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May 22, 2007 eNewsletter



 Web Magazine

May 22, 2007

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Dear friend,

When you have a child, it's not just one life you're bringing into the world. You're also starting a new life as a parent and as a family. For many interfaith couples, a child's birth, or adoption, is the start of the family's religious life. Decisions which may have seemed irrelevant before--will the child be baptized, will the child go to religious school, what holidays will be celebrated at home--suddenly become urgent. For a variety of perspectives on Babies, read the new issue of our Web Magazine .

Michael and Melanie Brent were a typical interfaith couple. They traveled, enjoyed concerts, had little to do with organized religion. But twins changed everything. Read more in Going Nuclear.

If you adopt a child from Asia, how much of their native culture do you share with them? Tracy Hahn-Burkett celebrates her daughter's Korean heritage one day, and her Jewish religion the next, in Challah and Rice Cakes.

Does Circumcision Reduce the Risk of Contracting HIV? Rabbi Donni Aaron investigates.

Sarah Sookman is the child of a Jewish father and a Protestant mother. Contemplating her future children before her wedding to a Jewish man, she wonders: should I convert? Read more in Baby Talk.

Rabbi Miriam Jerris shares some ideas and guidelines for a Humanistic birth ceremony in A Secular Welcoming.


In Alternadad , Neal Pollack struggles between staying young and being a father. Read more in Alizah Salario's Hipster Dad in Yuppieland.

Cheryl Coon reviews a children's book about a Jewish family's adoption of a Vietnamese baby. Read more in From Le Thi Hong to Rivka Shoshanah.


France's new president is descended from one of the oldest Jewish families in Greece. Read more about Nicolas Sarkozy's background in Will Sarkozy's Jewish Roots Impact French Policies?

In Maryland, a rural synagogue and renewal center keeps up its innovative ways with a Sunday school that teaches children and their parents. Read more.

Report on Our User Survey

In January and February, we asked for your opinions about our website. Read what you said in Survey Shows High Level of Satisfaction with


What do Shavuot, immigration and the Bible's most famous convert have to do with each other? Find out in Shavuot Lesson: Jews Must Champion Cause of Strangers in a Strange Land, by Rabbi Jill Jacobs.

Arts and Entertainment

In the newest installment of Interfaith Celebrities, Nate Bloom discusses Paul Wolfowitz's Arab girlfriend, a rumored romance between George Soros and Queen Noor of Jordan, and the Naked Brothers Band.

Additional Resources on Babies

For more on birth ceremonies, including our Guide to Birth Ceremonies for Interfaith Families, see our Birth Ceremonies Resource Page. For more on parenting, see our Parenting Resource Page .

What's New on the Blogs

On the IFF Network Blog, we recently wrote about our first-ever conference .

On the Weddings Blog , Bryan wrote about the dreaded butterflies .

Coming Next

Our next issue, on coming out about your interfaith relationship, will be published June 5.


Micah Sachs, Online Managing Editor

Write for Us!

We're looking for writers on the following topics:

  • High Holidays
  • Parenting
  • Relationship with extended family

Interested in any of these topics? Contact Web Magazine Editor Ronnie Friedland at .




Network News

IFF Holds Its First-Ever Professionals Conference

The first-ever conference/retreat of our Professionals Advisory Circle, titled "Nurturing Outreach: Embracing the Other, Taking Care of Ourselves," was held May 8-10 at the Capital Camps and Retreat Center in Waynesboro, Pa. The conference was attended by more than 50 professionals in the field, and reviews were very positive.

The Results Are In

Earlier this year, more than 550 visitors to responded to our User Survey. Learn what they said, and who they are, in Survey Shows High Level of Satisfaction with

Jewish Outreach Institute Conference in October

The Jewish Outreach Institute (JOI) will be holding a national conference, "Opening the Tent: Visions and Practices for a More Inclusive Jewish Community," Oct. 14-16 in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit .

Ed Case to Speak at Jewish Education Conference

President and Publisher Ed Case will be speaking at a symposium on Jewish diversity sponsored by Ayecha at the  Conference on Alternatives in Jewish Education (CAJE) for Jewish educators in St. Louis on Aug. 6. Case will be speaking on "Diversity at Home: The New Jewish Family."

Calling All Mohels!

Are you a mohel who performs britot for the children of interfaith families? Do you know of such a mohel? Email to be listed on Connections in Your Area's new list of mohels.

Send in Your Interfaith Wedding Ideas and Win a $100 AMEX Giftcard

We are revising and expanding our Wedding Ceremony Ideas for Interfaith Couples. Send your ideas for rituals, readings, songs and other ways to make a wedding inclusive, to Submit an idea and you will be entered to win a $100 American Express giftcard.

Ways You Can Get Involved

Join the Discussion. We want to know:
Is it OK for your child to undergo a baptism and a bris?

Support Us.  If what we do helps you or others you care about, please make a tax-deductible charitable contribution in support of our work.


Spread the Word.  Ask your friends to subscribe to our  eNewsletter --the more people we reach, the better!




Hebrew for "daughter of the commandments." In modern Jewish practice, Jewish girls come of age at 12 or 13. When a girl comes of age, she is officially a bat mitzvah and considered an adult. The term is commonly used as a short-hand for the bat mitzvah's coming-of-age ceremony and/or celebration. The male equivalent is "bar 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." 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. 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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