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October 24, 2006 eNewsletter


 Web Magazine

October 24, 2006


Dear friend,

Less than one-tenth of one percent of all money spent in the Jewish communal world goes to programming specifically for interfaith families. And yet even with that small contribution, there are countless success stories from these kinds of programs, commonly called outreach. In the new issue of our Web Magazine , we pay tribute to a few of the individuals, programs and institutions that have successfully engaged interfaith families. 

We talked to three interfaith couples at different stages in life--one pre-engagement, one with young children and one with school-aged children--to find out how--and if--outreach helped them. Read more in Lessons from Three Interfaith Families .

Pam Chernoff, a non-Jew, pays tribute to the Bay Area's Dawn Kepler, The Woman Who Helped a Methodist Join a Synagogue .

Hedi Molnar knows a thing or two about outreach: she and her Catholic husband attended various outreach groups for half a decade. Learn how failing the course helped make them a stronger Jewish family in The Road Taken .

Alexandra J. Wall had two Jewish parents, but her husband had only one and was raised without the Jewish religion. The same goes for her friend Joanne. Find out what happens When "Half-Jews" Marry Jews .

For seven years of marriage, Lawrence MacDonald never considered conversion. But going to an Arlington, Virginia-based congregation helped him see: he wanted to be a Jew. Read more in Welcoming Synagogue Led Me to Judaism .

With an earring in one ear, black hipster glasses and a colorful Bukharan yarmulke, Josh Simon didn't look like a typical rabbi. Nor did he act like one. For Julie Wiener, he was a "kindred spirit." Read more in the heartbreaking This Baby Naming Won't Be the Same .

From Our Article Archive

Egon Mayer was one of the first Jewish thinkers to see intermarriage as an opportunity rather than a threat. Read this 2004 tribute to one of the pioneers of outreach, Debra Nussbaum Cohen's He Never Gave Up on Anybody .


At Interfaith Connection in San Francisco, couples find they have a lot in common--including a desire to deepen their spirituality. Read more in Interfaith Couples Find Solace in JCCSF Group . And in New Jersey, a formerly Orthodox man married to a non-Jew started up a program to help non-Jewish moms raise Jewish kids. Read more in Circle of Friends: Non-Jewish Mothers of Jewish Children Set to Meet .

Arts and Entertainment

In his new book, Gil Mann shares some occasionally crazy stories from his Jewish discussion board on AOL. Read more in Sex, God, Christmas and Jews .

And a new movie tries to solve the puzzle of why Daniel Pearl, an intermarried Wall Street Journal reporter, was killed. Read more in Daniel Pearl Documentary Fails to Live Up to Its Subject's Standards .

More Resources

For more on outreach, visit our Jewish Community and Synagogues Resource Page .

Coming Next

We'll return on November 7 with our issue on adoption, including a comprehensive resource on birth ceremonies for interfaith families.


Micah Sachs, Online Managing Editor

Write for Us!

We're looking for writers on the following topic:

  • December holidays

We're looking for parents to address how their family's celebration of the December holidays affected their children's religious identity. Interested? Contact Web Magazine Editor Ronnie Friedland at .

Connections In Your Area--Featured Events

Reform Judaism Boston: URJ (Reform Movement) Northeast Region

The URJ (Reform Movement) Northeast Region offers a wide array of outreach programs, including A Taste of Judaism, Introduction to Judaism and Yours, Mine & Ours (a program for interfaith couples). Click here to see some of the current class offerings. Please go to for additional information about programs for interfaith couples and individuals exploring Judaism in the Greater Boston area.


Network News

Take Our December Holidays Survey!

Many of you--595, to be precise, as of a half hour ago--have taken our December Holidays Survey. For those of you who haven't, there's only one week left to take our survey and be entered to win a $500 American Express giftcard . Refer a friend and you will each receive an additional entry in our drawing for the giftcard.

IFF to Present at Interfaith Conference will be presenting at a conference on interfaith relationships in Princeton, N.J., Sunday, Nov. 5. The conference, titled "Yours, Mine, Ours,"  is for couples, professionals and Jewish lay leaders and is taking place from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Friend Center at Princeton University. For more information, contact (609) 987-8100 or

What's New on Our Blogs


If you haven't checked out IFF's new Network Blog yet, you're missing out. We blog daily on news that matters to interfaith families. We've recently written about post-college Jewish fratswhat makes Judaism special and what some people call "shiksappeal." You can now subscribe to the IFF Network Blog by RSS or email .

IFF in the News

We've been in the news a lot lately! The Jewish Week columnist Julie Wiener gave us a shout-out in her most recent "In the Mix" column, and we've had letters to the editor published recently in the Jerusalem Post, the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle and the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, among other papers.

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!




Yiddish for "skullcap," also known in Hebrew as a "kippah," the small, circular headcovering worn by male Jews in most synagogues, and female Jews in more liberal congregations. Traditional Jews were kippot (plural of kippah) all the time. 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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