What Moved Me in the New Year

I hope your Jewish holidays this year were good. Despite all of the bad news in the world, my holidays were excellent. They ended with the first grade consecration of my oldest grandchild on erev Simchat Torah at Temple Sinai in Brookline, Massachusetts. The rabbi had all of the children present at the service sit […]

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Positive Outlooks Greet the New Year

This post originally appeared on www.edumundcase.com and is reprinted with permission. The discussion about Conservative rabbis officiating for interfaith couples has quieted, other than a terrible piece by one of the Cohen Center’s own researchers, that I blogged about separately. I’d rather focus on the positive responses to intermarriage as the High Holidays approach, and fortunately […]

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Objective Social Science?

This post originally appeared on www.edumundcase.com and is reprinted with permission. Michelle Shain, a researcher at the Cohen Center at Brandeis, has written a very damaging article about the Cohen Center’s game-changing study, Under the Chuppah: Rabbinic Officiation and Intermarriage, about which I’ve said, “The many rabbis who don’t officiate at weddings of interfaith couples because they think […]

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The Conservative Officiation Debate Continues

This post originally appeared on www.edumundcase.com and is reprinted with permission. The media buzz about Conservative rabbis and officiation at weddings of interfaith couples has slowed, but there has been important commentary in the past three weeks. The rabbis of the Jewish Emergent Network – certainly among the most progressive younger rabbis in the country – expressed solidarity with Rabbi Amichai […]

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Inside Intermarriage: A Christian Partner’s Journey Raising a Jewish Family

This post originally appeared on www.edumundcase.com and is reprinted with permission. August 1, 2017 is the publication date for the new version of Jim Keen’s Inside Intermarriage: A Christian Partner’s Journey Raising a Jewish Family. I was honored to write the foreword to this one-of-a-kind book: the warm, personal, light-hearted but very serious story of a Protestant man […]

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More Shifting Ground

This post originally appeared on www.edumundcase.com and is reprinted with permission. It’s been busy the past two weeks. As Shmuel Rosner just pointed out, since his original article a month ago, “The volume of writing on Jewish interfaith marriage in America is high.” Rosner had said that in the absence of definitive studies or any consensus, the debate […]

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Remembering Jonathan Woocher

This post originally appeared on www.edumundcase.com and is reprinted with permission. Editor’s note: InterfaithFamily is heartbroken over the recent loss of longtime supporter Jonathan Woocher. He made an incredible and lasting impact on our organization and the greater Jewish community for which we are forever grateful. The Jewish world has lost a truly remarkable leader with the death […]

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The Flip-Side: Positive News About Intermarriage

This post originally appeared on www.edumundcase.com and is reprinted with permission. Alongside the negative comment about officiation in the Conservative world, there has been some positive commentary and news about officiation and interfaith marriage. Leave it to Rabbi Keara Stein, director of InterfaithFamily/Los Angeles, to provide a much-needed perspective on how rabbis asked to officiate are actually helping interfaith couples. […]

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The Jewish Wedding Now

This post originally appeared on www.edumundcase.com and is reprinted with permission. I don’t have any weddings in sight – my children are married and I’ve been married for 43 years myself. Nevertheless, I loved reading Anita Diamant’s The Jewish Wedding Now. I’m most interested of course in interfaith couples, and highly recommend The New Jewish Wedding to […]

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The Interfaith Marriage Debate Escalates

This post originally appeared on www.edumundcase.com and is reprinted with permission. There’s been an explosion of news and comment about intermarriage in the past 10 days. On June 11 I blogged about Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie’s big reveal that he would officiate for interfaith couples who were the modern-day equivalents of the ger toshav, the “resident alien” who […]

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More Conservative News and Debate, and June Round-up

This post originally appeared on www.edumundcase.com and is reprinted with permission There’s been a steady stream of intermarriage news related to the Conservative movement. In April Rabbi Seymour Rosenbloom, an emeritus rabbi who we’ve applauded before, who was expelled from the Rabbinical Assembly because he officiated for interfaith couples, was published in the Washington Post: I performed an intermarriage. […]

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How Audacious Will Our Hospitality to Interfaith Families Be?

This post originally appeared eJewishPhilanthropy and also appears on www.edumundcase.com and is reprinted with permission I applauded in 2013 when Rabbi Rick Jacobs announced the Reform movement’s audacious hospitality initiative, and again in 2015 when my colleague April Baskin was appointed to lead it. But the recent release of the Audacious Hospitality Toolkit surfaces a deep question: just how audacious will […]

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Meeting People Where They Are

This post originally appeared on www.edumundcase.com and is reprinted with permission Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove, a leading Conservative rabbi whose essay in March explained why he thought Conservative rabbis should continue to not officiate at weddings of interfaith couples, has a new essay arguing that “the Conservative movement should be the movement of conversion.” He wants to “meet […]

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Hybrid Identity, Every Person Counts, Shifting Boundaries and Intermarriage on TV

This post originally appeared on www.edumundcase.com and is reprinted with permission Rabbi Darren Kleinberg has written a very important essay published in eJewishPhilanthropy this week, Hybrid Judaism: The Transformation of American Jewish Identity. Kleinberg was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi in 2005 but describes himself as no longer Orthodox. He writes that identity is not a psychological […]

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Where Might Interfaith Families Find Welcoming Jewish Communities?

This post originally appeared on www.edumundcase.com and is reprinted with permission News in the past few weeks highlights the issue of where interfaith families might find genuinely welcoming Jewish communities. First, I was so pleased to learn that Rev. Eleanor Harrison Bregman and Peter Bregman are being honored by Romemu, a thriving emerging spiritual community in Manhattan […]

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Change Afoot in the More “Conservative” Communities

This post originally appeared on www.edumundcase.com and is reprinted with permission It’s been quiet on the intermarriage front for a while; it feels like most people’s attention is understandably in the political realm these days. But in the past two weeks there has been interesting news and comment on intermarriage in the more traditional, conservative parts of […]

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Late 2016 Round-up: Major Convening, Major Research… What’s Next?

The following blog post has been reprinted with permission from Edmund Case, Founder of InterfaithFamily: edmundcase.com. I think it’s safe to say that we would all have to agree that an awful lot has happened in the past two months. That includes developments in the field of engaging interfaith families Jewishly, which I summarize here. […]

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Will Jews Ever Normalize “Non-Jews” [a Term We Don’t Like to Use] and Marrying Them

I had a very interesting day yesterday. It started with a phone interview with a graduate student in journalism writing a story about Jewish-Muslim relationships. She had a Jewish parent and a Muslim parent herself, and was involved with a group of young Jewish-Muslim couples. She told me that some of them had decided to […]

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Remembering Arthur Obermayer

InterfaithFamily lost a very dear friend, and the broader Jewish world an outstanding leader, when Arthur Obermayer died yesterday. I’m not sure what Arthur is best known for in the Jewish world. It could be the Obermayer German-Jewish History Awards, given annually to several Germans (not Jewish themselves) to recognize their efforts to preserve Jewish […]

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Positive News from the Millennial Children of Intermarriage Study

Theodore Sasson and his colleagues at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis released this week an important new study, Millennial Children of Intermarriage, funded by the Alan B. Slifka Foundation. The study reports that millennial children of intermarriage – born between 1981 and 1995 – are less likely than children of inmarriage […]

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Why We Should Accept Rabbis Who Intermarry

In a Forward editorial today, Jane Eisner says we should expect a rabbi to raise his or her children in a Jewish home, to maintain that home as the most sacred place in the Jewish eco-system. The fallacy in her argument is her assumption that intermarried rabbis would not do so. People who seek to […]

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Vitality or Decline?

Today’s Statement on Jewish Vitality, advocating strategic responses to respond to the challenges of the Jewish future, is extremely disheartening for what it says and what it doesn’t say about interfaith families. Twenty-five years after continuity efforts began, it is still the case that most of our Jewish thought leaders, exemplified by those who signed […]

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Bravo Reconstructionists!

The Reconstructionist movement has once again led the way to a more inclusive Judaism by taking the bold step to accept and graduate rabbinic students who are intermarried or in committed relationships with partners who are not Jewish. The main argument advanced against ordaining intermarried rabbis is that rabbis should serve as role models for […]

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Do Intermarried American Jews Support Israel?

In an article in Ha’aretz, Michael Oren: New book meant to enlist American Jews to fight Iran deal, Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the US, has launched a PR tour for his new book “Ally,” which according to press reports addresses President Obama’s attitudes and positions towards Israel. One of Oren’s comments as reported […]

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Choosing Love and Family at a B’nei Mitzvah

I’ve been to a lot of bar and bat mitzvahs in my life, but I’ve never been so deeply moved as I was on a recent Shabbat. My cousin, Nancy Sharp, who I’ve always adored, has experienced a life of tragic loss and re-found joy. Her husband, Brett, who I remember vividly as a most […]

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Mazel Tov, Michael Douglas – and Our Cause

Today was a very big day for everyone who wants to see interfaith families engage in Jewish life and community. As we previously covered in a post in January and another in April, the Genesis Prize Fund had announced that it was awarding its $1 million annual prize to Michael Douglas in order to emphasize […]

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TransJewish?

Does the huge conversation about Rachel Dolezal, who resigned as president of the Spokane, WA, chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People after it was revealed that she identified as African-American while her parents are White, have any relevance to efforts to engage interfaith families in Jewish life and community? I’m […]

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What the Term “Interfaith Family” Means

Today on eJewishPhilanthropy, Allison McMillan wrote an important piece, “Intermarried, Not Interfaith.” Her husband was an atheist when they met, had no religious connection to any holidays, is exploring Jewish traditions quite extensively, and has decided not to convert, in her words, “at least not right now.” She says their biggest issue is that they […]

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Three Voices from the Conservative Movement

In March Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky, a Conservative rabbi at Ansche Chesed in Manhattan, explaining “Why I Will Not Simply Accept Intermarriage,” wrote for the Forward that “Celebrating interfaith weddings… [would] diminish a sacred covenantal tradition, and risk making liberal Judaism into a jumble of traditional gestures that might please individuals but demand nothing from them.” […]

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You’re One of Us

Steven M. Cohen and Rabbi Joy Levitt have written an extremely important op-ed for JTA: “If You Marry a Jew, You’re One of Us.” For the past 14 years, we at InterfaithFamily have been advocating for Jews to welcome, embrace and fully include interfaith couples and families into Jewish life and community. We have always […]

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Transition Time

March 31, 2015 is a big day in my life and the life of InterfaithFamily, the organization I founded in 2001 and have led for the last fourteen years: Jodi Bromberg, IFF’s President for the last year and a half, will become CEO, and I will transition to a new Founder role. I hasten to […]

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Shifts in the Conservative Movement

There was an important JTA article yesterday about a prominent Conservative rabbi who reportedly floated the idea of officiating at weddings of interfaith couples – something Conservative rabbis are prohibited from doing by their association, the Rabbinical Assembly – and then reportedly reversed course. Since InterfaithFamily started operating thirteen years ago, we have always taken […]

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The Ever-Renewing People

Chip Edelsberg, executive director of the Jim Joseph Foundation, and Jason Edelstein published a very important essay today in Mosaic. The title is The Ever-Renewing People and the sub-heading aptly summarizes the essay: “Jewish life in America is actually flourishing, thanks in part to the energy of children of intermarriage.” It’s a response to another hand-wringing condemnation […]

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Birthright Israel and Intermarriage

[This piece, by Edmund Case and Jodi Bromberg, was published in eJewishPhilathropy on September 11, 2014.] Taglit-Birthright Israel may well be the most effective program ever designed and implemented to strengthen Jewish engagement among young Jews. A just-released study confirms many positive impacts of Birthright Israel on marriage and family choices. At InterfaithFamily we greatly […]

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Our Thoughts on Israel

Like everyone in the Jewish world, we at InterfaithFamily are deeply concerned about recent developments in Israel. IFF does not take positions on the Israel-Palestinian issue, what the Israeli government or the Palestinian authorities should or shouldn’t do. We have staff and stakeholders who represent different views on this highly charged topic. We do feel […]

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Remembering My Mother

My mother, Beatrice Case, died one week ago, on March 16, 2014. She was 95 and had been remarkably healthy until just two months ago. She was a much-loved woman, especially by my 97-year-old father with whom she shared 72 years of marriage. My dad says his “secret” for a long and happy marriage is […]

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More Debate

Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, a very eminent Jewish scholar and leader, has the next say in the “promoting in-marriage” debate, with The Facts On In-Marriage Advantages. He says we should engage in “truth telling” with that they will increase their chances of having Jewishly engaged children if they marry other Jews. We were heartened to see […]

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Kudos and For Shame

As we mentioned last week, the “let’s promote in-marriage” debate has reignited, and we weighed in with Promote Jewish Engagement, Not In-Marriage. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Reform movement, has weighed in with an important op-ed on JTA, Outreach to Interfaith Families Strengthens the Jewish Future. We offer kudos for thoughts like this: While […]

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Debate Reignited

A group of “concerned Jews” in response to the Pew survey propose to take concerted action to encourage Jewish leaders to encourage in-marriage. Julie Wiener writes that “the intermarriage debate” has “reignited” in a JTA article that was picked up by the Forward. Jodi Bromberg, InterfaithFamily’s new President, and I wrote an op-ed for eJewishPhilanthropy, […]

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It Happens In the Best of Families

There’s an uproar in Israel because a son of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is dating a Norwegian woman who is not Jewish. Daniel Treiman at JTA reports that some religious Knesset members are voicing dismay at the “big problem” of the son of the Prime Minister possibly intermarrying. Almost every public statement that comes out […]

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Bad Attitudes from Jewish Journalists

In an unfortunate convergence, some of the leading Jewish journalists have almost simultaneously published more counter-productive negative messages about intermarriage. The first piece is by Gary Rosenblatt of the New York Jewish Week. Here is the letter to the editor I just submitted: I applaud Rabbi Rick Jacobs’ comments at the URJ Biennial and to […]

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Thank You and Good Luck to Jennifer Gorovitz

We were sorry to learn that Jennifer Gorovitz will be stepping down as CEO of the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund. Most of the commentary has focused appropriately on the small number of women who have lead federations – Jennifer was the first woman to head a large city Federation in North […]

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He Will Be Missed: Remembering Edgar M. Bronfman, Sr.

All of us at InterfaithFamily are mourning the loss of Edgar Bronfman, who died last night. Edgar had a powerful wonderful personal impact on our organization. He was a true pioneer and visionary for the cause of engaging interfaith families in Jewish life and community. As early as 2004, we reprinted an article from the […]

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We’re Expanding to Boston!

We are very pleased to announce that, thanks to a generous new grant partnership with Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston, InterfaithFamily will be launching InterfaithFamily/Boston this fall. This will be our fourth InterfaithFamily/Your Community, joining Chicago, Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay Area in our growing network of local community programs. InterfaithFamily/Boston will have a […]

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Opening the Gates

Leading up to and during my vacation there have been three big intermarriage stories in the media. They all revolve around whether, and how, Jewish communities are going to open their gates and draw in interfaith couples and families. First came a JTA story by Uriel Heilman, The War Against Intermarriage Has Been Lost. Now […]

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Embrace Gay Married Jews but not Intermarried Jews? I Don’t Think So

There is a pretty offensive article on the Forward today, Why Intermarriage Poses Threat to Jewish Life – But Gay Marriage Doesn’t. It’s by Yoel Finkelman, a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and like most Israeli commentators, he doesn’t understand liberal Jewish life and community in the US. Finkelman says that liberal American Jewry […]

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More on Ordaining Intermarried Rabbis

Kudos to Paul Golin, associate executive director of the Jewish Outreach Institute, for a powerful contribution to the debate over ordaining intermarried rabbis: What Intermarried Rabbis Can Teach Us. Building on Rabbi Ellen Lippman’s inter-partnered rabbi’s perspective, that we’ve blogged about before, Paul adds his own very important perspective: Rabbis with nontraditional families like my […]

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A Plea to Ordain Intermarried Rabbis

Ellen Lippman, rabbi of Kolot Chayeinu in Brooklyn, has an important contribution in today’s Forward to the debate about admitting and ordaining as rabbis people in interfaith relationships, an issue we’ve blogged about frequently. In an “open letter” to her alma mater, Hebrew Union College, Rabbi Lippman, who is partnered with a person who is […]

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What Chelsea Clinton Loves about Judaism

There is a great short podcast on the Jewish United Fund’s website with an interview of Chelsea Clinton, who spoke at the Women’s Division Spring Event 2013. Cindy Sher, the terrific editor of the JUF News, makes a great initial comment: “you became a member of the extended Jewish family when you married your husband […]

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Are Interfaith Families Included in Inclusive Philanthropy?

I wrote a piece for eJewishPhilanthropy that was published today. It’s wonderful to see the attention that Jewish philanthropists are giving to inclusion of Jews with disabilities and LGBT Jews, but I can’t help asking: Are Interfaith Families Included in Inclusive Philanthropy? I hope to get some positive answers!

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Congratulations Washington

Yesterday Ari Moffic and I had the privilege of participating in the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s Welcoming Interfaith Families: A Community Conversation with more than one hundred professionals and interested individuals. It was very affirming to hear the top leadership of the Washington Federation – Steve Rakitt, CEO, and Stuart Kurlander, President – express […]

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Sadness and Hope

It’s been a hard week in Boston. A family member of someone very important to InterfaithFamily was severely injured in the Marathon bombing. I live in Newton a few miles from where the second suspect was ultimately captured and we were on lock down Friday, wondering what we might encounter if we stepped outside. Unfortunately […]

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We’re a Core Grantee!

We are thrilled to announce that InterfaithFamily has received a “core grant” from the Natan Fund. We’ve been grateful to have been funded by Natan for several years in one of their areas of interest, but being included as a core grantee, one of “a highly selective group of organizations that Natan has funded for […]

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‘Til Faith Do Us Part

Right around Passover, there was some prominent coverage in the secular press about intermarriage due to the publication of Naomi Schaefer Riley’s book, ‘Til Faith Do Us Part and reviews in the Wall Street Journal (where she has been a religion writer) and the New York Times. I’ve ordered the book but haven’t had a […]

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Intermarried Rabbis and Intermarriage Attitudes

We’re back from Passover and there was a flurry of commentary about intermarriage in the Jewish media. Last week Benjamin Maron blogged about Rabbinical Students and Intermarriage, picking up on Rebecca Goodman’s February post on Rabbis and Intermarriage. This is all started when Daniel Kirzane, a rabbinic student at the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College […]

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Leaders By Choice

There is a fascinating new issue of Sh’ma just out on the topic “leaders by choice.” InterfaithFamily’s Board Chair Mamie Kanfer Stewart, in No Conversion Required, writes: [W]e have an opportunity to reframe the question, “Who is a Jew?” into “Who is part of the Jewish community?” Rather than focusing on Jewish status, we can […]

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Our Passover/Easter Survey Results Are In

Thanks to all of you who responded to our Passover/Easter survey. The results are in! We just sent out the following press release — let us know what you think of the findings. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Edmund Case, edc@interfaithfamily.com, (617) 581-6805 Interfaith Families Continue To Participate in Secular Easter Activities Without Compromising Their Children’s […]

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A Razzie Award for the Jewish Media?

I’ve been thinking about starting a “Razzie Award” — referring to raspberries, referring to the negative sound of “blowing a raspberry,” sort of like “worst of” awards — for the Jewish media. The latest contender would be “Branding Judaism” by Mayrav Saar in Orange County Jewish Life. What particularly bothers me about this one is […]

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Israel Doesn’t Want Reform Converts?

There is a very powerful op-ed in the New York Jewish Week today, Israel Doesn’t Want a Reform Convert Like Me by Rabbi Heidi Hoover who serves as rabbi of Temple Beth Emeth v’Ohr Progressive Shaari Zedek in Brooklyn. Jewish status in Israel is controlled by the Chief Rabbinate, and conversions by non-Orthodox rabbis – […]

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Are Attitudes Towards Intermarriage Changing, Revisited

Almost three years ago, in April 2010, I complimented the Forward’s Editor-at-Large, for an essay he wrote about a family member’s bar mitzvah at a Conservative synagogue. I said then, It is heartening to me for a thought leader of J.J. Goldberg’s stature to say that it felt natural and necessary for a non-Jewish parent […]

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Rabbis and Intermarriage

I recently read an article, Debatable: Should Our Seminary Admit Students with Non-Jewish Partners?, in the spring 2013 edition of Reform Judaism Magazine. In sum, Daniel Kirzane, a current rabbinical student at HUC-JIR in New York, says yes. His classmate, Brandon Bernstein, says no. You can read their rational online. I’ve been thinking about their […]

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The Disgrace of a Nice Jewish Girl?

I am deeply distressed by the publication in Reform Judaism magazine of an article that undermines the Reform movement’s historic approach to welcoming and engaging interfaith families Jewishly. The article, titled The Disgrace of a Nice Jewish Girl, tells an admittedly sad story of a Jewish woman who divorced her husband who was not Jewish […]

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Rabbi Reverses Interfaith Marriage Policy

The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles has a powerful article today, Rabbi reverses interfaith marriage policy. The article details how Rabbi John Rosove, senior rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood, explained in a Rosh Hashanah sermon why he was changing his long-held position and would now officiate at interfaith weddings. “I’ve come to the conclusion […]

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What Draws Interfaith Families To Jewish Life

I’m pleased to report that the New York Jewish Week has published my op-ed, What Draws Interfaith Families to Jewish Life. A considerably longer version is on the Huffington Post, A New Year To Engage Interfaith Families in Jewish Life. Having just come off Yom Kippur’s intense period of introspection about the past and the […]

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What Our Surveys Say About What Attracts Interfaith Families to Jewish Organizations

There is a great deal of concern in the Jewish world about the degree to which interfaith families are engaged or disengaged in Jewish life and community. A headline of the New York Jewish Community Study of 2011, released in June 2012, was that interfaith families generally score low on that study’s index of Jewish […]

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Insights on Engaging Interfaith Families from the NY Community Study

The 2011 Jewish Community Study of New York, released in June 2012, has important findings for all those interested in engaging interfaith families Jewishly. The study confirms that there is a huge amount of intermarriage, and it is continuing. Between 2006 and 2011, one in three non-Orthodox Jews who married, married someone who was not […]

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A Model to Engage Interfaith Families

We’ve just reported on the first full year of the InterfaithFamily/Chicago two-year pilot of our InterfaithFamily/Your Community initiative. You can find the . We are on to something big that can transform the Jewish community’s response to intermarriage in a very significant and positive way. Four years ago a group of leading national family foundations […]

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Mazel tov, Mark and Priscilla

As our friend earlier today, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan were married yesterday. A year and a half ago I expressed concern[/url] that the Jewish world was about to “blow it” again with a celebrity interfaith couple. At the time, a columnist had speculated that Zuckerberg was in love with Chan […]

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Our Passover/Easter Survey Results Are In!

Thanks to all of you who responded to our Passover/Easter survey. The results are in! Yesterday, we sent out the following press release – let us know what you think of the findings. Do check out that full report, and let us know your thoughts!

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Good News (x2) for InterfaithFamily

We are extremely pleased to report that the has awarded InterfaithFamily.com a . Natan’s announcement in explains that Natan is a network of about 80 young philanthropists who pool their charitable resources and collaborate to make grants to emerging Jewish and Israeli nonprofit organizations. Natan received 350 letters of inquiry and made 47 grants to […]

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A Mover and Shaker

We’re thrilled that our friend Elana MacGilpin, one of our Parenting Blog regulars[/url], was recognized by the as one of their ! The article notes that Elana is best known for is coordinating outreach programs specifically for interfaith families and couples. Elana is quoted as saying, “One of the great challenges and opportunities of the […]

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Remembering Newt Becker

As you can imagine, there have been a lot of ups and downs for me since starting InterfaithFamily.com, Inc. ten years ago. I have a very distinct memory of one of the high points. Although I’m not completely certain where it happened – I believe it was at the then-United Jewish Communities General Assembly in […]

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Reflecting on December 2011

I was interviewed by a major city’s Jewish newspaper this week. The reporter asked if it had gotten “easier” for interfaith couples over the past ten years since InterfaithFamily got started. I said I thought there was more acceptance among parents of young adults who are intermarrying. But there are still what I call “eternal” […]

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An Historic Advance by the UJA-Federation of New York

Last week the released what could be the most important report ever written for the field of engaging interfaith families in Jewish life and community. The report, of the Federation’s Task Force on Welcoming Interfaith Families, recognizes that there is potential for Jewish engagement among interfaith families that is not being fulfilled and recommends At […]

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Survey Again Says: IFF Has Impact!

At IFF we are always interested in who our users are, and in what they are looking for and whether they find it with us. We’re especially interested in our impact, and so are our funders and Jewish professionals with whom we seek to work: are we changing the attitudes and behaviors of people in […]

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Interfaith Families Prefer Programs Marketed as “For Interfaith Families”

At InterfaithFamily.com we’ve always believed that programs designed and marketed explicitly as “for interfaith families” — sometimes called “targeted” programs — are very effective in engaging interfaith families in Jewish life and community. We’ve argued that the Boston Jewish community sees 60% of interfaith families raising their children as Jews in part because it is […]

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Remembering Leonard Wasserman

One of my heroes died last week, on October 7, erev Yom Kippur. Leonard Wasserman was unique in my experience. He is the only Jewish lay leader I’ve ever known who became passionate about engaging interfaith families in Jewish life and then created an organization that works to do just that – Interfaithways. I first […]

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Choosing Life in the New Year, Part 2

I just read my friend Julie Wiener’s latest blog post put up just before Yom Kippur, . I usually agree with Julie but I’m not sure in this case. Jessica Langer-Sousa, a Jewish woman who was intermarrying, wrote in the  that she was rebuffed by a mikveh lady who told her that her marriage would […]

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Choosing Life in the New Year

When I was in sixth grade I won my Hebrew school’s essay contest by writing that Yom Kippur was my favorite Jewish  holiday. I figured — correctly, because I won — what kid would choose Yom Kippur? But Yom Kippur was and still is my favorite holiday and it was a good one for me. […]

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New Year, New Decade

InterfaithFamily.com, Inc. was incorporated on October 4, 2001 – almost exactly ten years ago. Looking back – appropriate during this High Holiday period – it was an expression of hope. Hope that we could do work that effectively would support interfaith families to find value and meaning in engaging in Jewish life, and influence Jewish […]

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Intemarriage: The Impact of Birthright Israel

A “new” study, , is being publicized on the impact of Birthright Israel on intermarriage. I put “new” in quotations because the study was prepared in November 2010. It apparently was published online by then (I didn’t see it at the time), but the print version of the November 2010 journal is just being delivered, […]

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Growing Up With Two Religions

Tablet has a with three short videos of teens who grew up with two religions and were involved with The Interfaith Community.  In just three videos a wide range of issues are raised: the impact of having grandparents who are Holocaust survivors; how in some families the subject of religion is “tense” and “controversial,” while […]

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The Bachelorette is Open to Raising Children Jewish

Reality TV World has an in which they address the interfaith issue. As happens with so many other couples, Ashley expresses being open to raising their future children Jewish – “whatever makes him happy makes me happy.” And J.P. says his family would be accepting of whoever he brought home.

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Ashley and J.P. – We’re Here to Help!

J.P. Rosenbaum proposed and Ashley Hebert said yes – and we have the next celebrity interfaith couple! Get ready for intense scrutiny, in People magazine and others, of every development in this relationship. Very few of the couples formed at the end of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette make it to a wedding. But interfaith […]

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Non-Jewish mothers and intermarrieds in the news

Sue Fishkoff wrote a great article for JTA, , that has been widely reprinted. It’s a good story that highlights mothers who are not Jewish who are raising their children Jewish and provides insight into factors that led them to that decision – not being pushed to convert; seeking a sense of community and joining […]

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The Next Celebrity Interfaith Couple?

It’s uncanny. Almost exactly a year ago – July 31, 2010 – the big news in InterfaithFamily.com’s world was , and all of the following discussion about . Now, on August 1, 2011, we may have the next big news for interfaith families. Yes – it’s the finale of . I want to make if […]

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Happy and Proud

People who know me know that I am rarely satisfied. When something really positive happens, I am usually immediately thinking of what more could be done. But I want to pause and say that I am as happy and proud as I could be that InterfaithFamily.com is playing a role in what is being described […]

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Volunteering and Children of Intermarriage

There’s an interesting story in the , . commissioned a “first of its kind” of the attitudes and behaviors of young Jewish adults when it comes to volunteering. What jumped out to us was the rare finding in studies of this sort of something positive about intermarriage: “children of intermarriage are more likely than are […]

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Another Step Towards a Changing Judaism

My friend and wonderful writer Judy Bolton-Fasman’s most recent column is a great one, and not just because of the shout-out to InterfaithFamily.com. In , Judy writes about the bar mitzvah of the son of one of her oldest friends, Vicki, and her Lutheran-raised husband, Kurt. It’s a very moving account. Judy’s column, which I […]

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More on InterfaithFamily/Chicago

There’s been a lot of interest since we announced InterfaithFamily/Chicago[/url] yesterday. We expect to make an announcement in June that we’ve hired a Director and that work will get started as of July 1. In the meantime, here is some more information about the project. The objectives of IFF/Chicago are: • People in interfaith relationships […]

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A Major New Initiative for InterfaithFamily.com

We made a at InterfaithFamily.com today. In July we will be launching InterfaithFamily/Chicago, a two-year pilot initiative to coordinate and provide a comprehensive set of local programs aimed at engaging Chicago-area interfaith families Jewishly. This is big on two intertwined levels – programming and funding. In the almost ten years since InterfaithFamily.com was incorporated, the […]

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Young American Jews, Israel, and Intermarriage, Revisited

I’m feeling a little vindicated after reading ’s recent editorial, . Almost exactly a year ago, there was controversy in the Jewish media over Peter Beinart’s argument that young American Jews feel conflict between their liberalism and Zionism because of the policies of the Israeli government towards the Palestinians, resulting in less support for Israel. […]

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My Interview with Cokie and Steve Roberts

I had a very interesting interview with Cokie and Steve Roberts last week. We talked about their new book, , which I’ve before, and which our Board member Rabbi Rim Meirowitz  very positively. I asked the Robertses what their goals were in terms of what they hoped interfaith couples would do with . Cokie Roberts, […]

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Limmud Chicago 2011

I led a session on “changing attitudes towards intermarriage” today at . It was fun! An interesting mix of people came – several who identified themselves as Orthodox, several young adults, several who looked like grandparents, and in between. We did a “take the temperature of the room” exercise where I asked people if they […]

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A New URJ President and the Reform Commitment to Engaging Interfaith Families

We want to congratulate Rabbi Rick Jacobs on being chosen as the . When the retirement of the current president, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, was announced, I wrote about my . While I applauded many of Rabbi Yoffie’s initiatives, the Reform movement’s record on engaging interfaith families during his leadership was disappointing due to reductions in […]

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Cokie and Steve Roberts, Revisited

I have to confess: I expected not to like , the new book by Cokie and Steve Roberts. But I did. I like it. I’m doing a lot of confessing about the Robertses. Last week I they are able to garner for their book, and some regret because they are known for observing both of […]

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I Wish Cokie and Steve Roberts Were In Our Camp

Cokie Roberts, who I love as an ABC News commentator, and her husband Steve Roberts, have published a new “interfaith Haggadah”–. I have to confess to very mixed feelings about this. I don’t like feeling envy, but I do. I’m envious because as celebrities, Cokie and Steve Roberts command a lot of attention. Their book […]

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More Who Is a Jew

A month ago I that arose from the tragic attack on Gabrielle Giffords. My main point was this: The issue dated today has two related articles of interest. My former colleague Rabbi Sue Fendrick, in , seems to agree with me. She makes the interesting point that the State of Israel recognizes the advantages of […]

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Divorce, Interfaith Style

In the past year we’ve had about the sensationalized Reyes divorce case where the father took the child to church against a court order etc. Karen Kushner provides a much more sane approach to the whole subject of divorce in interfaith families in a , the “Divorce and Parenting Examiner” for Examiner.com/Los Angeles. Some of […]

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More About the Reform/Progressive World

In my post last week about , we highlighted Rabbi Larry Kushner’s presentation and mentioned that our own Karen Kushner spoke at a panel. We’re glad now to make available Karen’s remarks, . Karen is also featured in Dan Pine’s jweekly article, .

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Remembering Michael Rukin

I am sorry to report that Michael Rukin died on February 18. He was only 70. Michael was an important leader for many organizations including Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston (CJP), Hillel and the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society. I’m sure much deservedly will be said about him in the days to come. I just want […]

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Intermarriage Around the Reform/Progressive World

Our friend, and terrific journalist, Sue Fishkoff had about the annual convention of the World Union of Progressive Judaism that missed what I think was a more important part of the convention. The World Union of Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) is the association of Reform movements from all over the world. (Outside of the US, Reform […]

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Valentines Day 2011

I know that in some parts of the Jewish community, participating in Valentine’s Day is frowned upon, because the Valentine involved was a Christian saint. That made a recent article by Rabbi Everett Gendler , all the more interesting. For one thing, the Catholic Church declared in 1969 that Valentine’s Day is not a saint’s […]

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Attitude Antennae

My “attitude antennae” were buzzing this week – because of several notable expressions of attitudes, both negative and positive, about intermarriage. Neil Steinberg, a writer for the , in a column about the Super Bowl TV ad for Groupon that has been widely criticized as insensitive to human rights violations in Tibet. What intermarriage has […]

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Serious But Not Fully Observant Jews

I would like to recommend an excellent article by Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg, .  Rabbi Greenberg is a very highly regarded Modern Orthodox rabbi. He apparently wrote the article to take a position on the current crisis over conversion standards in Israel. But it has implications which I find fascinating, for liberal Jews and people […]

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Who Isn’t a Jew?

In the aftermath of the terrible attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, there has been a lot of discussion in the Jewish press about the “who is a Jew” issue. Two and a half weeks ago I blogged that it was to get leading Jewish commentators like the editors of the to write that a non-halachic […]

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A Shame That It Takes a Tragedy

Yesterday Benjamin Maron put up a about the awful attack on US Representative Gabrielle Giffords. Everyone at InterfaithFamily.com, like most people, feels terribly about what happened in Tucson. The violent incident in itself is not something that we would ordinarily comment about. (My personal view that there should be a huge outcry about gun control […]

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More Portman

One of the people interviewed by Abigail Porgrebin for her 2005 book, , was Natalie Portman.  Hillel’s website has from the book. Portman’s father is an Israeli physician, her mother an American artist. She lived in Israel until she was 3, then in the US, but visited Israel frequently. She attended a day school until […]

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Ending the Year with Another Celebrity Intermarriage

News broke today that actress Natalie Portman, just nominated for a Best Actress award for her starring role in , is pregnant and engaged to Benjamin Millipied. We found out in a blog post from our friend Rabbi Jason Miller, who asks, I haven’t seen a definitive answer to that question; if Rabbi Jason is […]

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An Appreciation of Richard Goldman

Richard Goldman, a founder with his wife of the , died a few weeks ago. The Goldman family is extraordinarily generous; the reports that the Fund has given away over $680 million. InterfaithFamily.com is one of the grateful recipients of his and the Goldman family’s generosity. In fact, when InterfaithFamily.com started operating as an independent […]

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Chrismukkah in Vegas

I was on the radio yesterday! KNPR’s “State of Nevada,” a show on the NPR station in southern Nevada, did a program that you can listen to: I enjoyed doing the program because it was an opportunity for dialogue with Ron Gompertz, who is not the creator of the Chrismukkah idea, but has created a […]

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More Attitude About Intermarriage

I’m pleased to tell you that has made available an , Can We Encourage In-marriage and Welcome Interfaith Families? It’s even on the front page of the Shalom TV site! The video is 44 minutes long, and it may take a while to download. (If your cable provider carries Shalom TV, you can watch the […]

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Hanukkah 2010

Happy Hanukkah! I don’t know about you, but I am already wondering if there is any way, when I make latkes this weekend, to avoid making the entire house smell like a fryolator for several days. Do you have any suggestions? This year I have to make a double batch. Every year we help my […]

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What I Would Like To Be Thankful For

It’s Thanksgiving 2010. I have a lot of good fortune in my life and I try to be very grateful. That goes for my work at InterfaithFamily.com, too, but this year I’m not sure how thankful I feel. It has to do with Jewish attitudes towards intermarriage and whether they are changing and will change […]

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The Mixed Marriage of the Century

I didn’t think the wedding of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky would be eclipsed so soon, but here comes the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton. People everywhere are just fascinated by the British royal family. Through our lens here at InterfaithFamily.com, we can’t help but focus on the “intermarriage” aspect of the relationship. […]

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Chelsea and Marc in the Jewish News Again

Each year the , the only national Jewish newspaper, publishes a list called the “Forward 50” which they describe this year as a list of “men and women who have made a significant impact on the Jewish story in a Jewish way.” Way back in 2001, I made the list, to my mother’s everlasting pride […]

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Slingshot, Hero, Online Group, Quite a Week at InterfaithFamily.com

It has been quite a week here at InterfaithFamily.com. As we reported yesterday, scooped by Julie Wiener in a very nice post, InterfaithFamily.com has once again been included in the guide to the fifty most innovative Jewish organizations. We are one of only nine organizations that have been in in each of the past six […]

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Julie Wiener, Mayyim Hayyim, Joseph Reyes

I’ve been preoccupied lately with the voting contest, which ended today. (I think I made it into the top 20 vote getters and am eligible for an award, but more about that another day, after the official results are announced.) I’m catching up on what’s been published lately and it occurred to me: if there […]

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Do Not Stand Idly By

For the past several years I have tried to keep my family out of my professional work in order to respect their privacy. Today I’m going to deviate a little from that rule. Two weeks ago one of the happiest occasions in my life took place in my home: the bris of my first grandchild. […]

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Mark Zuckerberg Is Not In Love With A Stereotype

I’m afraid that the Jewish world is about to blow it again with interfaith couples and families, as happened just two months ago with . This time, it’s about Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook. Apparently the soon-to-be-released movie, , written by Aaron Sorkin, suggests that Zuckerberg created Facebook so he could meet non-Jewish girls. […]

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Conversion for Children at Mayyim Hayyim

Our friends at Mayyim Hayyim have produced a wonderful video of the conversion of an infant. The film was made by a terrific film maker, Jennifer Kaplan. We’ve added it to our ; you can watch the video . Please check out my comments on the video on . While you’re at it, consider attending […]

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I Want To Be Your Jewish Community Hero — But It Is Not Personal

If you come to this website, by now you must know that I have been nominated to be the . It would be hard to miss, since when you come to the site a big pop us box asks you to VOTE in large orange letters. I hope that isn’t too annoying. If you’re one […]

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Love and Religion: An Online Discussion Group for Couples

It’s no secret that, on top of all of the usual issues that come up in relationships, interfaith couples have the extra joy/challenge of navigating additional conversations about identity, heritage, culture, religion, and more. We have many sections of articles dealing with these[/url] very[/url] topics[/url]. These discussions can feel, at times, overwhelming; some couples choose […]

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Question: Can Jews Encourage In-Marriage AND Welcome Interfaith Families

A proposal I made for a workshop at the annual convention of the Jewish Federations of North America has been accepted. In November, I will be speaking before an audience of important Jewish leaders on this question: The session will involve presentations by me and my ideological nemesis, Steven M. Cohen, and then responses by […]

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A New Year of Creative Ferment

Summer ended this weekend and I was thinking it would be nice to ease into the Jewish New Year, spend some time quietly introspecting on the past year and what’s to come. Instead all signs are for a year of creative ferment in attitudes in the intermarriage world, started perhaps by my August op-ed in […]

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Turf Wars

I have long felt that JCC’s are a prime location for welcoming interfaith families and engaging them in Jewish life. Unfortunately, with some exceptions, most notably the Pathways program at the Atlanta JCC, most JCC’s do not offer programming aimed specifically for people in interfaith relationships. I was reminded of all of this by a […]

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Jewish Behaviors

When Micah Sachs was InterfaithFamily.com’s managing editor and blogger extraordinaire, he would every once in a while post a “Link Sink” with interesting but not necessarily thematically related links. I’ve been away some and not blogging regularly, so I thought I might revive that practice. But it didn’t turn out that way. Anita Diamant, a […]

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InterfaithFamily.com Welcomes Karen Kushner!

The Board and staff of InterfaithFamily.com are thrilled that Karen Kushner has joined us as Chief Education Officer. We are establishing a presence on the West Coast, with Karen in San Francisco, and want to extend a big and warm welcome to her and tell you about our exciting plans. This development has been a […]

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There is Still Work to Be Done on Welcoming Interfaith Families

I’ve blogged previously[/url] on a recent report in the that Steven M. Cohen had found, in a study for the Foundation for Jewish Camp, that most interfaith couples feel like that have an open invitation to be part of Jewish life, that outreach “has been misguided by focusing simply on being welcoming” and that “the […]

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The Signficance of Chelsea Clinton’s Wedding

In my last blog post, ,  I said I was still reflecting on the significance of Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, and would have more to say about it. Well I did reflect on it and I wrote an op-ed and the published it today: I would love to quote the entire piece here but please read […]

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The Jewish World Reacts to the Clinton-Mezvinsky Wedding — and It Isn’t Pretty

It’s been a long week at InterfaithFamily.com, starting with the news last Saturday night that Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky had a rabbi and a minister at their wedding with very evident Jewish traditions. In this post I’m going to try to just summarize the coverage. I’m still reflecting on the significance of it all, […]

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The News is Out: Co-officiation for Chelsea and Marc

The reported that Rabbi James Ponet, the Yale Hillel director, and Reverend William Shillady, a Methodist minister, co-officiated at the wedding of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky on July 31. According to the Times, at 7:23 p.m. the family made an announcement via e-mail. The Times said that the ceremony “included elements from both traditions: […]

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Mazel tov in advance to Chelsea and Marc

With the big event happening Saturday night, this is our last chance to send a Mazel tov in advance to Chelsea and Marc. With the air space above Rhinebeck cleared, and guests reportedly required to turn in their camera phones, we don’t know when word will leak out about the ceremony and who officiated – […]

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What the Camp Study Was Really About

Our blog post, , on Steven M. Cohen’s new theory that the Jewish community is plenty welcoming of interfaith families, attracted many very thoughtful comments. I mentioned that this new theory was revealed in a study done for the , but until recently hadn’t had a chance to look at the study itself. It’s a […]

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What the Wedding Might Look Like

I wrote a feature for the that was published today: . It’s written to explain, to people who might not be familiar with Jewish wedding ceremony customs, what they might be seeing if the couple decides to have a Jewish wedding or incorporate elements of a Jewish wedding in their own. I’ve been getting a […]

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Hillary Clinton on the Upcoming Wedding

Thanks to for putting this story out – Hillary Clinton was interviewed by on July 18 and starting at about 14 minutes and 54 seconds into the interview, she was asked how she felt about Chelsea marrying “in an interfaith context:” Other than pretty much confirming that Bill Clinton will not be officiating, Secretary Clinton […]

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Something Important About Israel You Can Do Right Now

The Israeli Knesset will vote in the next day or so on a bill that would fundamentally change the Law of Conversion and further concentrate power with the Chief Rabbinate. As explained in , Alana Newhouse, editor of , had a particularly good op-ed in the : This legislation is important to Interfaith couples even […]

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Will Chelsea Clinton Have a Jewish Wedding… Part 3

The media is abuzz again about Chelsea Clinton’s upcoming wedding to Marc Mezvinsky. It’s that the nuptials will take place on July 31 at Astor Courts in Rhinebeck, New York. But apparently no one in the press knows who will be officiating at the wedding. The overall fascination with celebrities in our culture is another […]

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Why Intermarrieds Stay Away

There’s a new article coming out in the by Gal Beckerman,  . Beckerman starts by saying that “the guiding principle” of organizations like InterfaithFamily.com and the Jewish Outreach Institute is to “be more welcoming.” Then Beckerman says that Steven M. Cohen in a recent study for the Foundation for Jewish Camp found that most interfaith […]

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Another Problematic Article About Intermarriage

The other day I blogged about an article about intermarriage that got a lot of recent attention. Three Jewish women’s non-Jewish husbands didn’t participate in raising their children Jewish. I said it was a sad story, but not typical. Another article about intermarriage, this one in the , also elicited a lot of comment recently: […]

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A Sad Story, But Not Typical

A recent article in has elicited a lot of comment: , by Elizabeth Cohen. Cohen’s article is very sad. Three Jewish women meet for Shabbat dinner with their young children. Their non-Jewish husbands don’t participate. Turns out that each keeps her Judaica hidden away in a drawer, a box, a cabinet. Turns out they don’t […]

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Memo to Elena Kagan: Not All Jews Spend Christmas at Chinese Restaurants

The blogosphere is lit up with Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s response to a question at her confirmation hearing. The reported that a senator asked, “’Christmas Day bomber. Where were you at on Christmas Day?’ Kagan … seemed confused by his query and started answering him seriously. But Graham cut her off and said, ‘No. […]

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Two Ways to Help InterfaithFamily.com

We are working with marketing communications consultants to help improve our messaging aimed at attracting interfaith couples and at making the case for welcoming them. The consultant, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications, is conducting a survey about interfaith relationships and current outreach efforts. They are particularly interested in input from people who have one Jewish parent and parents […]

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Reflections on Rabbi Eric Yoffie Retirement

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the president of the Reform movement (Union for Reform Judaism), announced on June 10 that he would retire in two years. You can find the text of his prepared remarks on and articles with more analysis by Josh Nathan-Kazis in and by Jonathan Sarna also in . I have to confess to […]

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Edgar Bronfman In The News

Edgar M. Bronfman, one of InterfaithFamily.com’s most important supporters, has been in the Jewish press again recently: re-printed from the . Mr. Bronfman, who is approaching 80, occasionally speaks publicly about his book, Hope, Not Fear. We published an and back in 2008 when it first came out. The recent j. article includes many pithy, […]

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A Jewish Leader Who “Gets It”

I hardly need to say that intermarriage is not a popular topic. I am often frustrated when Jewish leaders do not agree with me that engaging interfaith families in Jewish life is an issue of such overriding importance for the liberal Jewish community that it should be talked about openly and even aggressively. Shortly before […]

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Rabbi David Gruber and Julie Wiener

We were pleased to see our friend Julie Wiener devote her new column in the New York to . Aside from his fascinating, perhaps unique personal journey – an Orthodox trained and ordained rabbi who now officiates and co-officiates at weddings for interfaith couples – I know Rabbi Gruber is an extraordinary kind person based […]

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Something Positive About Intermarriage, For a Change

Intermarriage has been trashed a lot in the past few weeks and we’ve been doing a lot of de-bunking: first of the idea that , second that . I thought it would be nice to end the week with a positive story. Last weekend I was trying to make a dent in my reading pile […]

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Are Interfaith Marriages Really Failing Fast?

I wish Naomi Schaefer Riley had consulted with us, or at least looked at the resources available on InterfaithFamily.com, before the Washington Post published her story, . My main complaint about the article is that it cites no compelling evidence whatsoever to support the thesis of the title that interfaith marriages are failing fast. It […]

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Young American Jews, Israel, and Intermarriage

The Gaza flotilla incident overshadowed the controversy in the Jewish media over Peter Beinert’s recent essay, . I understand Beinert’s central thesis to be that young American Jews feel conflict between their liberalism and Zionism because of the policies of the Israeli government towards the Palestinians, resulting in less support for Israel. This thesis makes […]

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Israel Is Being Unjustly Criticized

Like many others, I have been distressed this week by recent events in Israel. This blog is meant to address issues relating to interfaith relationships; the ins and outs of Israeli government policies, how best to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians, etc. — those are issues on which we don’t claim expertise and on […]

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Memorial Day, 2010

Today is Memorial Day and I want to honor my father-in-law, Don Bosworth. Don is a World War II veteran and was a prisoner of war in Germany. He lives in assisted living and has been pretty sad since his wife Jean, my beloved mother-in-law, died in 2005. Back in the 1970’s Don and Jean […]

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More Bad Attitude from Israel

Back in October, the Jerusalem Post published an op-ed I wrote, What Israelis need to know about intermarriage in North America. As I then, “it is critical for Israelis to know that intermarriage does not necessarily lead to loss of Jewish identity and affiliation; that many interfaith couples and families are engaging in Jewish life; […]

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Are Attitudes Towards Intermarriage Changing?

J.J. Goldberg, senior columnist at the , has written an important essay, , that I wanted to share with the IFF community. Goldberg was attending a family bar mitzvah at the , a Conservative synagogue outside of New York City. He spoke with a cousin, a federation executive, who was “trying to figure out the […]

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Catholic Father, Jewish Daughter, Part Two

The Joseph Reyes case that is in the news again – there is a court hearing today on whether he should be punished for violating a court order that he not expose his daughter to any religion other than Judaism. I’m concerned about the news slant on this story – on the part of the […]

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Officiation News

Today’s reports that Rabbis Richard Block and Roger Klein, from The Temple-Tifereth Israel, one of Cleveland’s largest Reform synagogues, have announced that they have changed their positions and will now officiate at weddings of interfaith couples under certain circumstances. The article reports that the rabbis will only officiate at the weddings of couples “in our […]

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Christmas is coming

December is our busiest season at InterfaithFamily.com. We’ve already had over 30,000 unique visitors to our site this month, and the most popular content is about the December holidays. With Hanukkah over and Christmas coming this week, with many interfaith couples getting ready to celebrate Christmas and many Jews not comfortable with that, I’d like […]

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Love and Religion — a Must See!

I’d like to be sure everyone knows about an important new addition to our website. Please visit where you can learn about — and purchase — Love and Religion, a film and workshop guide by our good friend Dr. Marion Usher. On Sunday December 6 I was happy to participate in the “world premiere” of […]

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Chelsea Clinton may not need help finding a rabbi for her wedding, but…

Chelsea Clinton’s engagement to Marc Mezvinsky is big news; Ruth Abrams’ here yesterday was picked up by the Atlantic’s blog, . Ruth said it would be interesting to see how the famous couple handles the interfaith aspects of their relationship. One aspect of that of course is whether they will want to have a rabbi […]

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Birthright Israel, Jewish Wedding Ceremonies, and Jewish Commitment

Tucked away in the new released yesterday by the at Brandeis is a very important discussion about Jewish wedding ceremonies and Jewish commitment among intermarried couples. (I discussed the main findings of the study in a separate .) The study authors write: Of intermarried respondents in the study, about half had no clergy, Jewish or […]

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Birthright Israel Trips and Intermarriage

There is important learning in the new released yesterday by Len Saxe and his team at the at Brandeis – and early media coverage is not catching all of it. The study compares Birthright Israel trip participants to non-participants. It finds that trip participants have a stronger sense of Jewish identity and peoplehood and demonstrate […]

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Worth Reading: More Talk About Intermarriage

Just a quick post about two important discussions about intermarriage. In the current issue of the  , Adam Bronfman debates Jack Wertheimer in . Adam is the managing director of the Samuel Bronfman Foundation, one of InterfaithFamily.com’s leading funders, and we continue to applaud his outspoken leadership on our issues. Also, Jeremy Ben Ami, the […]

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Slingshot

We’re very proud and pleased to announce that for the fifth year in a row, InterfaithFamily.com has been included in . The guide is “an annual compilation of the 50 most inspiring and innovative organizations, projects, and programs in the North American Jewish community today.” It’s very prestigious, because hundreds of organizations apply, and a […]

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What Israelis–and Americans?–need to know about intermarriage in North America

Yesterday the published an op-ed I wrote, . About a month ago I , which implied that all of the 50% of young Jews outside of Israel who intermarried were assimilated and “lost.” This is a common misconception in the English-speaking Israeli press, and I called it “the most stupid, ill-conceived effort coming out of […]

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A Stupid, Ill-conceived Approach from Israel

Yesterday that MASA, which it describes as “an organization that works to strengthen ties between Israel and Diaspora Jews,” had “launched a scare-tactic campaign that urges Israelis to combat assimilation in North America by working to prevent the “loss” through intermarriage of their own Jewish acquaintances. This has got to be the most stupid, ill-conceived […]

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Even in Canada

Back in January I was contacted by a staff member of the United Israel Appeal Federations Canada (UIA) who was researching international best practices for outreach to underserved members of Jewish communities, including interfaith couples. I gave her a lot of information about outreach programs in the US. I remember thinking at the time that […]

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More Secular? Or More Spiritual?

There were a number of articles and comments on the Internet last week about a new report from the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey to the effect that the number of American Jews who consider themselves religiously observant has declined by more than 20 percent over the last two decades while the number of Jews […]

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Rabbinical School and Interfaith Marriage, Part 3

A new article in , by Marissa Brostoff, sheds some light on the issue of rabbinical schools accepting and ordaining intermarried rabbis. We three months ago, when published an important article, . At the time, I wrote that “there could be no better role model for interfaith couples than an interfaith partner who is so […]

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Conversion Shifts

It feels like an inexplicable coincidence. On July 8 I wrote an appreciation of Gary Tobin, a leading Jewish thinker and supporter of outreach to interfaith families who just passed away. I remembered his support for us and our tactical disagreement about how much to promote conversion to non-Jewish partners in interfaith marriages. On the […]

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Gary Tobin, An Appreciation

I was very sad to learn that Gary Tobin died on Monday. He was a brilliant and provocative thinker, and a passionate advocate for opening Jewish communities to include interfaith families and Jews of color.When I stopped being a lawyer and started working in the Jewish non-profit world in 1999, the first gathering I ever […]

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Rabbinical School and the Interfaith Marriage, Part 2

Last week Ruth Abrams blogged about an important article by Jeremy Gillick in New Voices, The Coming of the Intermarried Rabbi, about men and women seeking to attend and be ordained by rabbinical schools that will not accept them because they are intermarried.  Shortly before the New Voices article came out, we published Why I’m […]

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Attracting Interfaith Families Through Jewish Spirituality

Synagogue 3000 (S3K) has released a fascinating new study by Steven M. Cohen and Lawrence Hoffman, How Spiritual Are America’s Jews? Narrowing the Spirituality Gap Between Jews and Other Americans. Given some of Mr. Cohen’s previous writings on intermarriage, both the tone and the substance of this report are noteworthy for highlighting an important path […]

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A Terrible Message from the “God Squad”

We got a Google alert about an April 3 “God Squad” column that appeared in the Edmond Oklahoma Sun. In the column, Rabbi Marc Gellman responds to a young Jewish woman who wrote to him in pain, seeking advice because of her parents’ rejection of her Catholic boyfriend, even though she says she intends and […]

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Noah Feldman on Intermarriage

I went to a fascinating “conversation” last night between Rabbi Daniel Lehmann, the president of Hebrew College, and Noah Feldman, the Harvard Law School professor and frequent New York Times contributor. Feldman’s July 2007 New York Times magazine article about the reaction of his modern Orthodox community’s reaction to his intermarriage was the subject of […]

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Programs Targeted to Interfaith Couples

There is a very interesting discussion going on on a listserv for Jewish professionals maintained by our friends at the Jewish Outreach Institute. I wanted to share here the (very slightly edited) posting that I put on that listserv today. I believe it is of utmost importance for Jewish organizations and communities to offer programs […]

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Save Reform Outreach Again

The Reform movement made a public announcement today that it is closing its regional offices and replacing existing program departments in its national office with teams of specialists. Everyone who cares about outreach to interfaith families should be deeply concerned about the implications of these developments on outreach to interfaith families, which the Reform movement […]

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Madoff and Intermarriage, Part 2

 Last week, Micah Sachs posted about Jonathan Tobin’s first article as editor of Commentary magazine. In a time of limited resources and funding difficulties facing Jewish non-profits, Tobin is arguing for a “circle the wagons” approach against reaching out to interfaith families. I wanted to share the letter to the editor that I’ve submitted: Dear […]

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Jesus and Christmas

It’s our busiest time of year again at InterfaithFamily.com. I’m writing this on December 24th at 9:00 am — and we’ve already broken the record for the highest number of monthly unique visitors to our main website, with 30,831 so far. There is something about Hanukkah and Christmas that stirs up everything about interfaith relationships […]

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Breaking New Ground with Jewish Leaders

Last week the United Jewish Communities (UJC) held its annual convention, called the General Assembly (GA). Something different and potentially very significant happened: there was talk about intermarriage, in a positive way. Since I got involved in the professional Jewish world nine years ago, I think I’ve been to every GA except for two that […]

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Ron Klain, Rahm Emanuel and the Christmas Madness

A story in IsraelNationalNews.com commenting on the appointment of Rahm Emanuel as President-Elect Obama’s chief of staff, and of Ron Klain as Vice President-Elect Biden’s chief of staff, leads with: “Both appointees are Jewish, but while Emanuel is an observant Jew, Klain intermarried more than 20 years ago and his family observes Christmas.” This is the […]

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Hope, Not Fear

I started InterfaithFamily.com as an independent non-profit in January 2002. There was a time three or four years into it that I gave serious thought to closing down. I started to write an essay that I thought I would submit to Moment magazine complaining bitterly about the lack of funding support for outreach to interfaith […]

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