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September 26, 2006 eNewsletter


 Web Magazine

September 26, 2006


Dear friend,

Visiting a partner's place of worship can be a very different experience for partners in an interfaith relationship. When visiting a synagogue, non-Jews are often intrigued by the exotic and unfamiliar rituals and prayers. But Jews often approach their non-Jewish partner's place of worship--especially if it's a church--with a mix of discomfort and dread. One of the keys to creating a healthy interfaith relationship is finding a compromise between those divergent feelings. In the new issue of our Web Magazine , we hear from both Jews and non-Jews about visiting unfamiliar places of worship.

For Ellen Glazer, the problem isn't so much going to her husband's church--it's that her husband doesn't have a church at all! In A Loving Marriage, A Spiritual Divide , Glazer wonders what to do when your partner doesn't have a "spiritual anchor."

"I just assumed that my Christian praying was unrelated, even somewhat disconnected, from the Jewish praying that the rest of my family does," says Jim Keen in Praying in Our Interfaith Family . "One evening with my daughter's youth choir changed my thinking."

Edith Rye and her non-Jewish husband are both religious. He enjoys going to her synagogue, but going to church creeps her out. Find out how they make things work in Sharing Services .

Converts have a unique perspective on religious services; they've not only observed different styles of worship, they've been fully invested in them. Laura Thor, a J.I.T. ("Jew In Training"), shares her observations in Similarities and Differences Between Jewish and Catholic Worship .

At the Reform movement's biennial last November, the head of the movement, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, recommended that his member congregations thank non-Jewish members of interfaith families who are raising their children as Jewish. This High Holiday season, that speech seems to be bearing fruit. Read more in Some Rabbis Using Services to Honor Non-Jewish Congregants .

Ever wondered what goes on in a Catholic church, mosque, Hindu temple or even a synagogue? Find out in the What You Will See Inside... series, reviewed by Cheryl F. Coon in Peeking Behind the Church Doors .

For Joanne Catz Hartman, visiting a Sikh temple with her daughter not only taught her about an unfamiliar religion--it taught her about tolerance. Read more in Sikh Temple Becomes Window into Judaism .

From Our Article Archive

"I feel my Jewish sensibilities resisting all things Catholic," says Jeri Zeder. So how can she prepare her kids for their role as ringbearers at her Catholic sister-in-law's wedding? Find out in How I Prepared My Kids for Their First Mass and Their Aunt's Catholic Wedding .

Focus on Out of Faith

Making its way around the country is a new documentary about intermarriage called Out of Faith . The movie tells the story of Leah Welbel, a Holocaust survivor who is distraught over her grandchildren's intermarriages. Tom Tugend discusses the genesis of the movie .

In a pair of thinkpieces, the producer and director of Out of Faith weigh in on making the movie--and why they have very different opinions on intermarriage.

What's New in Our Blogs

We recently launched the IFF Network Blog, about news of interest to interfaith families and outreach professionals. Since our last eNewsletter, we've written about new approaches to interfaith officiation in San Francisco and Washington, The Great Shofar Blowout and talking like a Jewish pirate, among other topics.

Coming Next

We'll return on October 10 with our issue on interfaith identity. For those of you who fast on Yom Kippur, we hope you have a good and easy one.


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

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 Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah programs being offered, in our High Holidays Snapshot .

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


Network News

IFF Receives $20,000 Grant for Secular/Humanistic/Cultural Content

We're pleased to announce that the Jesse and Julie Rasch Foundation has awarded a $20,000 grant to to enhance our secular/humanistic/cultural Jewish content, and we want to thank Jesse Rasch for the foundation's support and his expression of confidence in our work.

IFF Included in Slingshot  for Second Straight Year is proud to be included for the second year in a row in Slingshot, the directory of the 50 most innovative Jewish organizations. We were prominently featured in the JTA article on Slingshot. For the text of our entry in Slingshot, click here.

PAC Talks with Noted Demographer on Rise of Secularism

The Network Professionals Advisory Circle's September 18 quarterly telephone conference call featured a presentation by noted demographer Ariela Keysar on the implication for outreach of her recent research on secularism. To hear an audio of the call, click here . For more information on joining the Circle, email

Thank You for Your Help!

On September 7, we sent out a call for your birth ceremony ideas. We were overwhelmed by the response! To the more than 30 readers who took the time to send us ideas for birth ceremonies, thank you! You gave us lots of great ideas. Look for our guide to birth ceremonies for interfaith families in our November 7 issue.

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 "Joy of Torah," a fall holiday that celebrates the completion of the yearlong Torah cycle and the commencement of a new one. 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. 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 "Booths," it's a fall holiday marking the harvest, like a Jewish Thanksgiving, complete with opportunities for dining and sleeping under the stars. Reform synagogues are often called "temple." "The Temple" refers to either the First Temple, built by King Solomon in 957 BCE in Jerusalem, or the Second Temple, which replaced the First Temple and stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem from 516 BCE to 70 CE. 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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