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electronic newsletter 8-19-09

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Featured Events and Organizations from Our Network

The 92nd Street Y

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A proudly Jewish institution that reaches out to people of every race, ethnicity, religion, age and economic class, the 92nd Street Y provides world-renowned arts programming to the people of New York.





August 19, 2009

Dear Friend,

Today begins the Hebrew month of Elul, the month that precedes Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Some people use this month to prepare themselves spiritually for the high holidays as a season of repentance and renewal. I have been thinking ahead to the New Year and wondering what happens when Talk Like a Pirate Day Falls on Rosh Hashanah?

If you are looking for ways to gear up for the new year during Elul--aside from talking like a pirate, of course--don't forget Jewels of Elul, now in its fifth year. You can read a different inspirational message for every day of the month from some thinkers and writers whose work is very hot right now.

internet datingInterfaith Dating

What do you do when your mom wants you to marry someone Jewish--and you live in a city where there are only 6,000 Jews? Paula Kirman tells you all about it in Small Community, Big Problems: What's a Jewish Girl to Do?



beet borschtJewish Resources

We know you liked our Jewish Holiday Cheat Sheet--it's one of the most popular articles on our site-- so we decided to create A Jewish Food Cheat Sheet (and a companion piece, Understanding Jewish Food Traditions). I would say it's everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask but I realize I could never tell you everything you wanted to know about food. And please, don't be afraid to ask, and to comment with suggestions and more information!

cute babyConversion

Converting adopted children is a touchy subject in some communities. We republished a beautiful personal reflection on The Dilemmas and Delights of Raising Lilly by Robin Sedman.

Sometimes we put so much energy into the "Who is a Jew?" question that we don't ask "Who shouldn't be a Jew?" Rebecca Dube asks Can Someone Be Too Evil To Convert?

young man in 20sResearch

Are people in interfaith families More Secular? Or More Spiritual? Ed Case reflects on the results of two recent studies that seem to contradict each other.

A  doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY) has asked that we publicize her research project on Jews ages 18 to 29 and their parents. She is looking for participants for an on-line research study survey about their values, beliefs, and current stage of life. All answers will be confidential and your identity can be anonymous if you wish. 

drafting a letterWeddings

We thank Rabbi Daniel Zemel for sharing a letter to his congregants explaining how and why he changed his position on officiating at interfaith weddings.

The Canadian Jewish community is reaching out to the growing number of intermarried couples in Canada--and they are also talking about officiation, as Ed Cast reports.

Orange and purple flowersInterfaith Families and the Jewish Community

Marlena Thompson worked for the local Jewish day school for 15 years, and wrote the Judaica curriculum that helped them gain accreditation. She was surprised to learn that some parents did not consider her A Good Role Model because she was intermarried.

A new article about Ed Stafman,an intermarried rabbi who just took a pulpit in Montana, prompted Ed Case to further comment on Rabbinical School and the Interfaith Marriage.

When she agreed to raise Jewish children in the Conservative movement, Debbie Burton knew they would have to convert. It was a difficult experience, as she explains in A Tale of Two Immersions.

Andrea Baran made a conscious decision not to convert even though she was participating in the Jewish community, in Is Conversion Necessary for Acceptance? Choosing to Participate in an Interfaith Havurah.

Tom arnoldArts and Entertainment

It has been 40 years since Woodstock, and Jewish producers, musicians, farmers and their relatives are all writing books and making movies. Nate Bloom shares The Hidden Jewish History of Woodstock.

All the literary critics love his best-selling memoir, but he's still discovering his full identity, Eric Herschthal discovered in It's All Part of My Heritage: A Profile of Said Sayrafiezadeh.

Come join our Network to get a feed of the articles that interest you most!


Ruth Abrams, Managing Editor



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  • Treat my spouse with respect!
  • You have to buy tickets? High holiday surprises.
  • The Jewish holidays are just like ... well, no, they aren't like the holidays I grew up with.
  • Yes, I take off for the holidays, even though I don't have a Jewish name
  • Picking a religious school for my child--even though I never went
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Hebrew for "Head of the Year," the Jewish New Year. With Yom Kippur, known as the High Holy Days. 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. 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 "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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