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July 20, 2010 eNewsletter

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Temple Shalom

Temple Shalom, a Reform congregation in Dallas, welcomes intermarried couples, Jews-by-choice, converts and anyone exploring Judaism.


July 20, 2010

Dear friend,

The big buzz in the Jewish world is the impending marriage of the offspring of one of the most prominent women in American politics. No, not Bristol Palin. We're talking about Chelsea Clinton, who is marrying Marc Mezvinsky July 31 in New York. Read my blog post for a discussion of the issues surrounding the wedding—and the mystery of who will officiate. Offer your advice to newly intermarried couples on our new discussion board.

The last two weeks have also seen a revival of policy debates on intermarriage, as well as the unveiling of our guide to Jewish greetings.

marriageJewish Know-How

So you're comfortable enough with "Shalom!" and "Mazel tov!" But what do you say at a Jewish funeral? At a High Holidays service? Ruth Abram's new Jewish Greetings Cheat Sheet can help.

If you know someone observing the fast for Tisha B'Av today, the traditional greeting is--no greeting, because it's a day of mourning. For more on Tisha B'Av, read Fast for the Body, Food for the Spirit, by Marinell James.

marriageIntermarriage and the Jewish Community

A new study by Dr. Steven Cohen claims that intermarried couples feel as welcome at Jewish institutions as their Jewish counterparts. The real challenge, he says, is improving their level of "Jewish competence"—if you don't know Hebrew at Yom Kippur, how comfortable can you be? He's right about the competence part, but wrong about the welcoming.

Meanwhile, Dr. Jennifer Thompson's research has shown that non-Jewish women who raise their children Jewish show a dedication to the cause, regardless of their husbands' commitment. Read more in Because Their Children Are Jewish.

Speaking of welcoming, Heather Martin ponders whether the very hip Rev. Vicki Weinstein (of the blog Beauty Tips for Ministers) might have ended up Jewish if the Jewish community had been more welcoming to her intermarried parents.

weddingIsrael and Conversion

The government of Israel is considering legislation that would give the Chief Rabbinate veto power over the ability of converts from outside Israel to become citizens of the Jewish state. Giving the Chief Rabbinate say over international conversions is not in the interests of interfaith families, or anyone who supports a pluralistic vision of Judaism. We urge everyone to send an email to Israel's government expressing their opposition.


After going on a Birthright Israel trip, Cheryl Glantz Nail was certain she was going to marry someone Jewish. Things change. Learn how she adapted the wedding ceremony to serve her needs and those of her husband, the agnostic son of a Presbyterian minister in Out of Many Beliefs, One Ceremony.

half-JewishInterfaith Identity

Many young people from interfaith families define themselves as "half-Jewish," but the Jewish community often doesn't know what to do with them. Benjamin Greene writes about his recent study of half-Jews on Facebook in Half-Jewish: Starting a Wholesome Conversation.


In the Huffington Post, Kate Fridkis argues that you can raise your children Jewish and Christian at the same time. At, we think that's unworkable—and theologically incoherent.

marriageJuly 4

Rabbi Barbara Aiello explains why July 4 isn't just a day for barbecues and fireworks, but a time to celebrate how Jews have benefited from—and contributed to—America's strength. Read more in The Fourth of July: A Jewish Holiday.

Chelsea ClintonArts and Entertainment

Nate Bloom offers his take on the upcoming Clinton-Mezvinsky nuptials, plus a Tweet-war between one-time potential Jew-by-choice Lindsay Lohan and the grand Jewish dame of put-downs, Joan Rivers.

Join our Network to get a feed of the articles that interest you most--and events in your area, too.


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An international program that sends thousands of young Jews to Israel each year for free. 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. Hebrew and Yiddish for "good luck," a phrase used to express congratulations for happy and significant occasions. 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.
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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