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June 21, 2011 eNewsletter

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Featured Event from Our Network

Try Camp Chi 2011

August 14-17: Prepare your child for overnight camp! $100 grants are available for interfaith families (one non-Jewish parent) from the Foundation for Jewish Camp.

First-time campers in grades 3-6 are invited to spend 4 days & 3 nights at JCC Camp Chi, where they'll experience water adventures, swimming, team sports, drama, arts & crafts, campfires/cookouts and tons of fun! Everyone is welcome! (Hurry! Limited number of grants available.) More details in our Network event listings.

June 21, 2011

Dear friend,

Last week, we had a staff retreat. Well, a staff non-retreat, since we stayed at IFF headquarters in Newton, MA. But it was a great chance to assemble our whole team in one place. We're excited by the progress made in the last year; just look at our updates and eNewsletters for a glimpse of what's going on. And stayed tuned — we've got more in store!

Want to see your name in print? A great reporter, and friend of, is looking to interview people who are taking on leadership roles (such as temple or sisterhood/brotherhood president, member of important synagogue committees, federation executive, etc.) and who are not Jewish. Is this you? Someone you know? Email and we'll put you in touch with this journalist. Thanks!

Bar and Bat Mitzvahs

From Gateways: Access to Jewish Learning, a spotlight on the story of Rachel and her family, as she overcomes physical disabilities to access Jewish life and prepare for her bat mitzvah. Read more in A Voice at the Gates: Rachel Murphy.

Brian Hickey, a Catholic dad who has never been a fan of organized religion, reflects on raising a Jewish family and what he learned from his son's bar mitzvah preparations. Read more in A Son's Bar Mitzvah, A Father's Discovery.

Death and Mourning

David Levy reviewed C. Andrew Martin's book on end of life care, which was part memoir and part how-to guide. He concluded that, "while it may seem like an unlikely date night activity to cuddle up with your sweetheart and discuss your preferences for living will provisions or burial options, the book asserts the wisdom of doing just that while providing a framework to do so." Read more in Review of Reflections of a Loving Partner: Caregiving at the End of Life.

Susan Esther Barnes's sister, who is not religios, asked her, "At Dad's burial, would you be willing to say a few prayers or something?" This is how Susan created a respectful and moving interfaith funeral for her family. Read more in Conducting an Interfaith Funeral.

Pop Culture

I wrote, on our blog, a congratulatory note for Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied, who are now parents. If anyone knows the couple, let them know we can help them find an interfaith-friendly mohel! Read more in Mazal Tov, Natalie and Benjamin!

Nate Bloom, in his bi-weekly celebrities column, has the scoop on The Closer's Kyra Sedgwick, as she talks about the last season; Lauren London's interview on being black and Jewish (and her love of Barbra Streisand!); and Eva Green, who spoke out against Dior's John Galliano. Read more in Interfaith Celebrities.

On the Blog

An article about the first gay synagogue is both timely — June is LGBTQ Pride month in many locales — and a great example of how we can make our communities more welcoming to all. Read more in Pride in Welcoming the Stranger.

A Birthright Israel alumna looks at the experience and its biases. We narrowed in on the relationship of intermarriage to the organization's founding. Read more in Birthright and Intermarriage.

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? I'd love to hear your story pitches! Contact me!

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Benjamin Maron, Managing Editor

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An international program that sends thousands of young Jews to Israel each year for free. Hebrew for "son of the commandments." In modern Jewish practice, Jewish boys come of age at 13. When a boy comes of age, he is officially a bar mitzvah and considered an adult. The term is commonly used as a short-hand for the bar mitzvah's coming-of-age ceremony and/or celebration. The female equivalent is "bat mitzvah." Derived from the Greek word for "assembly," a Jewish house of prayer. Synagogue refers to both the room where prayer services are held and the building where it occurs. In Yiddish, "shul." Reform synagogues are often called "temple." A member of the Jewish clergy who leads a congregation in songful prayer. ("Hazzan" in Hebrew.) 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.
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