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e-newsletter 5-13-08

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Ways You Can Get Involved

Looking for a rabbi or cantor for your interfaith wedding? We have a database of more than 170 rabbis and cantors throughout the U.S. and Canada.

If what we do helps you or others you care about, please make a tax-deductible charitable contribution in support of our work.

Connections In Your Area--Featured Events

Do A Mitzvah For Children Who Need It

Save the date for a volunteer opportunity: May 18, 2008 at 12:00, Shalom Pittsburgh Interfaith Division will be putting together children's bags for kids in emergency foster care. Families and couples welcome!




May 13, 2008

Dear Friend,

Our new content includes several stories about what it's like to be the adult child of interfaith parents: how do you negotiate your identity, and how do you make life's biggest choices? We also look at family life from parents' viewpoints.

Bored child illustration


Tracy Hahn-Burkett wants her children to have a better sense of their Jewish identity than she did. That's what she's telling her eldest son when he asks, But Mommy, Why Do I Have to Go To Religious School?

Selma Williams reports on a Catholic dad who is still a member of the synagogue where he raised his Jewish children, taught in the religious school, and helped repair the roof in Christian Parents, Jewish Children.

Shivah candle

Death and Mourning

Andi Rosenthal's father was Jewish; when he married her mother, he left Judaism for Catholicism. As an adult, Andi converted to Judaism to reclaim that heritage. When her father died, she had to figure out how to mourn, as she describes movingly in  Three Days of Shiva and a Catholic Mass.

Brianne, Rachel and Julie
Adult Children of Interfaith Parents  

Rachel Mauro's father was worried that they wouldn't be as close if she explored her Judaism, but she tells quite a different story in My Spiritual Journey and My Father's.

Rachel Flynn's mother likes to say that the best Jews aren't always the ones you find; sometimes they're the ones you make. Read about her dad's spiritual journey in The Making of a Jew. She and her friend Brianne Nadeau, pictured here with one of their friends, are both confronting the question, how does the child of an interfaith marriage justify her search for a Jewish partner, especially when all the good ones seem to be taken? Brianne discusses the dilemma in Dating on Faith.


Hearing Negative Things About Intermarriage

On more than one occasion, other Jews have told Alina Adams that she's single-handedly destroying the Jewish community. She responds with Back Talk. (That's Alina with her husband and three adorable Jewish children in the photo.)

Paul Newman in Exodus

Arts and Entertainment

In honor of Israel's 60th Independence Day, Nate Bloom looks back on Exodus and the role of Paul Newman, the child of an interfaith marriage, in forging the image of the state of Israel in Revisiting Exodus and Narnia.


Tracy Hahn-Burkett reviews A. M. Homes' memoir The Mistress's Daughter, a story of adoption, interfaith marriage and seeking identity, in How Many Pieces Does it Take to Make a Person?

In the wake of 9/11, most people were afraid to be as honest about the differences between Jews, Christians and Muslims as the authors of The Faith Club proved to be. Read Suzanne Koven's review, Risky Conversations.


What's New on the Blogs

We commented on an unprecedented and Cynical New Israeli Religious Court Ruling on Converts that invalidated all conversions done by the government's own conversion agency since 1999. As we're writing this, the controversy over this ruling has not be settled, and the status of thousands of converts and their children is still up in the air.

As Israel's 60th Independence Day approached, we found that the myth that her Jewish population had exceeded that of the United States was being repeated in the New York Times, in The Danger of First Impressions. We also covered some current demographic controversies in Jewish circles about interfaith marriage in Where Do You Stand and Where Do You Stand, Part II?


Are you a rabbi or cantor looking for helpful resources for working with interfaith couples and families? Visit our Resource Center for Jewish Clergy.

We'd love to hear from you--join the discussion on our discussion board or by clicking the comments link at the bottom of each article.

You can always find a list of our most recent content at this link:


Ruth Abrams, Online Editor

Write for Us!

We're looking for writers on the following topics:

  • Conversion
  • Children of inter-racial and intercultural relationships
  • Israelis in interfaith marriages
  • Finding a community
  • Parenting pre-schoolers 

Interested in any of these topics? Contact us at | P.O. Box 428, Newton, MA 02464 | 617 581 6860

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 "commandment," it has two meanings. The first are the commandments given in the Torah. ("You should obey the mitzvah of honoring your parents!") The second is a good deed. ("Helping her carry her groceries home was such a mitzvah!") A member of the Jewish clergy who leads a congregation in songful prayer. ("Hazzan" in Hebrew.) 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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