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Welcoming Interfaith Families

Two studies reported in The Jewish Week (September 28, 2012) by Edmund Case, CEO of Interfaith Family, indicate that 50% of non-Orthodox marriages in New York City are interfaith marriages. Of those, 31% are raised Jewish, 11% are raised “Jewish and something else”, and 13% have parents who are undecided.

In surveying interfaith families about what attracts them to Jewish participation, one study found that explicit expressions of welcome matter “a lot.” Feeling welcome and valued and being included are very important in attracting and keeping interfaith families.

On the other hand, feeling that there are barriers to inclusion, and identifying children of a Jewish father as not Jewish, are turn-offs. Read more »

Proof of Jewish Identity

In an article in the Jerusalem Post [January 12, 2012, “Removing Stumbling Blocks to Jewish Identity], author Reuven Hammer criticized the Israeli Chief Rabbinate for making it harder than it is supposed to be to prove you are Jewish:

“In 2010 the Israeli Chief Rabbinate decided to require documents proving the Jewishness of one’s mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and greatgreat- grandmother when applying for marriage. Needless to say this is a near impossibility for most people. Is this really Jewish law? Read more »

Jewish Future Will Thrive on Devotion, Not Demographics

There was an article in the Chicago Sun-Times with the above title, basically saying our goal shouldn’t simply be to survive — it should be to thrive! It goes on to say:

“Though a lot of contemporary Jewish leaders are worried about our future, our own past suggests we’ll be just fine. It’s not about numbers, and it never has been. Devotion, not distribution, always has been our hallmark as a people. Read more »