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March 6, 2012 eNewsletter - Chicago

Table of Contents

  • News from IFF
  • Purim
  • Relationships
  • Parenting
  • Pop Culture
  • Featured Organization

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    Featured Organization from Our Network

    Congregation Solel of Highland Park is a vibrant and growing Reform Jewish congregation of pathfinders committed to sacred worship, social justice and lifelong learning. We welcome and embrace interfaith families and all who seek a spiritual home in our synagogue.

    March 6, 2012

    Dear friend,

    We're in the Hebrew month of Adar, a month when we're supposed to "increase happiness." One way we do that is by celebrating Purim, putting a positive spin on the holiday's troubling story. But we also look forward to the end of winter, to spring and rebirth... and Passover! With Purim almost here (starts Wednesday evening), we've included plenty of resources for you in this eNewsletter. And with Passover only a month away, we'd love to hear from you: what's your favorite Passover article on our site?

    News from IFF

    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. We're also asking some questions about what attracts interfaith families to Jewish resources, programs and organizations. People of all backgrounds are welcome to take this survey. As thanks for participating in the survey, 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.


    What's a megillah? What's read on Purim? And what's that about getting to boooo and hissssss during the reading? Check out our new video that takes a look at the scroll (megillah is Hebrew for "scroll") of Esther, the story that is read on the Jewish holiday of Purim. Read (and watch) more in The Whole Megillah Video.

    What can we learn about intermarriage from the Purim story? Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael suggested we view intermarriage as a way to build alliances between communities and families while strengthening the Jewish people. Read more in Purim and Intermarriage.

    "Queen Esther is not just a Jewish Cinderella who lives happily ever after in a lopsided fairy tale," Judith Bolton-Fasman explained to her daughter. Exploring the different views of Esther, she shared the feminist poetry of Eve Merriam, whose "Esther" poem continues to pack a punch 60+ years after it was penned. Read more in On the Shelf: Esther, Cinderella for Real.

    Linda Morel's mother had hated baking; their family's Purim treats were store bought. A generation later, missing hamantaschen, Linda started a new tradition with her own daughter. Read more in Mother-Daughter Team Rises Up to Bake a Bunch of Hamantashen: Plus Some Delicious Recipes.

    I shared a few lesser known, family-friendly treats for Purim on the blog. Instructions for making graggers (noisemakers) out of LEGOS? Yes. Taking your family to the kitchen with hamantaschen and orejas de Haman recipes? Of course. Adding math to the kitchen mix by baking your own Sierpinski triangle hamantaschen? You bet! A parody video of Broadway's The Book of Mormon by rabbinic and cantoral students called "The Book of Esther"? Obviously! Read (and watch) more in Purim: Family Fun.


    On the Wedding Blog, I shared the news that we have a new couple joining us! And shortly thereafter, we were treated to the first video blog post by Erik and Jess, who are planning their wedding. Read (and watch) more in Blog Post #1 - Introducing Jess & Erik.

    Following up on Chicagoland's first workshop, Love and Religion ? Online, Ari Moffic wrote about the themes and ideas that came up as she facilitated couples' learning last month. Read more in Lessons Learned From our First Love and Religion Workshop in Chicagoland.


    Julie Daneman is doing her best to raise her sons to "to have their own convictions and identities ? religious and non-religious." But a recent experience has left her wondering how much a parent can do when there are other influences in kids' lives. Read more in Is Raising a Mensch Possible?

    Pop Culture

    Nate Bloom gave us a look at Leonardo DiCaprio's Jewish, model girlfriends; Jennifer Westfeldt's return to the big screen; Miriam Shor's return to TV on GCB; and a look at celebrities of yore. Read more in Interfaith Celebrities.

    In a guest post on our blog, Evan Moffic reviewed Dynamic Belonging: Contemporary Jewish Collective Identities, an anthology that offers few answers to the myriad questions we have about our identities, religion and culture. But don't let that deter you: it offers many new insights for the contemporary Jewish community. Read more in What is Judaism?

    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!

    Are you on Twitter? Follow us for breaking stories and resources! Are you on Facebook? Like us for daily content! On Youtube? Subscribe to our channel! And check out our boards on Pinterest!


    Benjamin Maron, Managing Editor

    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." 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.) 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.
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