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January 8, 2013 eNewsletter - Philadelphia

 
InterFaithFamily
January 8, 2013
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Dear Friends,
This is a milestone for us: you're reading the first eNewsletter from InterfaithFamily/Philadelphia. For those of you who previously received newsletters from InterFaithways, welcome! InterfaithFamily/Philadelphia is the merging of two great organizations, InterFaithways and InterfaithFamily. If you were already receiving newsletters from InterfaithFamily, you're receiving the new local edition because you live in the Philadelphia area. We hope you will enjoy the eNewsletter; it will highlight relevant information regarding local interfaith families, organizations and events.
Philadelphia
In the coming months, InterfaithFamily/Philadelphia will be offering a variety of workshops and classes including:
  • Love and Religion — Online, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

We will keep you posted when these workshops and classes are finalized and registration opens. If you have any interest or questions, please contact wendya@interfaithfamily.com.
Spirituality
As we move into 2013, what better opportunity than a New Year to make time to be more thankful? Jewish tradition sanctifies time with blessings and holidays, calling us to live in the present, to open our eyes, to give thanks, to be here now! Whether giving thanks for our food, for good news, or for the world around us, there are many ways to show our excitement and appreciation. Read more in Blessings For All Occasions.

What aspects of Judaism have you "discovered" that you've decided to try on, explore, and keep around? Which haven't worked for you in the past, but make more sense today? Rebecca Goodman, director of InterfaithFamily/San Francisco, reminds us that Judaism isn't stagnant! There's always something new to explore or try on for size. Read more in Does It Fit?
Relationships
Are you in a new interfaith relationship? Did your partner propose on New Year's Eve? Were you recently married? Successful relationships are built on flexibility, communication, and a willingness to keep working on the partnership. Jim Keen shares his best advice for keeping a relationship strong. Read more in Ten Tips to Avoiding Conflict in an Interfaith Marriage.

Being in an interfaith relationship can sometimes hold more challenges. Same goes for being in an intercultural relationship. But Heather Subba's found that though she's an American Jew and her husband is a Nepali Hindu, the blessings outweigh the challenges — even when her in-laws move in. Read more in An Extended Love.
Weekly Torah
The timing couldn't have been better: as 2012 came to a close, we wrapped up the first book of the Torah and as 2013 began, we started the second book. Check out what Nechama Tamler had to say about the last portion of Genesis and the first of Exodus on the Animated Torahlog: presented by G-dcast.
  • Among other things, the family blessings (said on Shabbat) originate in this Torah portion. Of course, as we've come to expect, there's still family drama and a switch involved! Read (and watch) more in The End of Genesis.
  • We are officially leaving the fables about the "beginnings" of the world and our ancestors, and transitioning to the birth of the new nation. Going from being the Children of Israel (the person, who was also called Ya'akov/Jacob) to being the Children of Israel (the emerging nation of Israelites). Read (and watch) more in Welcome to Exodus!
Parenting
The decision to circumcise a baby can be difficult. Melissa explains her trepidation and the unexpectedly pleasant rewards. Read more in My Son's Circumcision.

On the blog, Ari Moffic, director of InterfaithFamily/Chicago, talks about the bar or bat mitzvah and how to make it accessible for your family. (Hint: our class for parents might help!) Read more in Jewish Dreams For Your Pre-Teen.

In her first blog post as a new staff, Rebecca Goodman looks at the secrets to a smooth bedtime routine for babies and toddlers. Read more in Bedtime Routines.
Holidays
Almost a year til Christmas, but there's a post on the Parenting Blog about why Melissa celebrated last month — with gusto! Did you celebrate? Will you next year? Why or why not? Read more in Why I Still Celebrate Christmas.

With Christmas behind us (and time to cool off), how do you decide what food to serve at Christmas meals? Do kosher-style rules come into play? Check out Suzanne's blog post — and the comments. Read more in Christmas Eve Dinner Stress.
Community
What does it mean to welcome interfaith couples to the Jewish community? Wendy Armon, director of InterfaithFamily/Philadelphia, learned the simple message from a wonderful role model. Read more in The Simplicity of Welcoming.
Pop Culture
In his bi-weekly pop culture column, Nate Bloom looks at Les Misérables' Anne Hathaway and her recent intermarriage to Adam Shulman, the Jewish and interfaith Golden Globe nominees, and Paul Simon's connectiom to two tragedies. 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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Philadelphia
Spirituality
Relationships
Weekly Torah
Parenting
Holidays
Community
Pop Culture
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Rodeph Shalom in Center City is offering an Introduction to Judaism class, starting January 29. The 4-month course is great for those in interfaith relationships, who may be curious about converting, or who are Jewish and in need of a beginner's education. Registration is required.
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One of 54 sections of the Torah read, during Shabbat services, in order on a weekly basis throughout the year. 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 "fit" (as in, "fit for consumption"), the Jewish dietary laws. 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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