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August 3, 2010 eNewsletter

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Jewish Community Association of Austin

The mission of the Jewish Community Association of Austin is to enhance the quality of Jewish life in the greater Austin, Texas, area.The JCCA is located at the Dell JCC on Hart Lane in North Austin.

August 3, 2010

Dear friend,

Mazel tov, Chelsea and Marc (as well as Bill and Hillary, and Marc's parents Ed and Marjorie)! The country's most famous interfaith couple was married Saturday in a lovely ceremony co-officiated by Rabbi James Ponet, of the Yale Hillel, and Rev. William Shillady, a Methodist minister. We were thrilled to see Jewish traditions play such a prominent role. 

Prior to the ceremony, I shared ideas on what the wedding might look like, in The Huffington Post and The Washington Post. The occasion was a great opportunity for those in the Jewish community—and the American community at large—to reflect on the meaning, value and challenges of interfaith marriage. I wrote about Rabbi Irwin Kula's wonderful essay arguing for the need for religious institutions to adapt to the changing realities of American relationships and spirituality. Keep watching the IFF Network Blog for more on the impact and meaning of the wedding.

The last two weeks, we've had resources and articles covering the whole life cycle of the interfaith family. From deciding on how to raise the children to planning a coming-of-age ceremony to grandparenting, our content covered the range of issues--and opportunities--that Chelsea and her extended family will face.

weddingInterfaith Marriage

Peggy Dorf never thought she'd marry a non-Jewish man. But at 39, she was about to. She just wasn't sure how the conversation with her future mother-in-law was going to go. Read more in The Blessing of Two Mothers.


Before they got married, Susanna Perrett and her fiancé had to answer a big question: in what religion should they raise their children? Susanna knew it was a potential deal-breaker. Fifteen years later, she doesn't regret their decision.

Amidst my disagreements with Dr. Steven Cohen over his conclusions from his study on Jewish camping, there are many nuggets of positive advice for camps aiming to connect with interfaith families.

Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah

At the Bar Mitzvah 101 class, Beth and Mark were urged to remember that the spiritual aspect was more important than their daughter's party. That was a problem. Mark only went to temple on the High Holidays and she had been raised Methodist. Lois Rubin writes how they found meaning in this unfamiliar ceremony in Bar and Bat Mitzvah Planning for Interfaith Families.


We've compiled some of our best, most thoughtful articles on interfaith grandparenting into a discussion guide. Whether you're a Jewish grandparent, a grandparent of another faith or the child of a grandparent, Your Children's Children: A Grandparenting Discussion Packet may help you reflect on what it means to be the grandparent of children from an interfaith family.

Death and Mourning

Interfaith families are a growing presence in Reform and Conservative congregations, but many Jewish cemeteries still don't allow for the burial of non-Jewish partners. How do you square the wishes of the dead with the needs of the living? Josh Nathan-Katzis investigates, in Cemeteries Are Becoming New Challenge for Interfaith Families.

Popular Culture

When Nate Bloom interviewed her for us three years ago, interfaith actress Amanda Bynes was on a career roll. Things haven't turned out quite as she planned. Read more in Interfaith Celebrities: Amanda Bynes Un-Retires at 24, Rich Rags Mel.

Winner of the $250 Drawing

Congratulations to Naomi Klein, from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, who won the drawing for a $250 American Express giftcard for people who filled out our clergy officiation request form between Jan. 1 and June 30.

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

The Jewish High Holidays start early this year (Rosh Hashanah begins the evening of Sept. 8). We'll start sharing holiday-related materials on Aug. 16. As always, our High Holidays page is available year-round.


Edmund Case, CEO | P.O. Box 428, Newton, MA 02464 | 617 581 6860 |


Hebrew for "Head of the Year," the Jewish New Year. With Yom Kippur, known as the High Holy Days. 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.) 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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