contact me!

Are you on Twitter? Follow us for breaking stories and resources! Are you on Facebook? Like us for daily content! On Youtube? Subscribe to our channel!


Benjamin Maron, Managing Editor





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." 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." 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." Hebrew for "righteousness," it usually means "charity" or "righteous giving." In Judaism, it refers to the religious obligation to do what is right and just, including giving to those in need. 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 "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. Hebrew for "order," refers to the traditional course of events, or service, surrounding the Passover and Tu Bishvat meals.
Send to Friend  Bookmark  Print