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Educating Our Children: Embracing Judaism & Celebrating Diversity
The purpose of this Men's Club breakfast program was two-fold: First, to foster constructive dialogue with Temple members about the realities of intermarriage in Jewish families by emphasizing the benefits that can be realized from embracing increasingly diverse family units; and Second, to enhance the efforts of the Temple's clergy and lay leadership in reaching out to interfaith families who are affiliated with the Temple (as well as potential new members) in the hope of making them feel that they are a welcome and a valued part of the Beth El Temple community.
This Sunday morning breakfast program was co-sponsored by the Men's Club and the Temple in an collaborative effort to energize the Temple's Keruv initiative. The program began with the Men's Club's traditional bagel and lox breakfast buffet. Following breakfast, Rabbi James Rosen introduced Laura Kinyon, a licensed clinical social worker and board member of The Jewish Outreach Institute. Ms. Kinyon spoke briefly about her work with interfaith families and then introduced Ed Case, the founder and CEO of InterfaithFamily.com who spoke about his personal experience with interfaith marriage and the challenges and successes of raising Jewish children with a partner of another faith. The issues Mr. Case touched upon included: a) how much religion to share with children and at what age; b) how to educate children about religion in a dual faith family; c) negotiating holidays; d) b'nai mitzvot; e) speaking with teenagers about dating, in-marriage and intermarriage; and f) grandparents and grandparenting issues. After concluding his remarks, Mr. Case and Ms. Kinyon answered questions posed by Rabbi Rosen and those who attended the program. At the conclusion of the formal program, books from InterfaithFamily.com and The Jewish Outreach Institute were awarded as door prizes and were also available for purchase.