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June 26, 2012 eNewsletter

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Featured Organization from Our Network

The National Organization of American Mohelim seeks to make the age old practice of brit mila (ritual circumcision) available to Jewish families as a meaningful and relevant Jewish life cycle ritual. Part of their mission is training and certifying Reform mohelim (or "moyels" - the people who perform ritual circumcision).

June 26, 2012

Dear friends,

I received a great response to the request for new writers and articles last time. In case you've been thinking about it, there's still time. 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.

On the blog, Ari Moffic wrote about Love and Religion — Online, a class we're offering for dating, engaged or newly married interfaith couples in Chicagoland. Curious? Know a couple that might enjoy this class? Share the article with them. Read more in Love and Religion is Starting in August.

Diverse Communities

What does pluralistic Judaism look like? How can it benefit different communities and populations, including interfaith families? Rabbi Barbara Aiello shares her synagogue's approach to Judaism, spelling out seven "fundamentals of pluralistic Judaism" for other synagogues to emulate. Read more in Pluralistic Judaism.

Some wave their hands over the Shabbat candles, others don't. Some wave 1, 3, 7 times — why? In Joy Fields' small congregation, there are a multitude of Jewish practices, which she examines with humor. Read more in For Every Two Jews, There Are Three Perspectives.

On the blog, I took a look at the UJA-Federation NY Jewish population study, focusing on the statistics and passages relating to intermarriage, intermarried couples and their families. Read more in A Long Look at a Long Study.


I blogged about Women of the Wall, a group of women who are trying to gain the legal right to pray, wear prayer shawls (tallitot) and read from the Torah in Jerusalem at the Western Wall (aka Kotel), and Deb (who designs our fantastic booklets, used by many of you). Read more in Praying in Israel.

And I shared more news out of Israel: the Chief Rabbi of Israel has called for a boycott of Reform and Conservative rabbis. Why? He claims these rabbis are "trampling" the Torah and horrendously destroying Judaism! Oy, seriously?! Read more in Rabbis Faceoff in Israel.


How would you describe your father? How do we honor fathers (Jewish or not) of Jewish women? These 12 short stories, cross-posted to our blog from the Jewish Women's Archive, are a great snapshot of the diversity of dads in our community. Read more in Our Fathers.


"With my wedding just under one year away," wrote Audrey Etlinger, "I visited the mikveh, as part of my conversion to Judaism. What made this so unusual was that I was already a Jew..." Why a patrilineal Jew decided to formally convert to Judaism, even though she already felt Jewish. Read more in Going Under, Letting Go.

Common Ground

Esther Meyers shared, "Our shared values and shared goals, and now our son, who is the light of our lives, have helped us overcome cultural, religious and personality differences." Her article demonstrates how she and her Muslim husband negotiate their faiths and and find common ground to apply to their parenting. Read more in Common Values Shared between a Jew and a Muslim.

Pop Culture

Nate Blooms gave us the scoop on the stars of the new The Amazing Spider-Man and the indie film Lola Versus, their relationships on- and off-screen. Read more in Interfaith Celebrities.

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Benjamin Maron, Managing Editor





Hebrew for "covenant of circumcision," a ritual for Jewish boys when they are 8 days old. It is commonly known as "bris," which is the Ashkenazi or Yiddish pronunciation of "brit." 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." Plural form of "tallit," Hebrew for "prayer shawl," a ritual item that is worn and has knotted fringes (tzitzit) attached to the four corners. 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 "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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