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July 21, 2009 eNewsletter

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Connections In Your Area--Featured Events



July 21, 2009

Dear friend,

We're very excited about the upcoming relaunch of our website! You'll notice some changes when you visit

We're continuing to provide all your favorite articles and resources, but making the site more interactive and more user-friendly. New tools will allow you to search easily for organizations and events in your area. You will be able to create a personal page, where you can subscribe to articles on topics that interest you, and if you choose, connect with others.  

Joining our network will also enable you to subscribe to conversations on the discussion boards and our blogs. While our discussion boards are changing for the better, the current comments on articles and discussion board postings will not be available after the relaunch. Your old username and password will not work on the new site.

We'll let you know more about the improvements to after it goes live, but in the meantime, if you see something new, please try it out!


When your children have married someone who isn't Jewish, what should you do to impart a Jewish identity to your grandchildren? In one small Jewish community, a Support Group Helps Grandparents Navigate Interfaith Challenges, as Marshall Weiss reports.

Outreach Today

When Jewish donors are feeling the economic slump and Jewish institutions are cutting budgets, will there still be outreach to interfaith families? Economic Downturn Puts Pinch on Interfaith Outreach Efforts, Cara Nissman reports.

We were very sad to learn that Gary A. Tobin, a bold Jewish thinker, died  on July 6 after a long illness. Ed Case shared An Appreciation of Tobin, who shared IFF's goals of making the Jewish community more open to interfaith families.

We republished a piece that Tobin wrote for us in the early years of our organization, Proactive Conversion as Outreach, and a rebuttal by the late Egon Mayer, Love Means Never Having to be Proactive. Both discuss whether Jews should break the taboo on proselytizing.

Just as we were revisiting the question of whether outreach means promoting conversion, we learned that the Conservative movement was discussing it, too. Stewart Ain reported in Conservative Judaism Soft-Pedals Conversion In Outreach to Interfaith Families and Ed Case blogged about shifts on the issue of promoting conversion.

Adult Children of Interfaith Families

She always knew that her mother was Jewish, but only in adulthood did Sara Davies try to figure out what that meant. As she began to search for Jewish community, she met with resistance. "Why are you here? Are you lost? Davies isn't a Jewish name." Read more in Out of the Desert.

Jews of Color

Lacey Schwartz makes movies that tell the story of the true diversity of the Jewish community--and her own story as a Jewish woman of color who is the child of an interfaith relationship. Read more in The Reel Deal, a profile by Jen Jones.

Interfaith Relationships

There are some relationships that reach out across boundaries, and I think we all find those stories intriguing, whether they are fictional representations or taken from the news.

I blogged about a Jewish congressman engaged to a Muslim state department aide, a nearly cinematic story. A new web  TV series features a Jewish woman and an African-American man planning their wedding--he's played by Jaleel White, who used to play Steve Urkel on Family Matters.

In No Denying America, Dana Kletter reviewed Joshua Halberstam's "novel of forbidden choices" about a young Hasidic Jew who dates a free-spirited non-Jewish woman from the Midwest.

Arts and Entertainment

As soon as the new movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came out I wrote about Harry Potter and the Jewish Fear of Interfaith Marriage. (I've been waiting to write about that since I took this job!)

Nate Bloom's latest Interfaith Celebrities: Harry Potter Is a Half-Jewish Prince, features the adorably bouncy Daniel Radcliffe, who is the child of an interfaith marriage.

facebook logoIf you have a Facebook account, it would be great if you followed our IFF fan page. We're up to 378 fans.   




Ruth Abrams, Managing Editor



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  • Your family eats that? Ew. I mean, that's interesting.
  • My first Rosh HaShanah
  • Yom Kippur in an interfaith relationship
  • Yes, I take off for the holidays, even though I don't have a Jewish name
  • Picking a religious school for my child--even though I never went
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Hebrew for "Head of the Year," the Jewish New Year. With Yom Kippur, known as the High Holy Days. Hebrew for "Day of Atonement," the final of ten Days of Awe that begin with Rosh Hashanah. Occurs during the fall and is marked by a 24-hour fast. One of the most important Jewish holidays. Hebrew for "pious," commonly refers to a member of an Orthodox Jewish mystic movement founded in the 18th century in Eastern Europe by Baal Shem Tov that reacted against Talmudic learning and maintained that God's presence was in all of one's surroundings and that one should serve God in one's every deed and word. A member of the Jewish clergy who leads a congregation in songful prayer. ("Hazzan" in Hebrew.) 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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