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January 30, 2007 eNewsletter


 Web Magazine

January 30, 2007

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Dear friend,

Latino-Jewish intermarriage has a long and not particularly glorious history. Widespread intermarriage between Christians and Jews in medieval Spain helped spark the cultural hysteria that led to the Inquisition. But today, people of Latino descent--Mexicans, Spaniards, Puerto Ricans, Portuguese, etc.--routinely marry Jews. In the new issue of our Web Magazine , we explore the conflicts--and common ground--between Jewish and Latino cultures.

Franklin Velazquez grew up on the Lower East Side in a neighborhood populated by both Puerto Ricans and Jews. Raised Roman Catholic, he felt drawn to the Judaism of his neighbors. As a married man and father of two children, he decided to convert. Learn about the fallout in the Lonely Journey of the Puerto Rican Jew .

Rachel Rockenmacher met her Portuguese husband when he was performing music on a street corner in Harvard Square. Find out how they make their interclass, interethnic, intercultural, interfaith marriage work in Salt Cod on Shabbat .

Monica Sandoval-Sapherstein and her future husband met as 22-year-olds on the dance floor during Halloween. They enjoyed learning about each other's culture, but what happens When the Families Meet ?

Sheryl Santiago and her Puerto Rican husband have been married for years and have two children. Learn the secrets to their successful intermarriage in Interfaith Questions Faced by a Jewish-Puerto Rican Couple .

In Havana, Cuban Jews don't ask "Are you Jewish?" Ruth Nemzoff says the American Jewish community could learn a lot from our southern neighbors. Read more in What We Can Learn from Cuban Jews .

In southern California, a group of converts is revitalizing a dying synagogue. Read more in Roberto Loiederman's Grupo Hispano Celebrates a Buen 5767 .

Arts and Entertainment

Roberto Juan Rodriguez, a Catholic percussionist, combines Jewish melodies and Cuban rhythms. "People ask me if I'm Jewish," he says. "I say, 'No, but I'm getting closer.'" Read more in Klezmer with a Side of Salsa .

Pink should stop and think before she speaks, says Nate Bloom, in the newest installment of Interfaith Celebrities . Also covered: Woody Guthrie, Sarah Silverman and rising soccer star Jonathan Borstein--the child of a Mexican mom and a Jewish dad.

Aubrey Graham, the son of a black father and a Jewish mother, plays a disabled high school student on the long-running kids' hit "Degrassi: The Next Generation." Read more .


What do Jews believe? What do Christians believe? Ron Lux says a pair of complementary books, Questions Christian Ask the Rabbi and Understanding Your Neighbor's Faith, can answer most of your questions in How Hungry Are You?


After the Cuban revolution, basic foodstuffs, including many spices and most fruits and vegetables, became scarce. As available ingredients changed, so did Cuban cuisine. While visiting the country last year, Tina Wasserman came up with a series of recipes combining Jewish cooking and Cuban ingredients. Read more in Cooking: Malangas and Mangoes with a Cuban Minyan .


As Publisher and President Edmund Case recently told a conference of leaders from Jewish community day schools, interfaith families sending their children to day school have some unique needs. They also have unique stories. Read about some parents who send their children to day schools, including a single Christian woman who is raising her adopted children Jewish because their birth mother was a Jew, in Dan Pine's article .

What's New on the Blogs

On our new Weddings Blog, Julie has recently written about how her and Brian's families feel about their relationship.

On the IFF Network Blog, we've talked about black Jews, David Ben-Gurion's concern for the children of intermarriage and MTV's "True Life: I'm in an Interfaith Relationship."

Coming Next

We'll return on February 13 with our issue on Interdating.


Micah Sachs, Online Managing Editor

Write for Us!

We're looking for writers on the following topics:

  • Secular Interfaith Families
  • Coming Out About Your Interfaith Relationships
  • Babies: Issues that emerge when babies are born
  • Participating in a ritual because your child/parent/partner wants to
  • Divorce, Blended Families, etc.  

Interested in any of these topics? Contact Web Magazine Editor Ronnie Friedland at .

Connections In Your Area--Featured Events

Tu B'Shevat Snapshot

A selection of events from around the country celebrating the Jewish New Year of the Trees. Tu B'Shevat is often considered the Jewish Arbor Day or Jewish Earth Day.


Network News

Fill Out Our User Survey and Win an iPod!

We want to know more about what you think about Tell us what you like, don't like, want more of or have never heard of in our new User Survey . Fill out the survey for your chance to win an iPod!

Help Us Get the Word Out

Most of you find us through a search engine like Google. One of the secrets of Google rankings is the more sites that link to you, the higher your ranking. You can help us improve our Google rankings by linking to on your blogs, websites or discussion boards. We welcome your ideas about how to get the word out--email us at .

Argentina Trip for Interfaith High School Students

Community Development Partners for the Americas is organizing a trip to Argentina this summer for high school students from interfaith families. For more, click here or call (914) 833-7787.

IFF in the News

Our 200th issue was covered by The (New York) Jewish Week and the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. An op-ed written by Managing Editor Micah Sachs recently appeared in j, the Jewish news weekly of northern California. We were also featured in articles in the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles and JVibe and mentioned in articles on interfaith divorce in the Cleveland Jewish News and on interfaith burial in JTA.

Check Out Our New and Improved Discussion Boards

We have launched our new, reformatted, improved Discussion Boards. You no longer need to register to post to our Discussion Boards. We have also added some new categories, including Popular Culture.

Ways You Can Get Involved

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


Spread the Word.  Ask your friends to subscribe to our  eNewsletter --the more people we reach, the better!



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 "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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