Love and Religion

Interfaith Consultation for Jews and their Families

How Would Hogwarts Host a Seder: Inclusive Passover Traditions for the Modern Muggle Jewish Family

Guest Post By Lara Nicolson, Interfaith Engagement Director at the Baltimore JCC As a child, Passover was my favorite family holiday, we hosted Seders with my extended family, including my two living grandmothers, my aunts and my three girl cousins, so our celebrations always involved beautiful and confident female voices leading the songs, asking the questions and making lots of jokes. Our mothers were amazing hosts and cooks and hand-made all the Passover foods from their Lithuanian roots, including herring, imberlach (ginger candy) and of course matzah ball soup. They would adapt the recipes using ingredients they found in South Africa and would make their own kosher-for-Passover wine with grapes from the local vineyards. Fast-forward 40 years to Baltimore, Maryland, and my immediate and extended family here represents a new Jewish reality—we are diverse in Jewish denominations, nationalities, gender orientation and faith backgrounds. My husband is not Jewish, and though we are raising our children in a Jewish home, their connections and interests are far from my homogenous upbringing. Over the last 12 years, we have adapted our Passover traditions to ensure that they are meaningful to everyone. We’ll include vegan-friendly dishes, and compare the Passover story to current political […] Read More >

Guest Post: Lisette Partelow’s Jewish Journey

Mazel Tov to Lisette who has made the decision to become a Jew. Her conversion will take place at the Beit Din held at Adas Israel’s Mikveh. She studied at Temple Sinai with Rabbi Jessica (Oleon) Kirschner and Rabbi Stephanie Bernstein. Lisette has elegantly described the process in this beautiful essay she wrote. I hope you will take the time to read it. -Marion Usher “I was raised Catholic, but…” followed by a shrug to show my ambivalence. I suppose my Jewish journey started with that offhand remark, made in 2007 in the atrium of my graduate program’s building to a then acquaintance who also happened to be my future husband. He was inviting me to a Yom Kippur break fast and a friend’s birthday party later that evening, which I guess you could call a first date. Unbeknownst to me, I had given him the green light. Though I wasn’t Jewish, I was what he would later call “religiously ambivalent,” which was second best. And religiously ambivalent I was. Allow me to back up a little bit so you have some context. My mother is a religious Catholic and growing up we went to church every Sunday, church school, and CCD. […] Read More >
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Thanksgiviakah Cookies

Thanksgiviakah season is upon us! Yesterday, my granddaughter, Tess, and I made cookies to celebrate. I loved spending time with Tess in the kitchen! Below is Tess’s recap of our day together. Enjoy! Today Nana and I are going to make cookies. Nana made two different kinds of dough so we could have a taste test. First we got the dough out of the fridge. Next, I rolled out half a portion of dough. My favorite cookie cutters are the Jewish Star, the menorah, the turkey, the dreidle, the apple, and the snowman. For Thanksgivakah we included the dreidle and the turkey. I put sprinkles in the first batch of cookies. Nana bought lots of decorating icing so we used them to decorate all the rest of the cookies. We like the brown sugar recipe better. Cooking with Nana is fun because she lets me eat the cookies. She also lets me eat the raw dough. Please don’t tell my parents!!!! Happy Thanksgivakah from my family to yours!       Nana’s Sugar Cookie Recipe: What you need: ½ cup butter 1 cup brown sugar 1 egg 1 tsp vanilla 2 cups flour 1 tsp baking powder ¼ tsp salt […] Read More >
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Guest Post from my Great-Niece Marnie Kremer: Hillel at UVA

You all might remember my great-niece, Marnie Kremer, she posted here about her experiences as a Jewish camp counselor. Today, Marnie is back with a post about her experiences as a leader at the UVA Hillel. I am very proud of Marnie, and the fantastic work she is doing for Jewish youth! Since the beginning of this year, I have been working with my fellow leaders at the UVA Hillel to organize a program called First Year Connection. First Year Connection works to introduce incoming first years to Jewish life at UVA, and acts as a resource for information about life at UVA in general. So far First Year Connection has: created a Facebook Group to let students know about the activities going on at Hillel, and created an intramural basketball team for Jewish first years to get to know each other outside of Hillel. Older members also act as mentors for first years. We meet them at their dorms so they don’t have to walk to Hillel alone, and we talk to them about how they can become involved in Hillel leadership. The most important thing to me about my work with this program is to create connections among […] Read More >
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