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November 27, 2012 eNewsletter

 
InterFaithFamily
November 27, 2012
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Dear Friends,
It didn't take long, did it? I started hearing Christmas and Hanukkah music in the grocery store the day after Thanksgiving. With a week and a half until Hanukkah (light the first candle the evening of December 8!), we're in the homestretch. Read on for Hanukkah resources — and a variety of other articles as well.
Hanukkah
We've got Hanukkah covered!

Whether you need a refresher on the holiday's history, customs and foods, or you want to share the story with friends and family, our Hanukkah Booklet is a great resource for all. Read it online or print it for free!

Have you ever wondered how to play the popular Hanukkah game of dreidel? Our new video will show you, plus explain the meaning of the letters on the dreidel: what they stand for in Hebrew and how their Yiddish meaning shapes the game's rules. Read (and watch) more in Dreidel: Understanding the Game.

Looking to enhance your family's Hanukkah celebrations this year? On the blog, reviews of games, arts and crafts, recipes and more. Read more in Hanukkah for the Whole Family.

Why is there a Thanksgiving blog post in the Hanukkah section? Because next year, the holiday falls in the midst of Hanukkah! If you're asked then to say a "Jewish prayer" in addition to a "Christian prayer" that a friend or family member might give, here are some suggestions. Read more in Is There a Jewish Prayer for Thanksgiving?

For additional recipes, videos, guides, articles and more, make sure to visit our December Holidays Resource Page.
December Dilemma
Getting a present for family members who celebrate Christmas? Mae Rockland Tupa suggested that a friend purchase a simple wreath. Why? Turns out the wreath has Jewish roots! And if that's not enough, she ends her history lesson with a tasty latke recipe for all to enjoy. Read more in Wreaths and Crowns, Christmas and Hanukkah.
Identity
You're on a date. Your suitor comes from a different religious background than you — perhaps a different religion all together or maybe just a different level of observance/practice. How do you discuss religion? Nicole Fonsh looked at the questions "how Jewish are you?" and "does he need to be Jewish?" Read more in How Jewish Are You?

If you're raising Jewish children in an interfaith home, how do you respond to accusations that your kids are "half Jewish"? On the Parenting Blog, Suzanne would love some suggestions. Read more in My Girls Are 100% Jewish.

Deciding whether or not to circumcise our baby boys can be a complicated choice for many. Here, Julie Greenberg, a mom and rabbi, shared her thoughts. Read more in Cutting and Covenant: How I Decided Whether Or Not To Circumcise My Sons.

What does it mean to be "commanded"? What do the commandments mean to us today? Ari Moffic shared parents' views as they grapple with this lesson. Read more in Understanding Our Commandments.

Ed Case responded to an article in Reform Judaism magazine, which looked at complicated feelings about intermarriage and divorce. Read more in The Disgrace of a Nice Jewish Girl?
Weekly Drama
The drama never stops as we continue reading the weekly Torah portions. On the Animated Torahlog, Nechama Tamler wrote about family conflict in two portions in Genesis:
  • Why would parents say that they love one child over the other? Why do siblings trick and deceive each other? Are twins always extra trouble? Read (and watch) more in This Family Is Headed For Trouble!
  • The family dysfuncton continues with lies, God, angels, switched brides, and more... Read (and watch) more in "And He Went Out."
Community
Did you attend the Interfaith Rollercoaster symposium in Philadelphia a few weeks back? Wendy Armon shared her reflections on the workshops and speakers at this day of learning and strategies for interfaith couples and families. Read more in Interfaith Rollercoaster.

Wendy Armon also blogged about the history of Philadelphia's InterFaith Family Shabbat Weekends, started by InterFaithways six years ago. The program, which could be reproduced in any city, has become an "important ritual for nearly 50 synagogue communities in the greater Philadelphia area." Read more in Encouraging the Welcoming of Interfaith Couples and Families.
Pop Culture
Nate Bloom updated us on some of our favorite interfaith couples. Plus, all the Jewish and interfaith connections in Hitchcock, the movie based on the making of Psycho. Read more in Interfaith Celebrities.
Are you a recently engaged interfaith couple with an interest in blogging for us? Or do you have an interesting story to share about a life-cycle event? About your extended (uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, grandparents, grandchildren) interfaith family? Are you LGBT and in an interfaith family? If so, I'd love to hear your story pitches! Contact me!
Sincerely,
Benjamin Maron,
Director of Content and Educational Resources
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Hanukkah
December Dilemma
Identity
Weekly Drama
Community
Pop Culture
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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. Yiddish for "spin," a four-sided spinning top played with during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. The Jewish Sabbath, from sunset on Friday to nightfall on Saturday. A language, literally meaning "Jewish," once widely used by Ashkenazi communities. It is influenced by German, Hebrew and Slavic languages, and is written with the Hebrew alphabet. It is comparable to the language of many Sephardi communities, Ladino. 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.
Yiddish word for a potato pancake, traditionally eaten during Hanukkah. 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. The first five books of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), or the scroll that contains them.
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