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e-newsletter 7-22-08

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Connections In Your Area--Featured Events

How Do You Get To Be Jewish?


Can you choose to be a Jew? Must you? Jewish Gateways in El Cerrito, Calif. has the questions if not necessarily the answers to Is Being Jewish a Birthright? a learning session with yummy Shabbat dinner on July 25 at 6:15 p.m. 




July 22, 2008

Dear Friends,

Many of our articles in the past two weeks have reflected what it's like to make different choices than your parents. You can always find a list of our most recent content at: /recent.


Sherry Ellis lives in Loveland, Ohio. There's something very right about the name Loveland, as you'll see in her article, Being Catholic in a Jewish Family.

Telling Your Parents

In the second installment of  Rabbi Stephen Carr Reuben's video blog, produced partnership with the Jewish TV Network,  Rabbi Reuben calms you down before you meet your sweetie's folks. Watch Rabbi Reuben's Ruminations: Meeting the Parents. (Photo is Sidney Poitier meeting Spencer Tracy in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.)

Bar and Bat Mitzvah

Francesca Biller-Safran grew up in a multicultural and interfaith family that sacrificed both cultures and faiths in the interest of supposed peace and avoidance of conflict. Now her daughters may get to have the coming of age ceremonies that Francesca always wanted, in The Dream of a Beautiful Bat-Mitzvah.

Israel and Interfaith Families

A new organization in Atlanta, Israel Encounter, has created a successful Trip to Israel for Interfaith Couples. Tasha Biron, who as a non-Jew didn't think Israel was for her, found the experience life-changing, as she writes in Tearing Down a Wall and Seeing Israel.



What happens when you have to tell your parents you are going to become a Jew? Marinell James explains that When Converting, Telling Your Family Might Be the Hardest Part. (That's Marinell in the photo.)

For Charlotte Gordon, the hardest part is that she sometimes feels like she's missing something everyone else knows--read Why I Haven't Joined Hadassah, Yet.


Michael Felsen's parents raised him in a mainstream synagogue, and they didn't speak Yiddish. Yet he helped create a new, secular Jewish experience for his children with a Yiddish flavor in Finding a Welcoming Community By Building It. (The words on the left are "Yiddish Lebt"--Yiddish Lives!)

Death and Mourning

Our new, downloadable Death and Mourning Guide for Interfaith Families (also available as a Microsoft Word document) provides an overview of Jewish traditions on burial and grieving, and of the issues people in interfaith families may face. We would love feedback on it!


Interracial and Intercultural Relationships 

Aliza Hausman is a Dominicana from New York who chose Judaism; her husband was raised in an Orthodox household. Gefilte Fish Con Maduros is what's on their Shabbat menu.

Arts and Entertainment

 Nate Bloom has a lot of nice things to say about Maggie Gyllenhaal and the new Batman movie in Interfaith Celebrities: The Dark Knight. Also, Barack Obama's relationship with a Jewish colleague in the Illinois legislature--it was electric.

What's New on the Blogs

You'd look nice in the t-shirt at left, wouldn't you? My friend designed it for me to illustrate my blog post on The Blame Game. You'll have to read it to understand why. Micah Sachs commented on a moving article about A Troubled Daughter and an Atheist Mother, and I wrote about the recent kosher meat scandal in the US, Jews and Catholics Agree, Something Is Not Kosher In Iowa.


We'd love to hear from you--join the discussions on our discussion boards or by posting a comment on an article.



Ruth Abrams, Managing Editor

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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." The Jewish Sabbath, from sunset on Friday to nightfall on Saturday. 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.
Hebrew for "fit" (as in, "fit for consumption"), the Jewish dietary laws. 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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