High Holiday Email Series

Posted on August 14th, 2017
This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily 

In 2017, the Jewish New Year, Rosh HaShanah, begins on Wednesday evening, September 20th and Yom Kippur, the “Day of Atonement,” begins on Friday evening, September 29th. Are you interested in learning more about how to prepare for and celebrate these High Holidays in your interfaith family? Then this three-session, once a week email series, which has been created by the rabbis from our IFF/Your Communities across the country, is for you! You will receive emails on three consecutive Thursdays (August 31 and September 7 and 14) that will help you and your family to reflect on major themes of the holidays; learn about some of the holiday liturgy; discover ways to make the holidays meaningful for you and your family; and give you questions to discuss with your partner and children.


Jewish Greetings Cheat Sheet

Posted on August 7th, 2017
This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily 

Ever hear someone use a Jewish greeting and aren’t sure what it means or how to respond? Happy and sad lifecycle moments, Jewish holidays and other occasions all have Jewish greetings attached. Here are some traditional Hebrew or Yiddish responses and their meanings—and a virtual pat on the back. You're doing fine!

The most common Jewish greeting is Shalom, a Hebrew word which means hello, goodbye and peace.

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Talking About Converts

Posted on July 31st, 2017
From Coffee Shop Rabbi

I am open about the fact that I was not born Jewish. That is a deliberate choice on my part. I have made the decision to be open about my background because I find it helpful to my work.

I worry that my openness may mislead readers into thinking that it’s OK to talk about converts. You can talk about conversion all you want. You can talk about yourself all you want. But if you talk about someone else’s conversion, you are violating an important tradition.

Continue reading.

How My Hindu Husband Became the Favorite Jewish Grandchild

Posted on July 24th, 2017

I’d been dating the man who’d eventually become my husband for about a year when my grandmother sat me down for a heart-to-heart.

“I saw Aishwarya Rai on Oprah last week. You know, the Dollywood [she meant Bollywood] actress? Stunning girl!” Then came the truth bomb: “She told Oprah that your boyfriend already has a bride arranged for him back in India. At some point, he’s going to leave you high-and-dry, marry the girl his parents chose, and move back into their house.”

Continue reading.

How cultural appropriation became good for the Jews

Posted on July 17th, 2017
By Jeffrey Salkin, Martini Judaism

I used to love watching Dana Carvey as the Church Lady on Saturday Night Live. I loved his parody of the smugness, self-righteousness and ideological assurance that is typical of the religious and cultural right.

It is true of the cultural left, as well. Especially in the area of identity politics.

It is time to talk about the issue of cultural appropriation.

What is cultural appropriation? Susan Scafidi, a law professor at Fordham University, defines cultural appropriation as “taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artifacts from someone else’s culture without permission.”

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Make My Sinai Your Sinai