Love and Religion

Interfaith Consultation for Jews and their Families

Engaging Interfaith Couples Through the Arts

Engaging Interfaith Couples Through the Arts

On February 18th and 19th, Love and Religion, Theater J, Adas Israel Congregation’s Beit Midrash, the JCC of Northern Virginia, and the Washington DC JCC co-sponsored a reading of the play “Love, Faith and Other Dirty Words,” written by Kent Stephens. The play is about interfaith couples and the critical issues they face as they construct a religious life together. The purpose of the production was to reach out to interfaith couples through the performing arts, and for me, it was a monumental evening! It was the first time such an event was undertaken in our community and five groups worked together to make it happen. We also collaborated with the New Center Now of Boston, whose mission is to have this important play read in cities all over the country–Washington D.C. was the play’s first stop out of Boston! While I had read the play through a few times, I was unprepared for my intense involvement with the actors as they took on these roles. The content of the play emerged from the playwrights’ discussions with interfaith couples in various combinations of religions including: Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Hindu. The potential of this play for dialogue amongst people of many faiths is enormous. We held “talk-backs” after […] Read More >
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“Being Jewish on Valentines Day”

As some of you might remember, last year, the Washington Post’s On Faith column published some of my thoughts on the origins and history of Valentines Day. I have included a snippet of the article below, I hope you all enjoy! Here in the United States even the name of the holiday has been changed from religious to secular. No one even thinks about the religious origins of the holiday. There were in fact three St. Valentines. While all three were martyred, the patron saint of the day was indeed a benevolent soul. During the third century when Claudius III, ruler of the Roman Empire, realized that unmarried young men made better soldiers, he forbade them to marry. It is Valentine who took the risk and performed the marriages clandestinely.  He was celebrated for his acts of bravery and made a saint. The romantic aspect came much later at the end of the fifth century. The oldest valentine still in existence was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.   Click here to read the whole article, and […] Read More >
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Video: Interfaith At Adas Israel – The Sloan’s Story

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Six Tips for Conversion

Are you seriously involved in an interfaith relationship? Are pondering the idea of becoming a Jew-by-choice? Here are six tips to guide you as you go on this wonderful and important journey. 1. This tip is for the Jewish partner in the relationship, the partner who is not converting. Now is the time to express your gratitude and appreciation to your partner who is considering this life altering decision. It is imperative that you demonstrate how thankful you are to be receiving this magnificent gift. 2. Sign up for an “Introduction to Judaism” class together. Not only will you learn, you will also meet other couples who are exploring their Jewish journey. 3. Everyone who wants to convert needs a sponsoring rabbi to help guide his or her process. Before you pick someone, I would recommend visiting several synagogues together. Research the synagogues online, and go to several services before you make an appointment with the rabbi. This will help you get a feel of the synagogue and congregation, and decide if you would feel welcomed there. 4.  Go with your gut. Once you attend a synagogue where you feel welcomed, and where members of the congregation have reached out […] Read More >
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An evening of Storytelling About Interfaith Families and Their Jewish Journeys: Recap

A little known fact about Adas Israel Congregation, is that we have over 90 families in our conservative congregation who identify as interfaith. It is part of Adas Israel’s mission to integrate this group into the many facets of synagogue life, and so on December 15th Adas Israel hosted its first storytelling event that focused on interfaith families. Ten people volunteered, okay, were persuaded, to present their narratives. Each of these couples was, at one time, composed of a Jewish partner and a partner of another faith. Some have become Jews-by-choice, and some have not converted, but all are raising their children Jewish. Nine of the couples had participated in my “Love and Religion” Workshop, and one couple was in the very first session I ran 19 years ago! Each person had 5 minutes to present his or her story, and what incredible stories they were! The themes ranged from “forbidden fruit” to how “conversions can make many generations of Jews” to “what do you get when you mix an Irish Catholic with an Israeli Jew.” The audience laughed and sighed–some stories were sad, some were happy, some focused on issues still out there to be addressed, and some talked about […] Read More >
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A Little Bit of Background

For those of you who were not able to attend the fabulous event at the Jewish Federation of Washington last month – I’ve decided to post my slides, which introduce and provide background on my Love and Religion workshop. Please take a look at them – and if you see anything here that interests you, please get in touch! Power point for_april_28-2 from JewishInterfaithCouples Read More >
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Couples Reunion from the Fall 2012 Workshop, JCC in Manhattan

This is the first time that I have done this type of reunion. In the past when I did hold a reunion, it was for many of the workshop participants. It was less intimate since there were a mix of former participants. While we broke up into small groups, people were often with people from other workshops. This time, the reunion consisted only the couples that had attended the fall “Love and Religion” workshop held at the JCC in Manhattan. Read More >
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A Trip to Israel with Rabbi Bernstein

A Trip to Israel with Rabbi Bernstein

Rabbi Bernstein is one of the group facilitators for "Love and Religion: An Interfaith Workshop for Jews and Their Partners." She is planning to lead this exciting trip to Israel with a special focus on interfaith couples and their first experience in Israel. Read More >
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A Conversation with Parents of Young Adults in Interfaith Relationships

It takes great courage to talk about your concerns in front of your peer group. This is exactly what this group of parents did Sunday morning when we all met for Brunch and a conversation. Most everyone in the group knew each other. They all have young adult children of marriageable age. They all came to talk about their children and how possible it was for their children to marry Jewish partners. Read More >
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From the Washington Post: “Making meaning out of the holiday season”

Earlier this week The Washington Post’s column On Faith, featured some of my thoughts and stories on what we can do to make the holiday season meaningful . While my stories focused on interfaith couples who have chosen to make Judaism the primary religion and tradition in their households, there are a lot of important lessons and considerations that every family must address this time of year. Read More >
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