RCPP Newsletter March 2012
Resource Center for Program Professionals Update
Dear InterfaithFamily.com Network Professionals,
One of the most observed Jewish holidays, Passover, will be here in a short month. With a famous movie and a Broadway play about the Exodus, most people know the story of Moses and Pharaoh. What most people don't realize is the one chosen by God to confront Pharaoh, the one who was chosen to receive God's law on Mt. Sinai, was married to Zipporah, the daughter of a Midianite priest, when he first saw the burning bush and heard the voice of God. Yes, another biblical interfaith marriage!
You can highlight their relationship, and Zipporah raising Jewish children, as you create programming for the interfaith couples and families in your communities:
- Imagine Zipporah, on her way to Egypt with Moses, bringing her son into the covenant by circumcising him herself! What an extraordinary example of a mom who is not Jewish making sure that her child is Jewish. Don't keep this story hidden (Exodus 4: 24).
- Later, God encourages Moses to accept the help of his father-in-law Jethro, the Midianite priest. Why not organize an evening that honors the good advice of fathers-in-law and specifically invites those who are not Jewish? It is always a good idea to welcome those extended family members who are not Jewish and let them know that the Jewish community welcomes them and appreciates their support.
- Or you could write a bulletin article or share a sermon about the good advice of those in your community who are not formally Jewish but who have chosen the Jewish community as their home. Highlight the many contributions of those who give time, money, energy and passion as they journey with their partners and children.
Here are some other ideas that will help those who are newer to Judaism and Jewish culture to enjoy the holiday:
- Organize an evening of Passover music! Those who have grown up with Passover can share the tunes and words of the songs they know. Or you can bring recordings and sheet music for new versions of old songs. Make sure you explicitly invite those who are not Jewish and those who are new to Jewish culture in your advertisement, so no one stays home thinking they are not welcome.
- Make the Oneg Shabbat and the Kiddush on March 30 and 31st be a "hametz –aria." Create a long list of hametz and encourage everyone to bring their cookies, crackers, cakes and other hametz to share as a part of their removing all hametz from their homes.
Some organizations will be hosting community seders that introduce the basics of the Haggadah, but there will be many who will appreciate a refresher. InterfaithFamily.com offers you videos: one that shows how to assemble a seder plate and a second with a child reading the four questions that, paired with this audio clip, can help any child (or adult) feel well prepared.
This is only a sampling of the many resources on our Passover Resource Page.
We've encouraged you to make your organization a member of the InterfaithFamily.com Network and many of you have followed through. (For those ready to list your organization now, let me know and I will walk you through the simple instructions.) You promote your events and activities to individuals and families of all backgrounds, including interfaith couples and families, by listing your events on the Network and you have followed our suggestions for creating a welcoming website. Hooray for making your welcome so explicit!
Now we have an easy, visual way to instantly show all the visitors to your organizations' website that you are a welcoming institution! You can add the InterfaithFamily Organizational Affiliate Badge to your website's homepage. Please do so today and demonstrate your welcome even more. Click here to check out the badge and get instructions on how to put it on your site.
Here is some content that you can easily cut and paste into a message for your congregants, pointing out some of the many resources at InterfaithFamily.com.
With one month to go, it is time to start thinking about coming out of Egypt. Don't make the Passover/Easter weekend be your personal time of slavery. Begin planning early to make whatever you do easier. Will you host a seder at your home on April 6 or 7? Or will you be at the home of family or friends? What changes would you like to include this year? Will you be hosting or joining family and friends for Easter on Sunday the 8th?
Do you want tips to make your seder more inclusive?
Are you looking for new Passover recipes?
Maybe you just are looking for some ideas to enliven your seder.
And for the many families in our community who wonder how to join the Easter celebration of cousins or grandparents on April 8, this article gives some useful suggestions from the experience of interfaith couples.
And join the Passover and Easter discussion board at InterfaithFamly.com to share your thoughts and ideas and read the creative solutions of our many writers.
Please consider printing and displaying our Passover booklet, Setting the Passover Table Made Easy in your lobby. It could easily be the curriculum of a workshop or class, or a gift to religious school or pre-school parents. Let's make it easy for all who want to know more about this wonderful holiday find a comfortable place at the seder table.
And do encourage your congregants to join the InterfaithFamily.com Network to take advantage of all our resources.
Chief Education Officer