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September 28, 2010 eNewsletter

Dear friend,

Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben wrote a perceptive essay for us years ago arguing that the High Holidays are the worst time of the year for unaffiliated Jews or interfaith families to be introduced to the Jewish world. He said Jews and non-Jews alike find the images of God as the "Divine Judge" and the prayers which ask "Who shall live and who shall die" difficult to relate to and disconnected from their own search for meaning, purpose and personal growth.

Which is too bad, considering some of the most enjoyable, accessible ways to "do Jewish stuff" follow only a few days after Yom Kippur. Currently, I'm enjoying the relaxed, autumnal feel of Sukkot, which is celebrated by having meals in an outdoor booth under the stars. Simchat Torah comes as soon as Sukkot ends, marking the end of one yearlong cycle of reading the Torah and celebrating the start of a new cycle.

If you're trying to figure out how to "do Jewish stuff" in your interfaith family's life, I invite you to sign up for Love and Religion - Online, a four-session online workshop facilitated by Dr. Marion Usher of the Washington DC Jewish Community Center. To learn more and to register, click here.

And if you'd like to support's work to make everyday a great time of the year for interfaith families to be introduced to Judaism, please vote for me as a Jewish Community Hero. If you've done it before, please do it again! Voting closes next Friday, Oct. 8.†

weddingInterfaith Identity

When Juliet Stamperdahl married a non-Jewish man from Norway, she imagined she could isolate her hypothetical children from their dad's background. That didn't work?thank God.

A high school student from an interfaith family struggles to find a form of Jewish practice that makes sense for her values, her needs?and her reservations. Read more in Affirming My Jewish Identity in America, by Lily Shaffer.

Birth Ceremonies

Their baby daughter was Jewish by Reform standards, but the Grossmans wanted to make sure there were no questions about her legitimacy. It's unfortunate that interfaith families have to worry about such things, but their child's conversion ceremony at Mayyim Hayyim, a community mikvah in Massachusetts, was beautiful nonetheless.


Eli Roth, the "bear Jew" from Inglourious Basterds, celebrates Yom Kippur with his sweetie, Peaches Geldof, and Nate Bloom also runs down all the Jewish players in the NFL in the latest edition of Interfaith Celebrities.

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

Hebrew for "Joy of Torah," a fall holiday that celebrates the completion of the yearlong Torah cycle and the commencement of a new one. 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 for "collection," referring to the "collection of water," is a bath used for the purpose of ritual immersion in Judaism. Today it is used as part of the traditional procedure for converting to Judaism, by Jews who follow the laws of ritual (body) purity, and sometimes for making kitchen utensils kosher. 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.
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