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electronic newsletter 2-17-09


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Connections In Your Area--Featured Events

Happy Friday Night!


Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m

Music, stories and monthly birthday blessings make this a Family Shabbat Service at Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge, Calif.




February 17, 2009

Dear Friend,

In the last week, we celebrated the holiday of Tu B'Shevat. It's a holiday that has been transformed over the centuries from a date in the fiscal calendar into a celebration of nature. It's kind of like we turned tax day into Earth Day--but with food.


Tu B'Shevat

Edmon J. Rodman found a Backyard Bounty for a Tu B'Shevat Seder near his California home.

Aaron Kagan created an interfaith celebration of Tu B'Shevat with local food--from Massachusetts in February! Read about his Tu B'Shevat: Interfaith Friendly, Jewish in Nature

shrimp cocktail platterBooks

Melissa Anthony shares what Judaism looks like to someone who grew up fundamentalist Christian in Doing Good Without Being Perfect: A Jewish Vision for Repairing the World.

Valentine's Day

Heather Brotman Seith tells the story of two medical students competing for the same ophthamology residency who wound up sharing their love for Star Trek, Chinese food and robot eyeballs in The Bus Schedule--A Love Story.



If you are or were a teen growing up in an interfaith family, you may relate to the stories in Holidaze, filmed by teens for teens. Learn more in Teens Take On the Jewish Holidays in Short Films, by Lindsey Silken.

Intercultural Interfaith Marriage

When Dan Koch proposed to Kamla in 1978, her parents had never met a Jew. Thank heavens for Fiddler on the Roof. Read more in Sikh and Jew: East Meets West.

Passover-Easter Survey

Take our Passover-Easter survey and enter to win a drawing for a $250 prize! We're closing it March 3, so take it now.


Love, Marriage, Communication

Mezuzah on the door? Crucifix on the wall? Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben knows that negotiating how  your house looks can be tough when you are in an interfaith relationship, so in our latest Rabbi Reuben's Ruminations: Religious Symbols in the Interfaith Home, presented in partnership with the Jewish TV Network, he tells you how to work it out.


It was Leah Oppenzato's Catholic partner Colleen who suggested that they raise their baby as a Jew. It's presented some interesting challenges to Leah's expectations in Raising a Jewish Child.

Sean PennArts and Entertainment

Nate Bloom gives us the lowdown on Interfaith Celebrities: Oscar Time 2009. Who do you think will win an Academy Award? Sean Penn is nominated for his work in Milk.


New On the Blogs

On The Hitch, IFF's wedding blog, Lula Jones figures out why the Jewish elements of her wedding are still bothering her in  Around and Around I Go.

On the IFF Network blog, Rabbi Lev Baesh talked about fee-for-service Judaism and the future of the community in Reconnect Jews Yearning for Connection.  Robin Schwartz wrote on  Jews Giving Hugs and Micah Sachs wrote about the movie Rachel Getting Married in A Wedding on Planet Obama.

If you have a Facebook account, we'd be thrilled if you followed our new IFF fan page. We're up to 232 fans. Excellent!



Ruth Abrams, Managing Editor


Write for Us!

We're looking for writers on the following topics:


  • Preparing for Purim in my interfaith family
  • Chicago, City of the Big Shoulders--and the friendly Jewish community
  • Interfaith parenting challenge: sharing both of our cultures without being confusing
  • Someone told my child he's not Jewish! Oy!
  • Easter and Passover overlap this year, and here's how we're coping
  • My family is supportive--to a point
  • Our quest for an interfaith-family-friendly rabbi in Atlanta | P.O. Box 428, Newton, MA 02464 | 617 581 6860 | | P.O. Box 428, Newton, MA 02464 | 617 581 6860 |

The spring holiday commemorating the Exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. The Hebrew name is "Pesach." Hebrew for "doorpost," it now refers to a small box containing a scroll (of the Hebrew text of the Shema prayer) which is affixed to the doorposts of Jewish homes. Strictly speaking, mezuzah only refers to the scroll itself, not the case in which it's housed. A member of the Jewish clergy who leads a congregation in songful prayer. ("Hazzan" in Hebrew.) Hebrew for "lots," referring to the lots cast by Haman, the story's antagonist, to determine the date on which to kill the Jewish people. It's a spring holiday commemorating the Jewish people's triumph. The story is told through the biblical Book of Esther; the namesake heroine, a Jewish woman, marries the Persian king. Their interfaith relationship is central to the story. 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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