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June 12, 2012 eNewsletter - Chicago

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June 12, 2012

Dear friends,

Spring is the perfect time to reflect on the past year, remember some highlights and share your stories with us! We're always looking for new writers, so dust off your keyboard and let me know if you have a story to tell. We're looking for a wide range of topics (innovative programming in your community, unique life cycle celebrations, holiday experiences, parenting, relationships, growing up in an interfaith family... and so much more!). Contact me with your ideas or for more information.


Rabbi Ari Moffic has been with InterfaithFamily/Chicago almost a year. On the blog, she shared the work she's doing, the connections and communities she's trying to create and her desire to help all the interfaith couples and families in Chicagoland with our events (she highlights an upcoming one of particular interest), discussions (now featured on the Chicagoland page) and resources. Read more in Connecting With You, Chicagoland.


In a piece that many of our longstanding readers might remember (it was chosen as a "Best of" article when we celebrated our 200th newsletter, back in January, 2007), Sue Eisenfeld reminds us that though we often focus on the challenges of interfaith relationships (navigating holidays, different religious practices, etc.), it's the shared interests and common values that bond a couple. Read more in Activism as an Aphrodisiac.

Jewish Community

How does one choose a Jewish community? How do we find a religious path that meets our needs? Is the process any different for an interfaith couple or family? Debora Weinberg Antonoff offers suggestions and tips for comfortably accessing Jewish communities. Read more in First Steps into Synagogue Life.

Using an article about our recent class for Chicagoland, Raising a Child with Judaism in Your Interfaith Family, as a starting point, Rabbi Ari Moffic examined the term "interfaith" as it applies to those in our community, the ability to find welcoming Jewish communities and opportunities for continued learning. Read more in Responding to a Recent Article About our Parenting Class.


For children of intermarriage, religion is one more issue for them to challenge and rebel against. The question, "Who am I religiously?" fits right in there with, "Who am I sexually," "Who am I politically," and "Who am I relationship-wise?" S. Courtney Nathan shares advice on what parents should expect from teens raised in interfaith families, and how to deal with the religious issues that may arise. Read more in The Life-Cycle of an Interfaith Relationship: Raising Teenagers.

On the Parenting Blog, Elana MacGilpin noted that we teach our children many things, including Judaism (whether religiously, culturally, or both). But is it possible to teach them the joy of Judaism? And, if so, how? Read more in Joy.

Bat Mitzvah / Bar Mitzvah

If your family has a child in elementary school, it might be time to start thinking about a bar or bat mitzvah. Wondering what this celebration of adulthood entails? How to explain it to your extended family? Our new booklet is here to help! Read more in Bar/Bat Mitzvahs For The Interfaith Family.

What a family! Muhammad Ali made a great interfaith speech at the Olympics. His daughter has fantastic views about religion. And his grandson recently was bar mitzvahed! I blogged all about it. Read more in Muhammad Ali's Grandson is Bar Mitzvahed.


For some, Judaism is a religion. For others, Judaism is a culture. For others still, it's both. And like many religions and cultures, there is language that goes with it. Following the popularity and usefulness of our cheat sheets (Jewish Holidays, Jewish Food and Jewish Greetings), we've added Jewish Language to the roster. Not sure what the "bimah" is? Wondering how many ways one can spell "Hanukkah"? Read more in Jewish Language Cheat Sheet.


I blogged about the wedding of Vice President Joe Biden's daughter, Ashley Biden, to her Jewish husband, Howard Krein. Included in the post, the rabbi who co-officiated their wedding explained which Jewish elements were followed and defended his decision to co-officiate in a church. Read more in Ashley Biden and Howard Krein's Co-Officiated, Interfaith Marriage.

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Benjamin Maron, Managing Editor





Hanukkah (known by many spellings) is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd Century BCE. It is marked by the lighting of a menorah and the eating of fried foods. A member of the Jewish clergy who leads a congregation in songful prayer. ("Hazzan" in Hebrew.) The elevated area or platform in a synagogue, from which Torah is read. Worship service leaders, such as clergy, may lead services from the bimah as well. 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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