Julie Wiener's In the Mix

Welcome to the Hall of Mirrors

 On the off chance that you haven't seen my article about interfaith dating in our annual special section Directions, which this year is on the theme of "Singles," I offer you this link.

Gotta Love Those Israeli Rabbis

I will never again pull an all-nighter, or even half-nighter, if I can help it!

Last night, I was up past 1 a.m. trying to finish writing an article about Israel education and advocacy in the United States. Whenever I write about Israel, my head starts spinning and my own opinions dart all over the ideological spectrum depending on what I’ve read most recently.

This morning, I dragged myself out of bed with a headache that no amount of caffeine can remedy, a complete incapacity for thinking clearly about anything, and the joy of this delightful headline: “Dozens of Israeli rabbis forbid renting to gentiles.”

Return Of The Chanukah Lady

I know Chanukah has caught many people by surprise this year, what with arriving LESS THAN A WEEK after Thanksgiving! However, my kids have been preparing for over a month, by playing with dreidels (we have a zillion lying around the house), counting down the days and of course perfecting their gift wish lists.

Witnessing their excitement and joy in the holiday has been really heartwarming. Nonetheless, I’m still struggling a bit to overcome my inner Grinch by tonight: I’ve been feeling a bit overburdened by Chanukah’s various demands, particularly with the holiday arriving at such a busy time of year. In addition to attending two Chanukah events this week at our temple, we’re hosting a family gathering on Saturday night, and I’m visiting both girls’ classes in my annual role as Jewish Ambassador/Chanukah Lady. (My mom used to do this when I was little, so it’s a family tradition.)

Mixed Feelings About MixedBlessing

 Do people still send Christmas and Chanukah cards?

The last time I was organized enough to sit down with a stack of envelopes, stamps and list of addresses, was in 1998, when I was sending out wedding invitations. I’m sure that were my lapsed Catholic hubby and I to marry now, we’d probably notify the guests via Evite.

Some Reading Material

I’m trying to finish three large articles before Thanksgiving, all while doing a fair amount of editing (and did I mention that I officially work only three-quarters time?!), so the blog is getting pushed through the cracks a little this week.

To tide you over while I have a nervous breakdown, er finish my other assignments, I hereby link you to some topical pieces appearing elsewhere on the Internet:

Underpaid Women Not Worrying About Intermarriage

Intermarriage is not the central focus of a new study about people working for American Jewish organizations.

Rather, the most dramatic finding (according to me) of the Jewish Communal Service Association of North America/Berman Policy Archives study can be summed up this way: Jewish women workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!

Share Your Interfaith Dating Stories With Me!

Perhaps it’s just because I have trouble with decisions and uncertainty, but my own experience was that inter-dating my now-husband Joe was much more stressful than being intermarried to him (not that our marriage is particularly stressful).

The issue for me was that, while my entire family has been nothing but thrilled with Joe from Day 1, I spent much of our courtship worrying that my more traditional Jewish friends and the Jewish people with whom I worked would disapprove of me and would try to persuade us to break up.

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!)

When Getting Engaged To A Gentile Leads To Greater Jewish Engagement

A touching article last week about Michael Kellogg, a 24-year-old Birthright Israel participant who tragically died on the trip, offered yet another reminder of how outdated and inaccurate much of the old conventional wisdom about intermarriage is.

The Jerusalem Post piece, written by former Jewish Week staffer (and now blogger) Sharon Udasin, notes that Kellogg, raised secular, started attending synagogue a few years ago when his non-Jewish fiancée, Hope Fargis, encouraged him to research his roots and explore his faith.

'Forever Young' Forever And 'In The Mixis'

Have I unfairly smeared the song “Forever Young”?

Adam Kotok has directed my attention to a lovely Hebrew cover of the song (video embedded below) done by his wife Dafna Israel-Kotok, the musician who saved my daughter’s Israel-themed birthday party. In addition to performing at parties, Dafna runs some very cool all-in-Hebrew children’s music classes called Shir Fun.

I like her “Tamid Tzair,” although it would be great if the video featured a more racially/ethnically diverse selection of families.

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