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January 4 2007 eNewsletter


 Web Magazine

January 4, 2007


Dear friend,

Don't let the time spent coloring, singing songs and taking naps fool you. Preschools can have a powerful effect on shaping a child's future Jewish identity, as numerous studies have shown. Moreover, preschools are often as Jewishly educational for the parents as they are for the children. The writers in the new issue of our Web Magazine  would certainly agree.

Take Francine Sumner. "It's where I learned my Judaism," she says of her experience sending her child to Jewish preschool. Read more stories like hers in Martha Kimes' Toddlers as Teachers?

For Abby Spotts and her Catholic husband, the question was: to JCC or not to JCC? Read more in The Big Decision.

"The lack of commitment to the world of early childhood education is insulting, wrong and self-defeating," finds Sue Fishkoff in her meticulously researched Get 'Em While They're Young: Preschools Get First Crack at Families. But some forward-thinking Jewish institutions are targeting newborns, says Jacob Berkman, in Get 'Em While They're Even Younger: Groups Reach Out to Babies Too.

Debbie Popiel-White's husband had mixed feelings about sending their child to Jewish preschool. And Debbie was unsure how a mixed-race child would be accepted. But their tolerance-teaching preschool has set both their minds at ease. Read more in Our Braided Heritage.

Another reason interfaith families might be attracted to preschools is that roughly a quarter of the teachers aren't Jewish. Like interfaith couples who are raising their children Jewish, they're nonetheless committed to Jewish education. Read more in Growing Numbers of Non-Jews Teach the Aleph-Bet at Preschool.

From Our Article Archive

Christina Pertus-Hendelman agreed to raise her children Jewish and then changed her mind. She was steadfast against a bris and her husband was strongly for it. Can preschool help break their religious impasse? Read more in When Children Raise Jewish Parents.

Gabe Kapler, the recently retired outfielder for the Boston Red Sox, told the (Boston) Jewish Advocate in 2004 that his family's religious life changed when his mother started working at a Jewish preschool.


There's good news on the day school front: Conservative day schools are considering making their admission policies more flexible to children of non-Jewish mothers, writes Sue Fishkoff.

Arts and Entertainment

In his new column, Nate Bloom gives us the scoop on the interfaith heritage of Amanda Peet, star of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," and Liev Schreiber, who is soon to join the cast of "CSI."

If you have kids, you know the name Dan Zanes. A former member of the Del Fuegos, Zanes is a popular children's performer. But did you know he's married to a Jewish woman and is raising his children as Jews? Read more in All-Ages Music: Dan Zanes Performs for Adults and Children Alike.

And a new children's book traces the common roots of Judaism and Islam. Read more in Picture This: A Children's Book with a Message of Interfaith Healing.

More on Preschools and Raising Children

For more resources and articles on preschools and raising children, visit our Parenting Resource Page .

Coming Next

We'll return on January 16 with our 200th issue!


Micah Sachs, Online Managing Editor

Write for Us!

We're looking for writers on the following topics:

  • Messianic Jews. If anyone in your interfaith family has been approached by prosletyzing Messianic Jews or Jews for Jesus, we'd like to hear about it.
  • Passover/Easter: What does your family do during the season?
  • Interfaith Mourning
  • Relationship Issues: How do you and your partner navigate interfaith issues?

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

Connections In Your Area--Featured Events

From An Interfaith Home

Join this interactive four-session workshop for young adults who grew up in interfaith families. In this first workshop of its kind, come together with young adults who understand the joys and difficulties of growing up in an interfaith home. The first workshop takes place January 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hillel at the University of Washington, in Seattle, and is co-sponsored by Jewish Family Services Seattle and Jconnect Seattle .


Network News

Connect Your Preschool with Local Interfaith Families

Our Connections in Your Area system is a great way to connect your preschool to local interfaith families. For more information, visit Connections in Your Area , or contact Community Connections Coordinator Amy Rovin at Also, many of the articles in this issue of the Web Magazine may be available for reprint. For more details, contact Managing Editor Micah Sachs at

IFF in the News continues to be in the news. Our Third Annual December Holidays Survey was covered by the Orange County Register and the Canadian Jewish News. The website was a "Web Source of the Week" in the New Jersey Jewish News and our letter to the editor was recently published in the Intermountain Jewish News. IFF was featured in an article on growing up in an interfaith family in JVibe. President and Publisher Ed Case was recently interviewed by a program on KCBS radio in San Francisco. We were also mentioned in a JTA story on burial options for intermarried couples. And our article on "How to Market Community Day Schools in Interfaith Families" in Ha-Yidion, the RAVSAK magazine, is now online . For a complete list of press coverage of during the December holidays, click here .

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.


Join Our Discussions.  We want to know what you think--and it's easy to tell us!

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



The spring holiday commemorating the Exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. The Hebrew name is "Pesach." Hebrew for "covenant," often referring to the ritual for Jewish boys when they are 8 days old ("brit milah" - "covenant of circumcision"). It is commonly known as "bris," which is the Ashkenazi or Yiddish pronunciation of "brit."
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