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March 20, 2012 eNewsletter - Chicago

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March 20, 2012

Dear friends,

Today we'd like to know: do you celebrate Passover? Easter? Both? A little from column A, a little from column B? We're conducting our annual survey of interfaith families' experiences participating in Passover and Easter celebrations. People of all backgrounds are welcome to take this survey, but the deadline is March 22 (just two days away). As thanks for participating, anyone who is a member of the Network is eligible to win the drawing of a $500 American Express giftcard. To be eligible, be sure to fill out the form at the end of the survey and, if you aren't a member already, join the Network.


Ari Moffic blogged about a recent meeting looking at engaging Chicagoland teens in Jewish life — specifically teens from interfaith families. Do you have suggestions for how to attract and engage these youth? Read more in Lots of Questions For Teens From Interfaith Homes.

Life's Cycles

Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael shared the tough and touching moments of one couple's life together. A Jewish groom and his Catholic bride created their meaningful, co-officiated wedding ceremony together. Four months later, the new husband returned to the same venue for the wife's funeral. Read more in Interfaith Choices: Till Death Do Us Part.


Passover is just over two weeks away! Looking for a refresher? Check out our Passover and Easter Resource Page.

Retelling the story of our slavery is the core of the Passover celebration. Every generation before us has expanded the story with references to other times of slavery, added new customs and traditions. No need to be a slave to the past! Learn the basics and customize your seder! Perhaps you didn't grow up celebrating Passover and are feeling overwhelmed by all the details of hosting a seder. Let make it easier for you with this booklet, Setting The Passover Table Made Easy.

For some couples and families it's a "spring dilemma." Getting through the challenges of Passover and Easter can be hard, especially when a seder falls on Good Friday. Luckily, Dr. June Andrews Horowitz has some tips for navigating the holidays. Read more in When a Seder Meets Good Friday: Challenges During the Easter and Passover Holidays.

On the Parenting Blog, Chana-Esther wonders how your family prepares for the holiday. What do your seders look like? Read more in Thinking of Passover.

We're not the only ones getting ready for Passover: Stephen Colbert interviewed Jonathan Safran Foer, editor of the New American Haggadah. Read (and watch) more in New Haggadah on The Colbert Report.

Families and Parenting

"In light of my queer, non-traditional family," writes Susan Goldberg, "it just doesn't seem to make much sense to say that biology is destiny, at least when it comes to something as arbitrary as a child's religion. In our household, parents are parents not because of biology but because of what we do and the relationships we've built and earned with our kids; shouldn't religious identity follow a similar pattern?" For two moms from different religious backgrounds, does the sperm donor's religion make a difference? Should it? Read more in Same-Sex, Interfaith and Procreating.

Elana MacGilpin, on the Parenting Blog, shared "a little story about how a regular Monday night turned into a really sweet moment for our family who might consider saying some form of thanks on a nightly basis." Read more in Giving Thanks.

I blogged about some news stories concerning interfaith families, parenting, dating, and including interfaith families in the Jewish community. Read more in News Roundup.

Pop Culture

The new seasons of Dancing with the Stars premiered last night, and Nate Bloom has the scoop on the interfaith celebrities who will be tangoing this spring. Plus, Zach Braff took note of our column about his (distant) cousin Mitt Romney — which Bloom has updated. Read more in Interfaith Celebrities.

Do you have a big decision to make? A new network television show is looking to feature individuals in interfaith relationships who are facing tough decisions in their lives. Check out this casting call if you're interested in being on the small screen. Read more in Big Decisions: Be on TV!

Are you, or is a family member, Hindu, Muslim, Quaker, Buddhist or of another religion/faith? Do you have an interesting story to share about a ritual, spring holiday or life-cycle event with your interfaith family or interfaith relationship? I'd love to hear your story pitches! Contact me!

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Benjamin Maron, Managing Editor





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. A member of the Jewish clergy who leads a congregation in songful prayer. ("Hazzan" in Hebrew.) A language of West Semitic origins, culturally considered to be the language of the Jewish people. Ancient or Classical Hebrew is the language of Jewish prayer or study. Modern Hebrew was developed in the late-19th and early 20th centuries as a revival language; today it is spoken by most Israelis.
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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