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November 21, 2006 eNewsletter


 Web Magazine

November 21, 2006


Dear friend,

For more than 50 years, Jews have been attracted to Buddhism--and Buddhists. In a modern society where many Jews are proud of their Jewishness but conflicted over their faith, Buddhism offers what traditional Judaism lacks: a spiritual practice that makes no mention of God. In the new issue of our Web Magazine , we hear from Jews exploring Buddhism, the children of Jewish-Buddhist marriages and partners in Jewish-Buddhist relationships.

In To Make One's Life a Blessing, Jonathan Chao Burnston, the son of a Buddhist mother and a Jewish father, searches for common ground between his parents' traditions.

Julia Gutman and her Tibetan husband share common values, but the ways they express themselves are vastly different. Gutman comes from a culturally Jewish background full of debate and argument; her husband comes from a culture where there is nearly a taboo on saying the word "no." Find out how they make it work in Momo and Matzoh: Our Tibetan-Jewish Marriage.

"My husband's death was the end of my life as I knew it," says Paulette Mann, an atheist Jew. She searches for comfort in Buddhism in Moving Beyond Grief.

Intermarried mom Louise Crawford is exploring Buddhism, but every High Holiday season she feels the pull of the synagogue. Read more in Smartmom: Meditating on My Jewish Identity.

Perry Garfinkel, the author of Buddha or Bust, finds peace in an unlikely place in At Auschwitz, Buddhist Meditation Set Me Free.

From the Article Archive

Steve Ettinger and his Buddhist/Shinto wife respect and support each other's traditions, but he's having a little trouble going to the Episcopalian church where she plays organ. Read more in Our Interfaith Relationship .

News and Opinion on the Boston Jewish Community Study

A new demographic study of Boston's Jewish community revealed some extraordinary news: 60 percent of intermarried families in the Boston area are raising their children Jewish. Our President and Publisher Ed Case, among others, attributes the development to Boston's commitment to outreach, in Sue Fishkoff's Investment in Outreach is Paying Dividends, Study Suggests. But others aren't so sure, says Stewart Ain, in Outreach Miracle? Meanwhile, Case and Kathy Kahn, the director of the Union for Reform Judaism's Department of Outreach and Synagogue Community, say Boston can be a template for other communities, in Engaging the Intermarried .

More News

With the Democratic takeover of the House, Nancy Pelosi is the most powerful woman in America. And her daughter is married to a Jew. Read more in Nancy Pelosi's Interfaith Family .

And speaking of Washington, D.C., the country's third-largest Reform congregation--the Washington Hebrew Congregation--recently decided to allow its rabbis to marry interfaith couples. Read more in Expansive Chuppah: Washington Hebrew OKs Officiation at Interfaith Weddings--with Conditions .

Arts and Entertainment

A Jewish Buddhist makes a movie about a detective investigating a death at a Buddhist enclave, in Jew-Bu Detective Story Blends Two Cultures .

Elinor Lipman is obsessed with intermarriage. But not in the way you think. Read more about this writer and her novels in Happy Ever After , and listen to her refreshing perspective, in Ronnie Friedland's Interview with Elinor Lipman .

Coming Next

We'll return on December 5 with the first of two issues on the December holidays.


Micah Sachs, Online Managing Editor

Write for Us!

We're looking for writers on the following topics:

  • Divorce and stepfamily issues, including talking to your ex about your child's religious upbringing
  • Shabbat in your interfaith family
  • Secular Judaism: How you practice it

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

Connections In Your Area--Featured Events

Growing Up in an Interfaith Home
Sponsored by Interfaith Connection

Interfaith Connection is hosting a panel of adult children of interfaith households who will talk about their experiences, their families' approaches, their feelings about these choices and their current practices and beliefs. This is a helpful program for interfaith couples with questions on raising their children. The event will be held on Sunday, Nov. 26, at 7 p.m., at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center. For more on this event, click here. For questions, contact Helena McMahon, LMFT, at .


Network News

60% of Intermarried Households in Boston Are Raising Their Children as Jews

This amazing news out of Boston has the potential to change the debate on intermarriage. The Boston GlobeJTAThe Forward and The Jewish Week have all published stories on the news. Publisher and President Ed Case has co-authored an op-ed on the news with Kathy Kahn, Director of the Union for Reform Judaism's Department of Outreach and Synagogue Community, published in The Forward . And the authors of the study wrote an op-ed for The Jewish Week . You can download the 2005 Greater Boston Jewish Community Study by clicking here .

Additional Press

Our letters to the editor of the Boston Jewish Advocate and the Detroit Jewish News were recently published. Also, our article on "How to Market Community Day Schools to Interfaith Families" appeared in the Chanukah 2006 issue of HaYidion , the quarterly magazine of Ravsak, the Jewish Community Day School Network.

Ed Case Attends the GA


President and Publisher Ed Case was in Los Angeles last week for the United Jewish Communities General Assembly, where there was a great deal of interest in the Boston survey results and in the outreach programs funded by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies , the Boston federation.

Ways You Can Get Involved

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.


Join Our Discussions.  We want to know what you think--and it's easy to tell us!

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




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." Hanukkah (known by many spellings) is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd Century BCE. It is marked by the lighting of a menorah and the eating of fried foods. The Jewish Sabbath, from sunset on Friday to nightfall on Saturday. 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.
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