Why Facebook’s New Mission Is Good for Jewish Community

Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that he is changing the mission of Facebook. He cares less about helping people count how many friends they have and more about helping people feel interconnected in communities. Exactly! This is the work of rabbis too! As I approach my last week as Director of InterfaithFamily/Chicago, I continue to think […]

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The Sacred Goal of Interfaith Family Inclusion

I recently got introduced to a children’s book called Zero by Kathryn Otoshi. It’s a book aimed at preschoolers, but adults will also love it. In the book, Zero feels left out of the counting that all the other numbers get to do. They have value as counted numbers, but Zero doesn’t. She tries to […]

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The Tree Strikes a Chord Like No Other

Recently, my colleague in Los Angles posted a question that piqued my interest on her personal Facebook page: “Did any of my Jewish professional friends grow up with a Christmas tree?” I knew where she was going with this. She was betting that a number of rabbis and Jewish educators had grown up in an […]

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Can Kids (or Anyone) Learn Prayer Through Osmosis?

Osmosis is a subtle or gradual absorption or mingling. Sometimes we joke that you can’t learn something through osmosis. Learning is active and involves studying and practice. Well, when it comes to prayer, I can assure you that the best way to learn the words and melodies is by just sitting in services and even passively hearing them. I’ve written before […]

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8 Reasons to Tune in Shaboom!

I have had the pleasure of watching Shaboom!, the new video series that BimBam Productions has created. InterfaithFamily/Chicago recently helped launch the video series at a few viewing parties around town. In all cases, the kids enjoyed the debut eight-minute video and the parents did as well. It’s catchy, colorful and has a great message. […]

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What’s Wrong with Saying “Jewish Community?”

Because I have tweens in my house (today that means 7- and 9-year-olds), I have pop songs playing in the soundtrack of my brain all day. As I write the title for this blog, I am thinking of Demi Lovato’s “What’s Wrong with Being Confident?” My question is: What’s wrong with saying “Jewish community?” You’ll […]

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My Macaroni & Cheese Lightbulb Moment

As I have admitted before, I see the whole world through an interfaith family lens (see my past blog post HERE). I am so uber-saturated in this work that I am always thinking about the experience of the partner who isn’t Jewish who is connected to someone Jewish and what it means to have interfaith families as […]

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Who Am I to Yuck Your Yum?

We love Mo Willems books in our house! My little one just brought home one of his gazillions of titles called, I Really Like Slop. As I have written before, I now see the world through interfaith family lenses. When we read this story, all I could think about was interfaith couples at Passover! How […]

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My 6-Year-Old Changed Her Name

Naming things gives us a connection to them. Even little children name their lovies and their toys. We label and name to organize things in our minds and to recognize things. How surprising it has been for me as a mother to have a child who says she knows she is the gender not typically […]

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Finding Prayer at Creating Change

I have a confession to make: For a while now, I’ve been pretty anti-Jewish prayer. I know that may sound startling coming from a rabbi. But I’ve kind of been dreading Friday night services lately. All that rote Hebrew that many people aren’t following and don’t understand what they’re saying. Now that I’ve been working […]

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Will We Automate Religion in 2016?

I just saw the play Marjorie Prime written by Jordan Harrison and directed by Kimberly Senior at Writer’s Theatre in Glencoe, IL. The premise of the play is that it’s the age of artificial intelligence, but 86-year-old Marjorie is worried that her memory may be fading. That is until the appearance of Walter, a mysterious […]

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Does The Good Dinosaur Have a Not-So-Good Message About Family?

The new movie, The Good Dinosaur, a Pixar Entertainment film directed by Peter Sohn, debuted in theatres on November 25. I took my 6-year-old and 8-year-old to see it at a sold-out movie theatre. Perhaps it is because I have been working with interfaith couples and families in an intense way for over four years […]

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Ask What Your Kid Really Thinks of Hanukkah & Christmas

  We tend to ask our children the same questions over and over which are super hard to answer. Educators and parents ask, “What are you thankful for?” This questions is asked repeatedly around Thanksgiving time. Children say, “my parents, my home, food, friends and toys.” Ask your child now. What did he or she […]

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Top 7 Reasons Why Co-Officiating Weddings is a Joy of My Rabbinate

There are many reasons I enjoy co-officiating weddings. Here are some of the important ones. 1.  Partnership: Working with clergy of other faiths is extremely rewarding. Through planning the wedding, I have the opportunity to build a relationship with a clergy person of another faith and this enables me to teach about Judaism and to learn […]

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An Apology to My Child

It was 2:56 AM when I heard, “Mooooomy…I NEED you…” When I went into my 6-year-old’s room, feeling frustrated and annoyed, she looked right at me and said with a clear, unwavering voice, “It’s inappropriate when you tell other people that I don’t stay in my bed all night.” My heart skipped a beat. “You’re […]

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Ari’s Q&A with Her Brother: Choosing Love by Living in Israel

Rabbi Ari interviews her Israeli brother, Jason, and sister-in-law, Galit. When did you make aliyah? (Literally this words means “to go up” and is used for someone who moves to Israel and connotes ascending in spiritual ways. The word is also used for being called up to the Torah during a worship service.) Jason: I […]

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Grandparents Get to Go to Camp in Chicago

We at InterfaithFamily/Chicago are spending more and more time with parents of adult children who are intermarrying and grandparents whose grandchildren are being raised in interfaith homes. The question I hear from them is often about how they can share their own love of Judaism and the family heritage and traditions with their grandchildren. We […]

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Where is Your 3rd Space?

I spend a lot of time at Starbucks. All different Starbucks locations. Lately, I have been seeing signs about it being a “Third Place in our daily lives.” We have our work places, our homes and we have the coffee shop. I think for lot of people, walking into Starbucks is comforting and familiar. The smells, the […]

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Embracing Our Differences

The following is a sermon I gave at Saint Elisabeth’s Church in Glencoe, Illinois, on February 22. Thank you for welcoming me so warmly into your community. What a blessing it has been to become involved with St. Elisabeth’s. I have spent my rabbinate these past eight years working with interfaith couples and families and […]

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Should Religious School Be On Saturday?

This blog post arose after a conversation about the challenges for interfaith families in which one parent is a practicing Christian trying to raise Jewish children. We were speaking about many hot topics including: The goals of liberal Jewish religious school and Hebrew school Why most synagogues hold school on Sundays How synagogue leaders can […]

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Chicago Synagogues Are Showing Their Support

I love synagogues, in theory and many in reality. I have blogged before about my enduring connections with the congregation where I grew up, even though I haven’t lived in that community for over twenty years. I have written about just stopping in to congregations and hanging out there. Most recently, I wrote about my […]

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Our Rainbow Connection

When I see a rainbow, Kermit the Frog singing “Rainbow Connection” comes to mind every time: “The lovers, the dreamers, and me…” On our family’s winter vacation we spotted an amazing rainbow running down the side of a mountain. It was truly breathtaking and left us oohing and aaahing. We were the lovers and the […]

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The Real Menshes on Benches

I met two menshes on benches the Friday of Thanksgiving. You may now have the image of the Mensch on the Bench Hanukkah toy, but unlike this stuffed elf counterpart, these were true mensches. One of the rules for this toy is that a “true mensch is one who puts smiles on other peoples’ faces.” […]

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It’s Like Miso Soup!

Rabbi Ari is the Director of InterfaithFamily/Chicago. She also has children who will not eat matzah ball soup or a bagel and lox and is continually surprised and dismayed at their culinary preferences. She was inspired by this story because of how culturally astute the grandparents were to how their grandchildren were being raised and […]

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The Temple Where I “Grew Up”

The other day I saw a rabbi I know post a YouTube link to one of my favorite versions of the prayer, Hashkiveinu. Hashkiveinu is one word in English but means, “Grant that we may lie down” in Hebrew. In Hebrew, prefixes and suffixes are attached to the word. It is a petitionary prayer to be […]

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Five Observations

Below are five observations from working with interfaith families that may get our hearts racing and hopefully prompt respectful discussion: 1. Language matters. God created the world with words, “Let there be light…and there was…” The rabbis said that to embarrass someone is to kill their soul—to bring blood to their face. The same word […]

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An Inclusive Holiday Wish

My Facebook feed tends to get filled with rabbis and other Jewish professionals’ lives. This is the circle I run in. Around the holidays, lots of these people offer well wishes to their Facebook friends. “To all my Jewish friends, may it be an easy fast.” What’s wrong with this statement? Anything? Am I too […]

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Interfaith Language Sensitivity

We here at InterfaithFamily believe, like the rabbis of old, that language is extremely important. The rabbis of the Talmud wrote about the power of words. God created the world with words. God said, “Let there be…” and there was. The rabbis said that to embarrass someone was akin to killing their soul (bringing blood […]

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Super Orgs!

On our Chicagoland page there is a Connect with Community tab on the left. If you click on that tab you will find many listings of Jewish organizations in Chicagoland. We list these organizations on our page so that interfaith families can read about welcoming communities in their neck of the woods. Here are a […]

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More Shabbat in the New Year?

There are more and more projects sprouting up around the country to encourage people to have Sabbath meals or Shabbat experiences with others. In the non-Orthodox world, many people who grew up with Judaism or are exploring it as adults do not have a Shabbat practice and so it takes programs to support this new […]

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Join in Our New Mentoring Program

Over the three years since InterfaithFamily/Chicago began, many brides and grooms have asked me to connect them with another couple in a similar religious situation to see how they have successfully navigated their relationship. Many times a Catholic woman marrying a Jewish man has wanted to speak to someone else who can understand how her […]

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Wanted: Members

The Chancellor of the Conservative Movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary wrote a recent article which appeared in the Wall Street Journal titled “Wanted: Converts to Judaism.” In the article, Eisen writes, “I am asking the rabbis of the Conservative movement to use every means to explicitly and strongly advocate for conversion, bringing potential converts close and […]

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Own Your Judaism

Sometimes Jews who don’t live their lives by the rubrics of Jewish law feel inauthentic in their identity or less Jewish than more observant Jews. I often hear phrases like, “we weren’t that religious” or “we were very Reform” to describe an upbringing that did not include regular synagogue attendance or Shabbat rituals, for instance.  […]

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An Enlightening Lobster Lunch

I have a tradition with a friend whose birthday is also in April, of going out for lobster to celebrate. This is the fourth year we have done this. She is a former synagogue president and Jewish volunteer and as you know, I am a rabbi. I do not promote or broadcast my decision not […]

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What Makes Judaism Distinct

InterfaithFamily/Chicago helps facilitate a class for grandparents about passing on their values to their grandchildren. The conversation can be especially nuanced and sensitive for those grandparents who have grandchildren being raised in interfaith homes in which the parents struggle with “what to do about religion and traditions.” Grandparents often say that they want their grandchildren […]

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Ask a Rabbi (Me!)

The first Monday of the month from 9-10 am I set up a booth at the Weinger JCC lobby (300 Revere Drive, Northrbook). I channel Lucy from Peanuts and her “5 cents Psychiatry booth.” I have done this twice so far. I feel a little awkward but I can’t think of a better way to make […]

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New Ideas about Jewish Newcomers

I’ve been out and about lately (Diversity Shabbat at Temple Chai in Long Grove and the PJ Library Conference in Baltimore) hearing some things that are making me think. I am a philosophizing kind of gal, so I love to hear new nuggets that stop me and give me pause. These are random comments I […]

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You Shall Be Holy

I will be speaking as part of Diversity Shabbat on Friday, April 25. The Torah portion for this Shabbat includes the well-known and still profound statement, “You shall be holy, for I, the Eternal your God, am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). This difficult demand is directed to “the whole Israelite community” (19:2). It is addressed not […]

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Passover Memories

I have visceral memories of Passover as a child. It was a time, not a meal. My mother who worked more than full time was home. We would rush to the kosher butcher for a huge slab of brisket. I loved going (this was the only time we went to the butcher during the year) […]

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Talking Interfaith at TribeFest 2014

Lindsey Silken and I recently attended TribeFest which is a conference of the Jewish Federations of North America. It was an entertaining, interactive and educational celebration that drew around 1,500 Jewish young adults (ages 22-45) from across North America to the city of New Orleans. Some of the attendees are professionals at Federations, synagogues, Jewish […]

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Rabbi Ari Moffic’s Sermon on Today’s Judaism

The following is my sermon given on March 7, 2014 at Temple Beth El in Munster, IN. The weekly Torah portions now move into the book of Leviticus. The Five Books of Moses are referred to by Hebrew names which are the first main word in that section of Torah. Leviticus is known as Vayikra […]

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Tell Your Congregants: Don’t Go

So many couples I marry have one partner who grew up at an area congregation but left after their bar or bat mitzvah. I have thought about creative ways to reunite this person and now this couple with their synagogue of origin, so to speak. There is probably still a picture of them from some […]

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Why Rabbis Ask Couples Getting Married About Future Children

In the recent article in The Forward, a Rabbi in Los Angeles explains that he will officiate for an interfaith couple at their wedding if they commit to a Jewish future, Jewish education for their children and a Jewish home. A Conservative Rabbi who left his rabbinical union over being able to officiate at interfaith weddings […]

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Getting a Hebrew Name

As our booklet on baby girl naming ceremonies explains, names are the beginning of identity formation. Choosing your baby’s name helps to shape the kind of person you are hoping the baby will become. By selecting a Hebrew name, you connect your child to the generations that precede him or her, a community and a […]

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Judaism the American Way?

A recent blog has stirred up some disapproving comments on our Facebook page. This couple split their holiday card in half with the husband on the Christmas side and the wife on the Hanukkah side. The wife says, “We do it ALL.” They “bake” latkes. This is interesting considering the “traditional” way to make latkes […]

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Synagogue Can Be Your Second Home

My children are too at home at our synagogue. Their dad is the rabbi there and they feel that his office is their play place. They know every inch of the building, including where to find snacks that aren’t theirs to take. They know the staff. They feel comfortable expressing themselves during services. I have […]

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A Mantra For Holiday Stress (and other challenging circumstances)

I know we are supposed to be in a time of joy and merriment but if you’re feeling like I am, everything is overwhelming right now. Preparing for the holidays can be busy! Are you shopping, cooking, traveling, negotiating, planning, decorating, compromising, missing and wishing? Are you feeling well or exhausted? Are you busy squeezing […]

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My Life is Changing

I often feel that life is a series of days unless we pause occasionally to celebrate. There are definitely highs and lows of each day and some events stay with us for days or weeks, but generally days and weeks come and go. This is why entering a period of pause each week, called Shabbat […]

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Who is IN and Who is OUT?

I recently attended a think tank talking about how to expand “our” reach to interfaith families, Jews of all hues and LGBTQ individuals, couples and families. This is the visual I made during the sessions. Who is the “our?” Who do “we” want to reach and why? Do people want to be reached in this […]

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Chicagoland: Let’s Talk

We here at IFF talk a lot about insider/outsider language and how those in Jewish life can be sensitive to language that not all who find themselves in the Jewish community may know. So, I thought I would take this chance to make sure you all know how the IFF website works. InterfaithFamily is a […]

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The Conversation Starts Here

Jewish educators (including me) are constantly writing about interfaith families—how to engage them, what their challenges are, what this means for the current state and future of Judaism. I thought an interesting way into the conversation would be to record quotes I have heard this week. These quotes are taken from different people and were […]

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An Interfaith Family’s Bar Mitzvah

I recently had the honor of working with an interfaith family as their son, Jonah, prepared for his Bar Mitzvah. Here are his powerful words which describe what the study, process and ceremony meant to him. His family is part of a Jewish community that gathers for the holidays, and Jonah is excited to be […]

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Moms and Membership

I recently had the honor of meeting five women who are due with their first babies in the fall (one brought her four week old). While none of them grew up Jewish, they are married to Jews and they want to create a home with Judaism (traditions, holidays, values) for their growing families. They all […]

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Jewish Educators: Keeping It Real

My last blog post was a plea to program providers to look at their enrollment forms with new lenses this summer. This blog post is for Jewish educators with the hope that they keep it real and honest with their curriculum. Some synagogues have a ritual policy that women who are not Jewish cannot light […]

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Boxed In: The Call in Option

It’s that time of the summer when we need to register for fall activities. This blog is a request to synagogues administrators, Jewish preschool and day school directors and program providers to look at your enrollment forms, preferably with a participant who isn’t Jewish to figure out how to best ask questions to get the […]

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Belt It Out!

In my head I am an opera singer. When I sing in the shower, it sounds so good. Yet when I sing out loud, I quickly realize that I am not in tune and even my 4-year-old now tells me so! He attends the JCC Appachi Village Day Camp. He comes home every Friday singing […]

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What Apple Stores Can Teach Synagogues

A Reform educator in town, Vanessa Ehrlich, wrote an interesting blog post recently. She spoke about how much she has enjoyed the one-on-one tutorial sessions the Apple Store provides. They are a safe space to ask any and all computer and technology questions and receive easy to understand information that is useful and relevant in […]

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The Invasion of Skokie

In discussing interfaith marriage, language matters. I was reminded of this truth in watching the play Invasion of Skokie. The play pivots on the 1978 Nazi march in Skokie, Illinois. At the time, Skokie had a very high percentage of Holocaust survivor residents. The American Nazi party petitioned the city of Skokie for the right […]

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Sliders and Moon Jars Oh My…

If you have never taken your children to visit the Chicago History Museum, June 9 is your day. The Chicago History Museum is a gem for us in Chicago. Visitors of all ages will find  stories, information about their city, and fun and interactive exhibits. The museum is featuring a very special exhibit at this time called […]

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Being Part of a Community Conversation

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington sponsored Welcoming Interfaith Families: A Community Conversation on April 28. Ed Case and I attended along with other representatives from fellow interfaith engagement organizations. Clergy and professionals from area organizations shared the work they are doing to welcome and engage interfaith families. Interfaith couples came to discuss their journey […]

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Preparing Parents For Their Child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah

We run two online courses for parents in interfaith families. One course is for parents with young children, and the other course is for parents with 4th-7th graders preparing for bar or bat mitzvah, whether in the early stages of the process of anticipating the ceremony in the coming years. Most of the families who […]

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You Are Wanted!

As you may have surmised from my blogs over the past months, I love coming up with ideas about Jewish education and engagement. I actually enjoy philosophizing about this kind of thing! To the depths of my being, I find that liberal Judaism adds meaning, purpose, joy, order, connectedness, spirituality, and so much more to […]

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Try Being a Stranger

We speak a lot about the importance of welcoming interfaith families to organized Jewish life. Congregations contact us to think about how they welcome people to their community. From the messages and images on a website, to the way the phone is answered, to what happens to couples calling for help with interfaith life cycle […]

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Membership Possibilities: the Give and Take Model

Many rabbis I meet with me tell me that they need more members in their synagogues. They want to retain their current members while adding new members. Congregations have tried different models for making membership more appealing to more people, from suggested donations rather than membership dues to low cost membership for the first year […]

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Love Is In The Air

Is an interfaith ketubah Legit? Love is in the air… (Is it wrong for a rabbi to say “happy Valentines Day“?) One question couples typically ask me as we go over their wedding ceremony is, “can we have a ketubah even if my partner isn’t Jewish?” A ketubah is a Jewish marriage contract, a tradition […]

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Something I’ve Been Thinking About…

I love brainstorming ideas for Jewish education and engagement (outreach). One idea I’ve been tossing around is about supporting interfaith couples who have Jewish clergy present at their wedding or union. These couples are our future. These couples cared about and felt connected enough with Judaism to seek out (sometimes in a tough process) Jewish […]

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Rethinking the Bar or Bat Mitzvah

A rabbinical student recently wrote a post for Kveller called Ban the Bar Mitzvah. In the post, he argues that bar and bat mitzvahs generally fail for four main reasons. They don’t accomplish much, they aren’t part of Jewish tradition or continuity, the money parents pay for the bar/bat mitzvah keep synagogues afloat which would […]

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Jewish Dreams For Your Pre-Teen

As this New Year begins, we may have many hopes and dreams about what the months ahead will bring. Maybe you have an 11- or 12-year-old and have hope somewhere in your heart and mind that this child could somehow experience the rite of passage within Judaism called a bar or bat mitzvah. Maybe this […]

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Hanukkah Can Be Hard!

Here are some of the challenges I hear from interfaith couples about Hanukkah: Lighting the menorah is too complicated. Do you agree that it is easier said than done to light the Hanukkah menorah (also called a hanukkiah)? You have to put the candles in from right to left but light them left to right. […]

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Trees Are Sensitive

For years now, synagogues and Jewish community centers have been offering “December Dilemma” programs. The programs are centered on figuring out what to do as an interfaith family about the Christmas tree and all that comes with it in a Jewish home with children being raised with Judaism. One might wonder why a Jewish family […]

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Understanding Our Commandments

We are half-way through one of our online classes, Preparing for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in Your Interfaith Family. One of the sessions is about the concept of “mitzvah,” the word in the name of this life cycle event, “bar mitzvah” or “bat mitzvah.” Mitzvah is a Hebrew word that means commandment. The word […]

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Learning to Pray

This summer I met with the senior staff at Temple Chai in Long Grove, IL. The staff told me about a chavurah (fellowship group) that had grown organically at their synagogue, made up of mostly interfaith families with young children. One request the staff at Temple Chai had heard from the parents in this group […]

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Where Are Your Kinsmen?

I recently officiated a wedding in which there were only a few Jewish people there (and I was one of them). I had met the now bride a few years ago, when she came to me to study about Judaism. She had grown up with Christianity and as an adult was searching. She had always […]

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Coming In The Front Door

I’ve heard rabbis say that the most important part of the synagogue is not the ark where the Torah scrolls are kept but the front door. It seems that at the forefront of outreach techniques are ideas for synagogue staff and lay leaders for how to be welcoming, how to help ease the way into […]

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The Bridal Expo

As I have blogged about before, one of the biggest challenges to expanding the work we are doing here in Chicago is finding interfaith couples who may want Judaism in their lives but who have not yet connected with synagogues and/or clergy. We decided to get creative in our pursuit: we booked a booth at […]

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What Can I Say?

I have lead three workshops recently for religious school teachers and the same frustration came up each time. Teachers wanted me to tell them what to say when a child said x, y, or z. I veer away from giving teachers a script (I provide broad guidelines to think about) because I think each situation […]

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Log Into Parent Education This October

Find out more about the upcoming class in Chicagoland, Preparing for Bar or Bat Mitzvah in Your Interfaith Family.

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Can Raising Children in One Religion Be Clear Cut?

Each week I post a . We love your feedback, so check each Monday by 5pm for the question of the week and respond! This week, was about whether parents with young children were joining congregations and registering children for religious school to start in September. In my family, I am busy signing our 5-year-old […]

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The Importance of Jewish Education

I read a post on the Reform Judaism blog with great interest, as, based on the title alone, clearly jibes with my beliefs. The authors offer 12 tips to keeping youth engaged in/with Judaism through the end of high school. As too many youth end their education with their bar/bat mitzvah, this is a great […]

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Language, Inclusion and Entry Points

I recently spent an hour with college juniors, talking about how the Jewish community can respond to interfaith couples and families.  There was resistance when I suggested that synagogue websites translate all Hebrew/Yiddish terms and any insider language so that anybody new to Judaism – a new member of a Jewish family or anyone Jewish […]

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What Do Violin Lessons Have to Do With Religious School?

My 5-year-old daughter just started violin lessons. Her lessons use the ; parents come to lessons and learn along with the child so that when then child practices at home, the parent can help. Parents are expected to take notes during lessons and often video pieces of the lesson to watch with their child at […]

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Love and Religion is Starting in August

I have blogged[/url] about[/url] the[/url] workshops[/url] and[/url] classes[/url] that we offer through InterfaithFamily/Chicago. This time, I want to go into more depth about a workshop we offer four times a year: . [table][tr][td][/td][td] Developed by a psychologist who specializes in marriage counseling, Love and Religion is offered throughout the country, usually housed in Jewish community […]

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Connecting With You, Chicagoland

The InterfaithFamily/Chicago initiative began this past July. Since then, I have connected with clergy across the denominations, with religious school and preschool teachers working in Jewish settings, with Jewish communal professionals, with couples getting married and with interfaith parents with young children. With professionals, I have talked about how to be welcoming to interfaith families, […]

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Responding to a Recent Article About our Parenting Class

Chai Wolfman, a contributor to OyChicago, recently , Raising a Child with Judaism in Your Interfaith Family. She wrote that the great thing about having the material online is that she could come to it in five minutes here or there and get a nugget of content to ponder. Even though this class has ended, […]

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Clergy Panel On Interfaith Marriage

I had the privilege to sit on a panel Monday night, May 20th, joining other clergy in expressing our views on interfaith marriage. This discussion was sponsored by the Winnetka Interfaith Council. The panelists were: Jena K. Khodadad, Bahai Faith; Rev. David Lower, Winnetka Presbyterian Church; Rabbi Samuel Gordon, founding rabbi of Congregation Sukkat Shalom […]

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Shabbat Family Worship: Is it Possible?

We just finished an online class called Raising a Child with Judaism in Your Interfaith Family[/url]. Participants came to their computers on their own time and read essays, watched videos, read narratives written by other interfaith families and discussed with each other the content and meaning of the eight sessions. The sessions were about major […]

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Teaching the Why?

I attended part of the International Institute for Secular Humanist Judaism’s Colloquium at Northwestern this past weekend. The theme of the Colloquium was . Paul Golin, Associate Executive Director of the Jewish Outreach Institute, explained that when Jews came to America the question they had was how to be American. Then, the community got so […]

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Thoughts on Jewish Identity

The Winter 2012 edition of , the journal of The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life, is devoted to the question, “What is Identity?” You can read the issue . The following are excerpts I found to be the most thought-provoking. They offer a snapshot into the issues raised in this publication. I’ve included my responses […]

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A Sneak Peak at Our Online Parenting Class

InterfaithFamily/Chicago is currently offering an online/in-person hybrid class called How to Raise a Child with Judaism in Your Interfaith Family. We have 21 families – raising young children – from all over Chicagoland participating. The participants come to their computers in spare minutes to access the content of each week’s session. They can read essays […]

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Lots of Questions For Teens From Interfaith Homes

I had the opportunity to join in a Chicagoland Teen Visioning Meeting, led by the Federation (JUF) with representatives from different youth movements and youth programs in the area. We broke into small groups and spoke about how to better use technology to reach teens, how to keep teens post-bar/bat mitzvah in learning and organized […]

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Lessons Learned From our First Love and Religion Workshop in Chicagoland

We just finished our first Love and Religion Workshop in Chicago, a four-session workshop developed by Dr. Marion Usher in D.C. and offered at JCCs across the country. The workshop, for interfaith couples who are seriously dating, engaged or newly married, seeks to engender discussion about the role of religion in their lives. Couples can […]

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Writing a Religious School Pledge for All Families

From the moment I left the Kallah that we co-lead with the Community Foundation for Jewish Education, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. One piece that I have been giving a lot of thought to is what I would write in my religious school handbook concerning interfaith families if I were still the Director of […]

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Be a Fly On the Wall: Hear What Jewish Leaders Talk About

InterfaithFamily/Chicago co-lead the Community Foundation for Jewish Education (CFJE) Principal’s Kallah on Sunday and Monday, January 29 and 30. About 20 Chicagoland Jewish educators (including directors of lifelong learning, religious school principals and early childhood directors) from the gathered at the Schaumburg Hyatt Place on Sunday evening. Anita Diamant was the key-note speaker; she spoke […]

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Interfaith Family Shabbat- Total Joy

Friday, January 13, we hosted a JCC Makor Shabbat for Interfaith Families with Young Children, a community dinner organized by the JCC Shure Kehilla. The guidelines for the dinner we hosted were that participants need to be 21-39, and some of the parents who came to our house were pushing this, but everyone loved the […]

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Is This You?

InterfaithFamily/Chicago is offering our first two classes this year, which I am excited to be facilitating. The first class is for , offering the chance to think through how they want to bring religion into their lives. The second class is for , trying to figure out how to bring aspects of Judaism to their […]

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A Holiday Disclosure

How did a Jewish psychiatrist end up playing Santa Claus for his daughter 35 years ago? Is it possible that this could connect in any way to this same daughter now being a Sunday school teacher? And, even more of a possible stretch, even connect to her younger brother becoming a Rabbi and who also […]

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How Can a Religious School Teacher Respond?

I recently spent an hour with religious school teachers in a Reform synagogue, talking about the children from interfaith homes in their classrooms. It amazed me just how emotional and personal even talking about interfaith families was for them. Everyone had a story to share about someone in his or her own family who intermarried […]

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New Question of the Week: The Home Front

When , I asked two questions: Do interfaith families want their own unique programs and opportunities within synagogues, JCCs and other organizations? And should we be asking more about the religious background of parents and couples in organizational membership forms? These are two important questions that we should be talking about so that Jewish institutions […]

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Questions Coming up in Chicagoland

One of the highlights of my new work as Director of InterfaithFamily/Chicago has been meeting with area rabbis and educators.  We have been having the most interesting discussions about the families in our communities, the meaning of religiosity and identity today, whether interfaith families want programming just for them, how to bring in the 85% […]

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