Send to Friend  Bookmark  Print


Table of Contents


September 15, 2009

Dear Friend,


Happy New Year! Shanah Tovah! One thing I love about my job is the way it so often involves greetings and congratulations to people far and near. I often send emails to writers for the site who are getting married, just had a baby or had a child become bat mitzvah or bar mitzvah, and I get to congratulate them while I'm recruiting them to write about it.

It's sadder when people have sick family members or deaths in their families. This week our colleague Rabbi Lev Baesh's mother died very suddenly, and he's in our thoughts.

It's the time of year when we think about endings and beginnings. Many families have the custom of visiting the cemetery between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We take stock of the year that passed and hope for a good year to come, atoning for what came before and resolving to do better.

Visting the sickJewish Healing

Someone you know is ill, and other people are offering to pray for them. You aren't sure--do Jews do that? Are you allowed to pray in a synagogue for someone who isn't Jewish to get better? We wanted to make sure that people in interfaith families could connect with the traditional and new healing rituals that Jewish thinkers are bringing to the mainstream of Jewish life. Read more in  Marinell James' feature, Paging Dr. God: Jewish Views of Illness and Healing. She also provided us with a list of Jewish Healing Resources.

Shofar with pomegranatesRosh Hashanah

One of the sweetest stories I've seen on this site--and isn't that appropriate?--is Marina Williams' First Rosh Hashanah in Buenos Aires. Her boyfriend's family made her feel so welcome.

It's not at all traditional, but Jane Larkin's Rosh Hashanah Party for the New Year sounds like a fun thing for parents to try with their children.

Speaking of things to do with children and families, my friend asked me for a quick crash course on Rosh Hashanah home customs, so intead of emailing it to her I shared it on our site.

Mimi Dupree wrote about After the Book is Closed: Children's Books for the Fall Holidays. The new Rosh Hashanah book she read was great, but may pose some tricky questions for interfaith families.

We have republished the Guide to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for Interfaith Families as a web page, though you can also download it as a .pdf or a Word document.

Need a quick explanation of the holiday for your friends, family members or congregation? Karen Kushner and the Jewish Welcome Network shared High Holy Days: The Basics.



Both Sides of the FamilyOutreach

On the internet, when something is a bad mistake, we sometimes say it's "made of fail." You could definitely say that about a recent ad campaign in Israel, comparing Jews who intermarry to missing persons. Ed Case called it a Stupid, Ill-Conceived Approach from Israel.

On the other hand, we found a lot of Positive Examples of Jewish organizations doing outreach. One of them was Both Sides Now, the organization that is growing out of a play about the interfaith marriage experience, "Both Sides of the Family." Jeffrey Grover wrote about how it's developing into More than a Play.

Mélanie LaurentArts and Entertainment

 Hedi Molnar interviewed Jeremy Davidson about his deeply personal new film on the adult children of Holocaust survivors in Tickling Leo: A Tale of Love and Loss.

In Nate Bloom's latest column, Interfaith Celebrities: The 2009 Emmy Awards,  include some actors and directors with a lot of interfaith interconnections, all within six degrees of Kevin Bacon.

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


Ruth Abrams, Managing Editor



Write for Us!

We're looking for writers on the following topics:

  • How our interfaith family used Jewish resources to get us through a health crisis
  • Proud of my Jewish heritage--that I'm just discovering
  • My new synagogue floats my boat
  • My grandmother has some feelings about my engagement
  • The honeymoon is over--for my in-laws 
  • Holy moly, you learned that in Hebrew school? 
  • Her bat mitzvah rocked! I want one now.
  • Sukkot is my favorite time of year | P.O. Box 428, Newton, MA 02464 | 617 581 6860 |


Hebrew for "a good year," a typical greeting on Rosh Hashanah. Hebrew for "son of the commandments." In modern Jewish practice, Jewish boys come of age at 13. When a boy comes of age, he is officially a bar mitzvah and considered an adult. The term is commonly used as a short-hand for the bar mitzvah's coming-of-age ceremony and/or celebration. The female equivalent is "bat mitzvah." Hebrew for "daughter of the commandments." In modern Jewish practice, Jewish girls come of age at 12 or 13. When a girl comes of age, she is officially a bat mitzvah and considered an adult. The term is commonly used as a short-hand for the bat mitzvah's coming-of-age ceremony and/or celebration. The male equivalent is "bar mitzvah." 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. Derived from the Greek word for "assembly," a Jewish house of prayer. Synagogue refers to both the room where prayer services are held and the building where it occurs. In Yiddish, "shul." Reform synagogues are often called "temple." 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 "Booths," it's a fall holiday marking the harvest, like a Jewish Thanksgiving, complete with opportunities for dining and sleeping under the stars. 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.
Send to Friend  Bookmark  Print