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September 12, 2006 eNewsletter


 Web Magazine

September 12, 2006


Dear friend,

For Jews, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are occasions for self-examination. This theme is especially relevant for interfaith couples, who often find themselves examining their religious choices during the High Holidays. Will the Jewish partner miss work and go to synagogue? Will the non-Jewish partner join him or her? Will synagogue attendance during the High Holidays remain--or become--a regular part of their religious life?

For Muslim-Jewish couples, these issues are complicated further by the competing demands of Ramadan. Those pressures are particularly acute this year, when Ramadan begins the day after Rosh Hashanah. In the new issue of our Web Magazine , we hear from several Muslim-Jewish couples--and two other interfaith couples--on how they handle the High Holidays.

You want complications? Try this couple: she's of Christian Korean and Muslim Pakistani heritage, he's the child of a Catholic and a Jew. Learn how they share their backgrounds and find an authentic way to celebrate the High Holidays and Ramadan, in Breaking Bread--Three Ways .

Things are a little different for Susan Katz. "When I first married my [Muslim] husband," she says, "the thought of Ramadan brought anxiety and dread." They've now arrived at a compromise: they don't celebrate either holiday. Read more in Different Religions, Same Guilt .

Deborah Semel has the opposite problem. She simply can't keep up with her Muslim boyfriend's strict observance of Ramadan. Even though she's Jewish, she still tries to be "A Good Muslim Wife" .

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, a leading rabbi in the Jewish Renewal movement, sheds light on the confluence and convergence of the Muslim and Jewish fall holidays in When Ramadan and Rosh Hashanah Meet .

Melissa Feldman's situation is more typical. She invited her Catholic husband to join her and her parents at synagogue on Yom Kippur; he brought her to church for his brother's wedding and his niece's christening. Find out what they learned at each other's place of worship in Different Yet the Same: The Journey into an Unfamiliar House of Worship .

Like Melissa Feldman's husband, Jim Keen finds the High Holiday services difficult to follow. Wanting to participate in his children's Jewish upbringing, he found the perfect solution: attending the kids' service. It's shorter and easier to follow. Read more inThe High Holidays: New Year, New Traditions .

With Yom Kippur starting only 24 hours after Shabbat (the Jewish day of rest) ends this year, preparation for the break-fast can be awfully tricky. In Make-Ahead Recipes for Yom Kippur , Linda Morel shares some tips to help you ensure family dinner doesn't turn into a frenzied disaster.

From Our Article Archives

We dip into our Archives to share two enlightening classics: Understanding the High Holidays: A Primer for Non-Jewish Partners will teach you the difference between Tashlich and Kol Nidre, and Six Tips for Interfaith Families Facing the High Holidays  offers ways to make your Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur celebrations more inclusive.

For additional resources on the High Holidays, check out our Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Resource Page .

What do you think? Join the discussion  as we ask, "Do you wish your partner was more involved in your High Holiday or Ramadan celebrations?"

Also in This Issue

Marlena Thompson has written a detective novel starring the daughter of an Irish Catholic father and a Sephardic Jewish mother. Mark London Williams has written a series of children's books featuring a time-traveling child of a Jew and an Episcopalian. They interview each other about their innovative interfaith protagonists in A Novel Idea: Two Writers Talk about Their Interfaith Characters .

Coming Next

We'll return on September 26 with our issue on attending services at your partner's house of worship. Have a wonderful New Year!


Micah Sachs, Online Managing Editor

Write for Us!

We're looking for writers on the following topic:

  • Outreach success stories

If you or your family has been touched by an outreach program or provider, and you're interested in writing about your experience, contact Web Magazine Editor Ronnie Friedland at .

Connections In Your Area--Featured Events

2006 High Holidays Snapshot

Synagogues and outreach organizations throughout the country are hosting High Holidays programs tailored to your needs. Learn about some of the Rosh Hashanah programs being offered, in our High Holidays Snapshot .

Want to find additional welcoming events? visit Connections in Your Area .


Network News

The Debut of the IFF Network Blog is pleased to announce the launch of the IFF Network Blog, where the staff of will write regularly about news of interest to interfaith families, outreach professionals and others interested in the intermarriage debate in the Jewish community. Also, don't miss Peace Within These Walls , where Rachel Freedenberg, an observant Jewish woman, blogs about her relationship with her non-Jewish atheist boyfriend.

Intermarriage Documentary Showing in L.A.

If you are in the Los Angeles area, a new documentary about intermarriage called Out of Faith is showing tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theatre, 8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. Admission is free. Out of Faith tells the story of a Holocaust survivor struggling over her grandchildren's marriage to non-Jews. Online Managing Editor Micah Sachs was interviewed for a story on the film in the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles .

IFF Attends Journalists' Conference was an exhibitor at the Religion Newswriters Association conference September 6 to 9 in Salt Lake City, Utah. One-hundred thirty secular journalists who cover religion attended the event.

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!




Hebrew for "Head of the Year," the Jewish New Year. With Yom Kippur, known as the High Holy Days. Hebrew for "Day of Atonement," the final of ten Days of Awe that begin with Rosh Hashanah. Occurs during the fall and is marked by a 24-hour fast. One of the most important Jewish holidays. Aramaic for "all vows," the opening words and name of the first prayer that begins the evening service on Yom Kippur. Kol Nidre has come to refer to the name of the evening service itself. Of the culture of Jews with family origins in Spain, Portugal or North Africa. 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." Hebrew for "send off" or "cast away." On the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah it is customary to go to a body of moving water for a ceremony in which we cast off our sins by emptying crumbs from our pockets into the water. (See Micah 7:19.) The Jewish Sabbath, from sunset on Friday to nightfall on Saturday. 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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