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March 15, 2011 eNewsletter

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Featured Event from Our Network

Hamantaschen Hip Hop with the Mama Doni Band

Mar. 20: The Museum for Jewish Heritage invites you and your family to an afternoon concert for Purim — and a chance to make your own groggers! More details can be found here.

March 15, 2011

Dear friends,

This weekend is Purim! One part Mardis Gras, one part Halloween and one part "they tried to kill us, they failed, let's celebrate!", Purim is a lot of fun for all ages. It's also a wonderful way to introduce our non-Jewish family members to a light-hearted side of Judaism, including carnivals at your local synagogue or JCC, costumes, tasty treats, and a story about an intermarriage that saved the Jewish people.

Read on for plenty of Purim resources - and more!


We are thrilled to tell you that Adina Matusow Davies has joined IFF as our new Director of Network Activities. Adina brings great training and experience from her previous position as Program Director and Introduction to Judaism coordinator at the Union for Reform Judaism in New York. She is looking forward to helping you make the best use of our Network's functionality — you can reach her at or 617-581-6862.

We have the results from our annual Passover-Easter Survey, which examines how people in interfaith relationships deal with the competing demands of Passover and Easter. The report shows that interfaith families raising their children Jewish address the "Spring dilemma," the confluence of Passover and Easter, by continuing to participate in secular Easter activities and continuing to believe that doing so does not compromise their children’s Jewish identity. Check out our press release, or see the full results in pdf or Word format.

And congratulations to Marcie B. of Florida who won the $500 drawing after participating in our Passover-Easter survey!

The Hitch

Our two wedding bloggers dropped by again:

Mia Howard wondered if there is such a thing as an "in-between identity", as her wedding, Passover and Easter draw near. Read more in A new identity, or, what is in a name, a Seder and an Easter egg?

Fiancé Ethan blogged about finding a way to include Mia's diverse background and heritage in the wedding ceremony. Read more in No one ever said which seven blessings.


So much Purim! Take a look at our new resource page for Purim, including a booklet, videos, recipes, kids activities and more. And don't forget to check back for updates and additional resources.

Nancy Thompson Brown shared that it wasn't until March that a holiday caught the attention of her 4-year-old: Purim. Purim? She had never heard of it. But the holiday led to a family lesson in parades and synagogue etiquette. Read more in Purim After All.

Anthony Johnson laughed at the jokes and yelled at Haman as he realized something: he was fitting in. The folks in that room were as passionate as he was about reconciling their religion with their sexuality. He was at a Jewish event, but he was surrounded by other queers and they were having a blast. Read more in My First Purim.

Shannon Sarna and Rachel Korycan shared their favorite hamantaschen recipe, and the family history, and battle, behind it. Read more in Rachel's Hamantaschen.

I blogged about what might just be the ultimate in easy to do Jewish cooking: two ingredient hamantaschen! Watch the video for the simple instructions. Read more in Slacker Hamantaschen.

Pop Culture

It's been quite a fortnight for celebrity messes. First there was the whole Charlie Sheen saga, with allegations of anti-Semitism, and Jewish ex-wives and kids and staff. Then there were (false) claims of Jewish ancestry as excuses for anti-semitism (we're not racist, we're self-hating!). Read more in Charlie Sheen and Sheen and Galliano are... Jewish?

Then Natalie Portman spoke out against John Galliano, and I blogged about how great it is that someone in an interfaith relationship can still be upheld as a Jewish leader. Read more in Natalie Portman, Hadassah and Dior.

The Network Blog

Ed Case confessed to having mixed feelings about the new "interfaith Haggadah" authored by Cokie and Steve Roberts (and maybe a touch of envy). Read more in I Wish Cokie and Steve Roberts Were In Our Camp.

After watching a video put out by the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs, I blogged about the power of words, and wondered if it's enough for a congregation to say it's "welcoming" or "open", or if it needs to actually spell that interfaith families are welcome. Read more in How Welcoming is "Welcoming"?

And I wrote about my trip to Las Vegas for TribeFest, where I spoke to many of the 1280 participants about interfaith issues. Read more in TribeFest.


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!


Benjamin Maron, Managing Editor | P.O. Box 428, Newton, MA 02464 | 617 581 6860 |

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Yiddish for "Haman's pockets," and shaped after the three-corner hat of Haman (the villain of the Purim story), these are triangular cookies with poppy seed, jam or fruit filling in the middle. 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." Hebrew for "telling," the text that outlines the order of the Passover seder. There are many, many versions of this book, which dates back almost 2,000 years. Because we are commanded to expand upon the story, the Haggadah contains ancient interpretations, as well as stage directions and explanations, for the Passover meal. The spring holiday commemorating the Exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. The Hebrew name is "Pesach." 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.
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