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March 19, 2013 eNewsletter - Chicago

March 19, 2013
Dear Friends,
With Passover drawing closer (first seder is next week, Monday, March 25) we're here to help you get ready for the holiday. We've got some great Passover resources on the website, including visitors' favorites Setting the Passover Table Made Easy, Matzah and Mass: Interfaith Families Tackle Their Passover-Easter Dilemma, our Guide to Passover for Interfaith Families, Five Interfaith Passover Readings You Can Add to Your Hagaddah, A Kiwi on the Seder Plate, and Passover Recipes. Plus new articles and resources below.

Thank you to everyone who took our Passover/Easter survey! Marc L., of Oak Hill, VA is the winner of the prize drawing for a $500 giftcard.

Two quick takeaways from your answers: More intermarried families raising Jewish kids plan to attend Easter dinner this year than last, and most believe their Easter observances will not impact their kids' Jewish identity. Want to find out more? Make sure to read the results of the survey and what we learned from it.
Are you on Facebook? Want more timely updates from InterfaithFamily/Chicago? Want to share experiences with other interfaith couples and families in your area? Join the IFF/Chicago Facebook group!

Mark your calendars! Judaism, Health, and Healing: A Chicago Community Resource Conference is happening April 14 at Spertus on Michigan Avenue. Choose from a great selection of workshops and learn with the community at the afternoon symposium.

Congratulations to Janinemarie J. of Chicago, winner of February's member drawing and a $25 giftcard. And thanks to all of you who signed up and encouraged your friends and families to join our Network and subscribe to our eNewsletter during our three-month campaign.
Though not as well-known as Spain's Inquisition, the Jews of Italy were also persecuted in the 16th century. Today, as in Spain, some individuals are discovering, uncovering, and exploring their hidden Jewish roots. Rabbi Barbara Aiello offers a brief history of Jewish communities in southern Italy and their Passover customs and traditions today. Read more in How Marranos, Conversos, and Crypto Jews Celebrate Passover in Italy.

Is food a stumbling block in your relationship? How does it affect the holidays like Passover? Check out Ruby Velez's article about food, intercultural relationships, and cultural divides for her perspective (and treat yourself to a recipe for coquito). Read more in A Surprising Challenge In An Intercultural Relationship.

Start with creating decorations. Add in some props, coloring pages, activities, maybe some acting... And end with some snuggle time on the couch, watching a favorite Passover show! Great ideas for making the Passover seder kid-friendly from Rich Geller. Read more in Home Holiday.

What devices do you use at your Passover seder to ensure that everyone feels comfortable asking questions? Galit Breen recommends a great way to encourage everyone, young and old, Jewish or not, to participate. Read more in The Passover Question Box.

What tips would you share with an interfaith couple planning their first Passover today? Marion Usher offers up 5 suggestions. Read more in Planning for Passover as an Interfaith Couple.

Have you seen the new The Bronfman Haggadah? Check out our blog post about it (and Edgar Bronfman's opinions on an open Jewish community and intermarriage), and let us know your thoughts! Read (and watch) more in A New Passover Haggadah from Edgar M. Bronfman.

How do you bring FUN to your Passover seder? Wendy Armon, Director of InterfaithFamily/Philadelphia, suggests costumes, acting out roles, tents, throwing plagues, and more! Read more in Passover Seder Fun..
Staff Blog
Rabbi Ari Moffic, InterfaithFamily/Chicago's Director, recently attended a service at a church where she led a session for a group of interfaith families on how they could explore Judaism. Based on her experience, she wonders if rather than wordsmithing mission statements behind board room doors, synagogue leadership should spend some time in other houses of worship. "We are coming up to Passover, our holiday of freedom in which we think about the stranger in our midst. Try being a stranger and see how it feels. This may be the best way to really know how to welcome the outsider in." Read more in Try Being a Stranger.

Familiar with the Razzie (worst of) Awards? Ed Case suggests an article in the Orange County Jewish Life Magazine for its gratuitous negative comments about intermarriage. What do you think? Read more in A Razzie Award for the Jewish Media?

Rebecca Goodman, Director of InterfaithFamily/San Francisco, ran into a bit of a surprise when talking to her mother. Though Rebecca's grandfather, a German Jewish Holocaust survivor, married her grandmother, an American Mormon, her mother doesn't consider theirs an interfaith family. But her aunt does! Read more in Nature vs Nurture.

And I shared a few thoughts about bar mitzvah invitation videos, inspired by the latest to go viral — the "Best Half-Jewish/Half-Asian, Queen-Inspired Bar Mitzvah Video You'll Ever See." Read (and watch) more in That Bar Mitzvah Video Thing.
Parenting Blog
What does it mean to "think like a Jew"? Having been told that, as a convert, she won't achieve this, Sarah R. takes to the Parenting Blog with her thoughts. Read more in Thinking Like a Jew.

After giving it many years of thought, Melissa has decided to write a book about conversion — and she'd love your input. If you converted to Judaism, or know someone who has, check out her post and fill out her questionnaire. Read more in Converting to Jewish - the book.

Another Parenting Blogger, Chana-Esther, has been inspired by a writing challenge on Twitter and Instagram: following daily prompts in the weeks leading up to Passover and blogging about those suggested words. Read more in Believing, Retelling, Slavery, Chametz, Matzah, Cleaning, and Blessing.

Chana-Esther also shared her frustrations, the most common assumptions she deals with when people find out she's intermarried. Do you have more to add to the list? Let us know in the comments, or join the conversation on our Facebook page. Read more in Five Things People Assume When Your Spouse/Partner Isn't Jewish.
Animated Weekly Stories
When have you ever heard of a building project so amply endowed with gifts that the fundraisers called a halt to the voluntary contributions?! It seems the first example of this is found in Exodus! And what's the relationship between beauty in the material world and the beauty of the spiritual world? Want to find out? Read (and watch) more in The First Successful Fundraiser.

Laws and rules and sacrifices... some find Leviticus a little less dramatic than Genesis or Exodus. But maybe this video game will change your opinion! Start the third of the Five Books of Moses off on the right foot. Read (and watch) more in Leviticus!
Pop Culture
The cast and relationships of Admissions on the big screen, Andy Samberg's engagement, Jewish-Irish connections for a belated St. Patrick's day, and is Christoph Waltz's son a rabbi? Read more in Interfaith Celebrities.
Due to the holiday, we'll be back with the next eNewsletter on April 9.
Chag Pesach sameach — Happy Passover,
Benjamin Maron,
Director of Content and Educational Resources
 Staff Blog
 Parenting Blog
 Animated Weekly Stories
 Pop Culture
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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." 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 "Passover," the spring holiday commemorating the Exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. 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. Hebrew for "order," refers to the traditional course of events, or service, surrounding the Passover and Tu Bishvat meals.
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