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November 22, 2011 eNewsletter

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Featured Event from Our Network

The December Dilemma: Join Touro Synagogue to discuss the difficulties interfaith families experience during the holiday season. All community interfaith families welcome. November 29, New Orleans, LA.

November 22, 2011

Dear friend,

We're looking past Thanksgiving to Hannukah! And we'd love your input: read on for an opportunity to tell us about your December holiday practices (and a chance to win), and, for you writerly types, check out the request for article submissions at the bottom of this eNewsletter.

News from IFF

Do you work at a Jewish organization or congregation that is welcoming and inclusive of interfaith couples and families? Add your organization to our Network then post your events and we'll help promote them as well. (Plus, you could win an iPad for signing up!) There's more information here or contact Deb Morandi for assistance.

Congratulations to Carrie M. of San Jose, California, who won our drawing for a $500 American Express Gift Card. Thanks to Carrie, and all of you, who took a few minutes to fill out our 2011 User Survey.

Do you celebrate Hanukkah? Christmas? We are conducting a survey about interfaith families' experiences participating in Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations. People of all backgrounds are welcome to take this survey and anyone who is a member of the Network is eligible to win the drawing of a $500 American Express giftcard. Take the December Holiday Survey!


Several years ago, Cheryl Axelrod never could have predicted that she would tuck her kids in at night while singing to them in Hebrew. As a previously "good Catholic girl," Hebrew just wasn't her reality. But things changed after she married into a Jewish family. Read more in My Family's Bedtime Sh'ma.

On a recent Friday night, Josh Olivier-Mason recorded an audio essay about his interfaith family. Read (and listen to) more in This Is What Interfaith Sounds Like.

Blogs: Parenting, Wedding and Network

New mom Chana-Esther returns to the Parenting Blog to reflect on the birth of her first child, her husband's faith and her prayers. Read more in A few thoughts as my son naps.

Newlywed Ethan returns to the Wedding Blog to update readers on his evolving thoughts on keeping kosher, now that he's married to Mia (who does not keep kosher). Read more in We did it! And so did I! (Ethan's post is as a comment.)

I blogged about a few news stories you might have missed: raising kids in one religion, not two; a video clip from Indian-Jewish comedian Samon Koletkar's "Mahatma Moses Comedy Tour;" why egalitarian parenting is good for the Jewish community; the first gay marriage officiated by an Orthodox rabbi; and forget "continuity," our focus should be on learning. Read (and watch) more in In Case You Missed It...

Elana MacGilpin reflected on the recent lack of "normal" in her and her family's life, and ways that she and her family feel completely "normal" in their community. Read more in Back to "Normal".

Over and over, Ari Moffic is hearing the same questions asked by Jewish professionals who work with interfaith families. And she wants to know what you think. Read more in Questions Coming Up in Chicagoland.

On the Parenting Blog, SLP writes, "I wish I had thought about [how my non-Jewish family members might be uncomfortable or uncertain about going to synagogue] when we were first married. Had I really considered the importance of having my family attend my kid’s religious life cycle events, I might have taken my family to Friday services when they visited." Read more in Demystifying Temple.


It's a great time to start reading Hannukkah stories with kids and grandkids. Get ready for the December holidays, start learning the story/history of Hanukkah, its rituals and significance while sharing some great reads. Naomi M. reviewed five books, for kids of all ages. You're sure to find something your favorite child(ren) will enjoy! Read more in Hanukkah Books for Kids.

In her review, Stephanie Carey found Sonia Taitz's romance novel to be "deliciously" written. The novel examines identity and our struggle to find our place, against the backdrop of an interfaith relationship. Read more in Review of In the King's Arms.

Pop Culture

Mitch Albom brings interfaith to the small screen, the Muppets take the big screen and Harry Belafonte's life comes to a book near you. Nate Bloom shares all the dirt! Read more in Interfaith Celebrities.

Are you, or is a family member, Hindu, Muslim, Quaker, Buddhist or of another religion/faith with 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





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. 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. 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 "fit" (as in, "fit for consumption"), the Jewish dietary laws. 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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