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We are the Ocean

05/14/2019 06:11:41 PM


I am a Rabbinic Fellow of a national organization called “Interfaith Family,” or IFF for short.  IFF has been around now for a couple of decades and their mission is to serve interfaith families with support, opportunity and encouragement for bringing Judaism into their lives.  Now, I have always served interfaith families.  Ever since I was a student rabbi in Merced, CA, for Congregation Eitz Chaim’s 30 families, 28 of which were interfaith, and with them, experienced one of the most vibrant Jewish communities I’d ever seen, there was no question in my mind about whether I would serve, marry, support, invite, embrace and rejoice with all couples and families seeking out Jewish life, regardless of their “Jewish pedigree.” 

Today, according to the Pew Research Study of American Jews, 72% of Jews marry someone who isn’t Jewish or wasn’t born Jewish.  “We are the ocean,” Jodi Bromberg, the Executive Director of IFF, explained at a recent conference in Atlanta, where I recently spoke about my work with interfaith couples.  Assimilation is full and complete and yet, despite the, ”very best efforts” of the organized Jewish community to hold this off, interfaith families and couples still seek out Judaism in and for their lives.  And thank goodness. 

As a Rabbinic Fellow, myself and 12 other liberal rabbis from around the US, are working with, studying with and learning from the immensely important work of Interfaith Family and they are learning from us, in our on-the-ground efforts.  What is perhaps the most interesting to me, is that the discussion towards best practices for reaching and serving interfaith couples and  families, is rarely out of tune with reaching and serving “in-married” couples and families.  “We are the ocean,” and thus the prevailing societal currents are entirely connected.  What do interfaith couples and families in search of a connection to Judaism want?  To feel welcome.  To be put at ease for what they feel like they don’t know and understand.  To be spiritually moved.  To be proud of their tradition (chosen or born into).  Sound familiar?  Join us…You already belong.

Events for the Week of 5/13/2019

  • Annual Meeting + Shabbat - Friday, May 17, 2019 - More Info
  • Saturday Morning Shabbat + Torah Study - Saturday, May 18, 2019 - More Info
  • Rock 'n' Roll Shabbat, Starring Kelly Dean, Jeremy Samuels & Lenny Golub - Friday, May 24, 2019 - More info + video
  • Kosher Pretzel Yoga - Saturday, May 25 - More info
Sat, August 8 2020 18 Av 5780