Jewish Outreach Institute

Book Review And Interview: 'Marrying Out'

09/02/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 
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The statistical facts of Jewish intermarriage, those introduced a year ago by the Pew Research Center’s study of American Jews, are now well known. Among all recently married American Jews, a majority (58 percent) marry people of another religious background. Among the more liberal streams of American Judaism (that is, excluding Orthodox Jews) the same statistic is reportedly 72 percent. But what these dry numbers hide are the human stories behind Jewish intermarriage. These stories have been beautifully documented by Keren McGinity of Brandeis University in her recently-published book Marrying Out: Jewish Men, Intermarriage, and Fatherhood (Indiana University Press, Sept. 1, 2014).

The cover of Marrying Out. Via iupress.indiana.edu

Happy Valentine's Day, Yair Netanyahu

02/12/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 
0

It may be risky to publicly admit that I’m thinking of someone this Valentine’s Day in addition to my lovely wife. But I am, and his name is Yair Netanyahu.

Paul Golin

Gentile And Other 'Unorthodox' Moms

I’m still looking for good names for gentile women raising Jewish kids. Perhaps someone like the Jewish Outreach Institute or InterfaithFamily.com should sponsor a contest, hint hint.

Hopefully they’d come up with something better than JOI Associate Executive Director Paul Golin’s (joking I hope) suggestion to me, via Facebook, that we call them MORBs: mothers of other religious backgrounds. A bit too close to “morbid” for my taste.

UJA-Fed. Launches Outreach To Intermarrieds

First-ever welcoming effort aimed at engagement with community.

12/06/2011
Associate Editor

In a move being hailed by advocates for interfaith families, UJA-Federation of New York — the largest Jewish federation in the country — is launching its first-ever initiative specifically focused on welcoming the intermarried and engaging them in Jewish life.

UJA-Federation will increase support for programs that welcome intermarried Jews and their partners.

The ‘Wizards’ Of Greenwich

Can a ‘fun’-based Hebrew school run by a charismatic woman work magic for supplemental education?

10/25/2011
Associate Editor

Greenwich, Conn. — It’s a sunny, crisp Sunday morning in October, and inside the auditorium of the stately Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich building, about 50 kids, many wearing red hoodies and soccer shirts of various colors emblazoned with the words “Hebrew Wizards,” are sitting cross-legged on a large, brightly colored rug, singing “It is A Tree of Life,” a folk version of the song “Eitz Chaim.”

Surrounded by Wizard Boards, participants come together for prayer and music. Photos by Robert “Buster” Salomon, Jr.

MK Einat Wilf On Being Intermarried But Not Interfaith

As promised, my interview with intermarried, up-and-coming Knesset member Einat Wilf is now online, so please check it out.

In case you just want to read the in-the-mix-related highlights, I excerpt them below. Interestingly, she insists that her marriage is not interfaith, because she and her German husband share the same faith: atheism. Although I'm not atheist myself, as a very liberal agnostic, I wish American politicians could get away with this kind of unapologetic, completely un-closeted atheism.

Jewish Continuity For $14.99 Plus Shipping

I’ve been covering Jewish education for almost 15 years and have interviewed countless people telling me about the myriad challenges (not to mention the financial investment required) of maintaining and passing on our illustrious Jewish traditions.

For interfaith families alone, there is an entire cottage industry of websites like this and this brimming with suggestions, resources, how-to’s and so on for learning about and transmitting our aforementioned traditions.

Battle Hymn Of The Gentile Mom

With my vacation fading into memory (sob, sob), I’m finally catching up on intermarriage news from far and wide.

Or at least coming out of my erstwhile employer JTA (the full name, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, gives you a sense of just how long that media outlet has been around).

Judaism 2030 And Israel

One of the great things about our high-tech world is that — by e-mailing files back and forth, scheduling everything on Google Calendar and relying almost solely on my cell phone — I can, fairly seamlessly, work from home three days a week.

Alas however, one thing Google cannot yet remedy for me is my tendency to leave reporter’s notebooks in the wrong places, to lose them altogether and to forget which bag and which notebook I was using when.

Which is why today, as I am at the Jewish Week’s Times Square headquarters (doesn’t that make us sound all impressive?) and am supposed to be blogging about last week’s Jewish Outreach Institute "Judaism 2030" conference, my notebook from said conference is at this moment lying on the floor of my home office. (A rather grandiose description of the tiny third bedroom in our apartment, where my IKEA desk, laptop and cheap all-in-one printer/scanner/copier compete for space with an exercise bike and stacks of yet-to-be sorted laundry.)

Is Outreach A Bad Word?

A few weeks ago I attended a relatively small invitation-only gathering at the Upper West Side’s Congregation B’nai Jeshurun to discuss “Jewish identity, who is a Jew, membership in the Jewish community and outreach, in Israel and the Diaspora.”

As you might imagine, that was a lot to pack into a four-hour meeting. (And next month, we’ll reconvene to resolve the Israel-Arab conflict, or at least the Israel-Palestine conflict, ha ha.)

Since the conversation was off the record, not to mention a bit all over the place, I didn’t blog about it at the time. However, one thing that really struck me: how several high-profile participants, including one who has been quite outspoken about recognizing patrilineal descent, preceded their comments with “I’m not a big proponent of outreach, but…”

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