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June 7, 2011 eNewsletter

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June 7, 2011

Dear friends,

Do you know which holiday starts tonight? An important holiday, it's also one of the less-known. It has both historical and agricultural significance. Two main themes of the holiday are Torah (and the story of Ruth) and agriculture. ... It's Shavuot!

We have many resources for the holiday, plus a good mix of other articles too. Read on, and chag sameach - happy holiday!


When Chana-Esther Dayan first wrote about pregnancy, she and her husband had been trying to conceive for only a few months. Her biggest worry was parenting while giving their child a Jewish identity. She didn't know then that her life for the next two years would focus on conceiving and not parenting. Nor did she know the role her religion and faith would play during those two years. Read more in Infertility and Spirituality.

Ed Case blogged about Judy Bolton-Fasman's most recent column, which looked at an interfaith family's inclusive bar mitzvah celebration. He noted, "When more Jewish leaders recognize [that these families] — with an unconverted non-Jewish parent participating in raising a Jewish child -- is not sub-optimal, but instead is a positive Jewish outcome equal to any other — then we will have a truly "changing Judaism." Read more in Another Step Towards a Changing Judaism.


Have you seen our updated booklet, Shavuot: The Basics? It's a great way to find out about the holiday, its history, meaning, and how it's celebrated.

Andi Rosenthal, like many of her friends who have chosen to convert to Judaism, frequently finds herself, during certain liturgical moments, listening for what a friend refers to as "the convert shout-out"-- that all-important reminder to our collective faith community that we are all responsible for welcoming the stranger, "...for you, too, were once strangers in the Land of Egypt." The story of Ruth is so often used to show that welcoming "strangers," converts, is ingrained in Jewish text. This text also includes the story of Orpah, however, who turned back and did not join the Jews. Read more in Orpah: A Shout-Out for Shavuot.

I blogged about a bunch of new Shavuot treats: videos, songs, articles, a few new spins on the whole Ruth story, the torrid tale of Jews and dairy food, and more! Read more in The Shavuot Hodgepodge.

For more of our favorite Shavuot articles, check out our Shavuot Article Archive. You might also enjoy our favorite Shavuot Recipes, including more than just dairy treats.

Matt Hawkins, a parent raising his kids as Jews with his Jewish spouse, watched a video from our friends at Shalom Sesame about a new-to-him concept: Tikkun Olam. He found that it's a universal concept — healing the world — and a good one to share with your kids this time of year. Read more in For Kids: Tikkun Olam.

Find more resources on our updated Shavuot Resource Page.

Pop Culture

Nate Bloom, in his bi-weekly column, brings you the inside scoop on the Tony Awards, Charlie Sheen and Ashton Kutcher, Sir Paul McCartney's wedding and Jewish footballer Gabe Carimi. Read more in Interfaith Celebrities.

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Thank you to those of you who have written in with story ideas. If there are specific types of resources that you'd like to see on, let me know!


Benjamin Maron, Managing Editor


Hebrew for "happy holiday." 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." Hebrew for "repairing the world," a goal of the Jewish covenant with God. 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. The first five books of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), or the scroll that contains them.
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