Ed Case

Why People Do (And Don't) Join Synagogues

What makes an interfaith (or, really, any) family decide to join or not join a synagogue?

Steven M. Cohen Promotes "Meaningless Jewish Associations"

Regular readers of this blog know that I have, on more than one occasion, criticized sociologist Steven “Intermarriage Is The Greatest Threat” Cohen. But to tell you the truth I’m starting to feel a little sorry for the guy.

While I doubt he cares about my blog missives, and while there is of course something noble about sticking to your opinions even when they are no longer fashionable, Cohen, who is a professor at Hebrew Union College and director of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive, seems to be increasingly out of step with the non-Orthodox American Jewish community. 

Encouraging In-Marriage Versus Welcoming Interfaith Families: The Great Debate

In the aftermath of his big debate with Steven "Greatest Single Threat" Cohen — “Can the Jewish Community Encourage In-Marriage AND Welcome Interfaith Families?” — InterfaithFamily.com’s Ed Case has posted some of his own remarks on the topic.

The two went head-to-head at the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly earlier this week in New Orleans. (Incidentally, Ed did not make it to the Jewish Community Hero semifinalists, but the winner was Jay Feinberg of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation. Congratulations to you Jay, even if you're not intermarried -- hard to begrudge the victory of someone who is doing important, life-saving work!)

Of Surveys And Kosher Beignets

I have to admit that at least half the time that I start those online “Survey Monkey” questionnaires, I get bored or distracted in the middle and never end up finishing them.

However, thanks to my undying loyalty to The Cause and my desire to win a $100 gift certificate to Amazon.com, I just finished the Jewish Outreach Institute’s survey to assess the “needs and preferences of American Jews” (or at least the needs and preferences of those American Jews who like shopping at Amazon.com).

InterfaithFamily.com's Big Week

 My friend Ed Case of InterfaithFamily.com is having a good week, and I am not just saying that because he lavished much praise upon me last week on his blog.

He managed to place 18th in the Jewish Federations of North America’s Jewish Community Heroes Campaign, making him one of 20 semifinalists in the contest. Plus IFF, along with the Jewish Outreach Institute and several other groups that promote a more welcoming, inclusive and accessible Jewish community (including Jewish Milestones, Be’chol Lashon and Keshet), made the annual Slingshot list of 50 innovative Jewish organizations/startups.

Lazy Bloggers And Mark Zuckerberg's (Gasp!) Non-Jewish Girlfriend

Mea culpa, al chet and all that. Among my other shortcomings, I’ve been one lame blogger lately, posting nary a word for a whole week. And my sole flimsy excuse is the fact that I am, like other Jews, just now emerging from a month-long orgy of holidays.

Admittedly, the more observant Jews – the ones who spend the evening and morning of each yom tov in synagogue while refraining from electricity, driving and hundreds of other offshoots of the 39 melachot – have a better case for using the Jewish holiday excuse. Especially since most (unlike me) work for companies and organizations that remain open on said holidays and who, when not doing the aforementioned malachot-refraining and synagogue-attending, have had to scramble to build a sukkah, do laundry, cook and so forth.

Heroes, Outreach And Other News From Fooderation (er, Federation -- Got Fasting on The Brain)

My friend Ed Case of Interfaithfamily.com is becoming Mr. Jewish Federation!

In November, he’s on the roster of speakers at the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly in New Orleans, appearing in a panel entitled “Can We Encourage In-Marriage and Welcome Interfaith Families?” He’ll be debating none other than Steven “Intermarriage=Single Greatest Threat” M. Cohen: I’m hoping they live stream or at least videotape this exchange, in which case I’ll of course embed it here, if I can figure out how!

What Do Gary Shteyngart, Chelsea Clinton and Steven "Intermarriage Sucks" Cohen Have In Common?

 I have been greatly remiss in my blogging duties this week, due to writing four articles (and editing countless more) for an upcoming Jewish Week special section on education.

I do hope you all managed to find something to read in my absence — perhaps even a book or something radical like that! The demise of old-fashioned printed media is on my mind these days not just because I’m a journalist but also because I’m in the middle of the about-to-be-intermarried Gary Shteyngart’s fabulous “Super Sad True Love Story,” which, in addition to satirizing virtually every aspect of our tech-obsessed modern American lives, features a romance between a Russian-American Jew and a Korean-American Christian.

Sneak Peek: My Page 1 Article/Column On Co-Officiation (And Chelsea, Of Course)

A ketubah behind them, the bride and groom stood under a chupah with a rabbi, listened to friends recite the Sheva Brachot — and at the end of the ceremony, the tallit-wearing groom stepped on a glass.

But Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky’s long-awaited wedding Saturday night was not your average Jewish ceremony.

That’s not just because the parents held aloft on chairs at the reception included a former U.S. president, the current U.S. secretary of state and two former members of Congress.

And it wasn’t only because the ceremony occurred before Shabbat’s end. It was also because Rabbi James Ponet (pronounced Po-NET), Hebrew Union College-ordained and the longtime director of Yale University’s Slifka Center for Jewish Life, co-officiated alongside Rev. William Shillady, a Methodist minister.

Even as the number of liberal rabbis willing to preside at weddings of Jews to gentiles appears to be growing, co-officiation with clergy of another faith, while hardly unheard of, remains taboo.

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