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May 21, 2013 eNewsletter - Chicago

 
InterfaithFamily
May 21, 2013
Dear Friends,
This might be a first: two contemporary interpretations of Jewish texts in one eNewsletter! Thank goodness Judaism encourages questioning tradition and finding relevance for our lives today. (But don't worry. If text isn't your thing, you can still indulge your guilty pleasure — reading the celebrity column!)
Chicagoland
We hope to see you in Skokie for this engaging play, The Invasion of Skokie, that brings to life the historic event of the 1978 Nazi march and deals with current issues of freedom of speech, interfaith relationships, and civil rights issues. Rabbi Ari from InterfaithFamily/Chicago will be on the discussion panel following the June 8th performance.
Text and Learning
If the Book of Ruth, text customarily studied on Shavuot, were written with today's interfaith couples in mind, what might it look like? Rabbi Steven Lebow suggests a modern interpretation. Read more in If the Book of Ruth Were Written Today.

What are the ethical and spiritual messages in Judaism? What are we supposed to learn? Sara Davies writes about a particular book of Talmud while answering the question, "And who is Derek Eretz anyway?" Read more in Derek Eretz MVP.
Parenting
A doctor and mohel (one who performs ritual circumcision) offers suggestions for interfaith couples approaching their baby's bris. Dr. Jeffrey Mazlin's advice is both practical and reassuring: this is a celebration for you, your family, your whole family, no matter their religion of origin. Read more in Approaching a Baby's Bris as an Interfaith Couple.

When Edie Mueller's husband read an early draft of this essay, he asked, "Why doesn't [our dauther's] partner have to support our daughter? After all, they agreed to raise children as Jews." It's a fair question but, what does it mean to raise a Jewish child, or a child with Judaism? Read more in Supporting Our Partners: Shifting Perceptions of Raising Jewish Kids.

On the Parenting Blog, mom Chana-Esther is in Israel with her husband who isn't Jewish and their son. Last in Israel 15 years ago, it's the "first time in 15 years" her parents "will be hugging their grandson and their non Jewish son-in-law." Read more about the trip in her daily posts: On Our Way, Day 1: Reunion, Day 2: Tsfat and onto Jerusalem, Day 3: Shabbat, Day 4: Old City Tour, Day 5: Ashdod and a Confrontation, Day 6: Shopping and onto Shavuot, and Shabbat, Shalom Bayit and Compromise.
Animated Weekly Stories
Have you ever felt the need for isolation in a quiet, empty space to re-calibrate your own balance, to become more "civilized" and fit for social interactions? What is it about a "time-out" in a quiet space that takes the wildness out of us? For the Israelites, the desert is the place where the ragtag tribes who were taken out of Egypt go in order to become a civilized nation, with rules and proper organization. Read (and watch) more in Counting in the Desert.

One of the oddest stories in the Torah involves a man who suspects his wife of adultery. Oh, and there's a magic potion. Could this possibly be a model for healthy relationships today? What can we learn from it? Read (and watch) more in Is This a Healthy Relationship?
Staff Blog
On the Network Blog, Ed Case reports that Chelsea Clinton and her husband are "ironing out the crinks" with their Jewish traditions "before we are blessed to have children." Read more in What Chelsea Clinton Loves About Judaism.

Ed also blogs about Rabbi Ellen Lippman's arguments that an inclusive vision of Jewish leadership and an expansive vision of Jewish role models favor admitting rabbinic students who are or may become intermarried. Read more in A Plea To Ordain Intermarried Rabbis.
Pop Culture
In this week's column, Nate Bloom shares a look at the memoir by Scott Thorson that inspired the new HBO movie about his former lover, Liberace; the recent winner of Survivor; Mel Brooks, Kat Dennings, Josh Radnor, and more! Read more in Interfaith Celebrities.
 
Sincerely,
The Staff,
InterfaithFamily
 Chicagoland
 Text and Learning
 Parenting
 Animated Weekly Stories
 Staff Blog
 Pop Culture
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A Summer holiday commemorating the receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, it is also known as the Feast of Weeks, as it comes seven weeks after Passover begins. A member of the Jewish clergy who leads a congregation in songful prayer. ("Hazzan" in Hebrew.) Hebrew for "instruction" or "learning," a central text of Judaism, recording the rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history. It has two parts: Mishnah (redacted c. 200 CE) and Gemara (c. 500 CE), an elucidation of the Mishnah. Hebrew for "circumciser" (Yiddish term is "moyel"), the person who performs a ritual circumcision. The feminine form is "mohelet." 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 "covenant," often referring to the ritual for Jewish boys when they are 8 days old ("brit milah" - "covenant of circumcision"). It is commonly known as "bris," which is the Ashkenazi or Yiddish pronunciation of "brit."
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