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July 24, 2012 eNewsletter - Boston

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July 24, 2012

Dear friends,

Though the articles and resources in this eNewsletter have been separated into different categories (language, spirituality, home life, etc.), they really all could have been listed under one heading: community. In their own way, each article or resource helps us build Jewish communities and create space in them for diverse Jewish practices and beliefs. I hope you'll find them interesting and helpful as you build in your community too.


Are you afraid to open your mouth in Jewish settings because you don't know what to say? Happy and sad life cycle moments, Jewish holidays and other occasions all have traditional Hebrew or Yiddish responses. We've included many, plus their English translations or alternatives, so that you'll know what to say on any occasion. Read more in Jewish Greetings Cheat Sheet.

On the blog, Ari Moffic wondered about the ways in which language serves as a marker of community. Does translating our Hebrew or Yiddish words, or explaining the Jewish insider terms, make Jewish community more accessible and welcoming? Or does it weaken meaning? Read more in Language, Inclusion and Entry Points.


Have you felt like an outsider at the life cycle events of extended family? How do you take that back to your own home/community to make sure others aren't feeling similarly separated? Heather Subba shared how attending the baby shower of her sister-in-law helped her understand the boundaries and exclusions created when different cultures and backgrounds meet. Read more in The Venn Diagram of Backgrounds.

On the parenting blog, SLP wrote about her son's experiences going to a Jewish summer camp. How, as a "Jew in a sea of Christianity," he can spend part of his summer connecting with other Jewish kids (many of whom are also from interfaith families) and just be himself and part of the group instead of feeling separate. Read more in Jew Camp.



After Rabbi Katy Z. Allen converted to Judaism, shared experiences and art helped her connect to her mother's own spirituality and, ultimately, led to a beautiful and moving funeral. (Be warned: many of our twitter followers reported shedding a few tears as they read this inspiring piece.) Read more in Conversion, Shared Spirituality and the Memorial Prayer.

Home Life

Amy Meltzer wrote about her approach to kashrut (following the Jewish dietary laws), and how that has evolved with her husband (who is not Jewish) and later their kids. As a result, we'd like to coin the phrase "interfaith kitchen," because that's really what Amy demonstrates here. Read more in Keep Kosher and Keeping It Real.

Pop Culture

In his regular column, Nate Bloom looks at the cast, characters and inspirations for the new blockbuster, The Dark Knight Rises. Plus, some of the Jewish and interfaith athletes competing at this summer's Olympic Games in London. Read more in Interfaith Celebrities.

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Benjamin Maron, Managing Editor





Hebrew for "fit" (as in, "fit for consumption"), the Jewish dietary laws. A language, literally meaning "Jewish," once widely used by Ashkenazi communities. It is influenced by German, Hebrew and Slavic languages, and is written with the Hebrew alphabet. It is comparable to the language of many Sephardi communities, Ladino. 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.
Reform synagogues are often called "temple." "The Temple" refers to either the First Temple, built by King Solomon in 957 BCE in Jerusalem, or the Second Temple, which replaced the First Temple and stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem from 516 BCE to 70 CE. 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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