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July 6, 2010 eNewsletter

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July 6, 2010

Dear friend,

The Reform movement has set the agenda for the Jewish world’s engagement of interfaith families for the last three decades. Its leader for half that time—Rabbi Eric Yoffie—recently announced he will retire in two years. He’s done a lot of good, but the movement’s record on outreach to interfaith families during his tenure has been decidedly mixed.

In the last two weeks, we’ve also written about experiencing Shabbat with friends, raising children in an interracial interfaith family and Elena Kagan, the next Jewish Supreme Court justice. And if you haven't taken our User Survey, do so soon for a chance to win a $100 American Express giftcard.


We hear from many young couples that they would like to “do (something) Jewish” with their group of friends. So in partnership with our friends at Stepping Stones, we created a new Resource Guide, A Shabbat Experience For Your Group of Friends (and Family).

Interfaith Marriage

Should you have your wedding in a temple, a church or a "neutral" site? A rabbi, a priest, both or none? In A Catholic Priest’s Perspective on Interfaith Marriage, Father Walter Cuenin reminds us that the wedding is only one day. There are more important issues to consider first.

"I’m not advocating intermarriage. What I’m saying is that intermarriage is here. It’s here to stay. Let’s make it work for us, rather than against us," said Edgar Bronfman. I couldn’t agree more.

Read how one Presbyterian dad made Judaism work for his family--and himself--in Confessions of a Non-Jewish Insider, by John Blumers.


He was raised a Jewish atheist eating burritos for Passover. In college, he began exploring his religion, and liked what he found. He also started dating an Episcopalian from Alabama. She’s on board with having a Jewish household, but what about their families? Read more in Taking the Plunge, by Andrew Glatter.

Raising Children in an Interfaith Family

What do you do the first time your child comes home and says, "Everyone says my hair is fuzzy?" Debbie Popiel White, the Sephardic Jewish mother of a black daughter, attempts to answer the question in Yes, You Can Be Black AND Jewish. She also offers a list of helpful books for multiracial interfaith families.

Tablet's Elizabeth Cohen two other intermarried women who raise their children as Jews—with no support from their non-Jewish husbands. Sad? Yes. Representative of interfaith families? Hardly.

Arts and Entertainment (and more)

Elena Kagan has a great sense of humor, but in this age of ubiquitous interfaith families, she should know that not all Jews spend Christmas at Chinese restaurants. Not even close.

The CNN shuffle continues: serial bridegroom Larry King is leaving his show after 25 years, while the intermarried Eliot Spitzer is taking over the time slot currently occupied by Campbell Brown, a convert to Judaism. Read more in Nate Bloom's latest Interfaith Celebrities column.

Saying Goodbye

I want to thank Ruth Abrams for the many, many contributions she made to as managing editor. She is here until July 31, and we wish her only the best in her future endeavors. 

We're Hiring

We're seeking a new managing editor. You can view the job description here, and please spread the word about our search. We will continue to publish during the transition. Please email for any communication about our content.

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Hebrew for "repairing the world," a goal of the Jewish covenant with God. Of the culture of Jews with family origins in Spain, Portugal or North Africa. The spring holiday commemorating the Exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. The Hebrew name is "Pesach." Hebrew for "fellowship," a lay-led group that meets for Shabbat or holiday prayer services, life cycle events, and/or Jewish learning or discussion. A member of the Jewish clergy who leads a congregation in songful prayer. ("Hazzan" in Hebrew.) 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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