Year-end Round-up

It’s been busy since Thanksgiving — here’s a round-up of intermarriage news at the end of 2018. What Christmas Means to Interfaith Families The Forward today published my essay, “Stop Criticizing Interfaith Families Who Celebrate Christmas.” I’m always happy to appear in the Forward. But writers don’t get to pick titles, and the point of

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Stop Criticizing Interfaith Families Who Celebrate Christmas

This essay was originally published in the Forward. This month, many interfaith families are celebrating Christmas. Unfortunately, there won’t be many expressions of “Happy Holidays” coming from the Jewish world. Recently, Gil Troy described the very existence of intermarriage as “the great unspoken yet perennial source of anguish haunting the Jewish world…American Jewry’s great divider,”

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Let’s Talk About Ahavat Ger, Relating to the Other

Reprinted with permission from eJewishPhilanthropy Over the past two years, I have increasingly felt that the Jewish community, in addition of course to addressing pressing external issues, needs to also focus inwardly on engaging more interfaith families, something that is essential if liberal Judaism is to thrive in the future. Engaging interfaith families should be

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A New Book and a New Center

I am very pleased to announce that I have written a book, Radical Inclusion: Engaging Interfaith Families for a Thriving Jewish Future, that will be published on January 15, 2019 by the Center for Radically Inclusive Judaism, a new non-profit I am in the process of launching to promote inclusive attitudes, policies and programs that

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New Strategic Plan for InterfaithFamily

I was pleased to see Jodi Bromberg’s public announcement of InterfaithFamily’s new strategic plan in eJewishPhilanthropy, It’s a New Year, and a New InterfaithFamily. Congratulations to Jodi Bromberg and the Board and staff of IFF on reaching this milestone. I have a unique perspective to offer, as the founder of the organization, now retired from

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More Negative, More Positive

Before getting to the recent news: I’ll be speaking at the Shames JCC on the Hudson in Tarrytown, NY on Sunday, November 4 at 9:30. The Rivertowns Jewish Consortium is sponsoring this community conversation; if you are in the area, I hope you’ll participate in the discussion of these questions: Why do some interfaith families

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Remembering Rachel Cowan

The Jewish world lost an extraordinary leader at the end of August when Rabbi Rachel Cowan died. Most of the much-deserved tributes have focused on her contributions in the areas of social justice, Jewish healing, and Jewish spirituality and mindfulness. I would like to highlight something that has received less attention: Rachel Cowan’s leadership in

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Progress on Officiation

InterfaithFamily has released a report on its survey of rabbis’ practices around officiation and co-officiation at weddings of interfaith couples. The highlights of the report have been covered by JTA and the Forward and follow a recent Forward story on Rabbi Joe Black changing his position on officiation after thirty years as a rabbi. The

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My Thoughts on Steven M. Cohen’s #MeToo Moment

Steven M. Cohen has been perhaps the most prominent critic of intermarriage. For almost twenty years he has been my ideological nemesis and I have disagreed quite vehemently with the substance of his analysis and interpretation of survey research. There has been wide publicity of news that Cohen repeatedly sexually harassed numerous women in his

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Language Shapes Reality

My friend Rabbi Robyn Frisch, director of InterfaithFamily / Philadelphia, wrote a wonderful Torah portion column titled “Language Helps to Shape Reality.” She notes that Jews too often use language that is insensitive to people in interfaith relationships, describing intermarriage as a problem, or suggesting people don’t “look Jewish,” or qualifying how they describe their

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