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Tips for Interfaith Families Celebrating Hanukkah & Christmas

Posted on December 4th, 2017
Kveller Staff


Being part of an interfaith family can be difficult, especially around the holidays. When it comes to raising children, the question of how to fairly and fully raise your children religiously and culturally is hard because there is no right or wrong way. It’s simply about what is best for your family.

Of course, knowing that there is no wrong way doesn’t necessarily take the pressure off. Many of our readers are in interfaith marriages, many with a spouse who is Christian, or have extended family who are. Explaining to your kids why you have a Christmas tree and a menorah can be confusing, but we know it’s not impossible.

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Want more great Hanukkah ideas? Find articles, crafts, and recipes in our Hanukkah Guide.

Guide to Hanukkah for Interfaith Families

Posted on November 27th, 2017
This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily 


What is Hanukkah?

View a PDF of our Guide to Hanukkah for Interfaith Families 

Hanukkah is a holiday that commemorates the Jewish recapture and rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in 164 BCE. It's celebrated for eight days and usually falls in December. The traditional observances of Hanukkah are lighting a menorah, or ceremonial candelabra, spinning a top called a dreidel and eating fried foods. Though it is religiously minor, Hanukkah is a popular holiday. It's a happy festival in the winter, so it provides what seems to be a universally needed break from the dark and cold. It's a holiday about Jews winning a war, which is not the usual subject for a Jewish holiday. The third reason is obvious: for Jews in Christian culture, Hanukkah is the closest Jewish holiday to Christmas.

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Want more great Hanukkah ideas? Find articles, crafts, and recipes in our Hanukkah Guide.
 

We Made Our Bris Inclusive. Here’s How.

Posted on November 20th, 2017
This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily *

by Sarah Rizzo


At just nine weeks pregnant, my doctor ran a blood test and we waited on the results, full of anticipation. When they came back, we found out our baby was a healthy baby boy! Seeing is believing for me, so I waited until the anatomy scan to be sure we needed to start preparing for a boy. Sure enough, the blood test didn’t lie.

Our first baby was a girl, so after the birth, there was no rush to pull off a Jewish lifecycle event. We had done a simchat bat (also called a brit bat) celebration for her (a Jewish naming ceremony for a baby girl), but it was almost two months after she was born, so we had already started to settle into a routine and we were somewhat rested. This time would be very different. This boy would have a bris on his eighth day of life, no matter when that would fall. For my Type A personality, it was going to be tricky to relinquish control.

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*Photo by Melissa Naclerio, Modern Birdcage Photography

Planning a Japanese, American & Jewish Wedding

Posted on November 13th, 2017

This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily 


By Kristin Posner


As a fourth generation Japanese-American, I’ve often felt my heritage was slipping away from me. I grew up feeling in between the two: not quite Japanese enough or American enough, not really belonging in either category. There have been phases of my life when I’ve embraced being just American or just Japanese. It wasn’t until my conversion and our wedding that I came to realize that there is space for both.

When Bryan and I started dating, I became interested in his Jewish heritage. As things started getting serious, I felt that if we were to spend our lives together I had a responsibility to learn about his heritage too. In many ways, in Judaism I found the sense of belonging, spirituality and sense of community I had been searching for my whole life.

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Jews and Non-Jews: Interfaith Relations

Posted on November 6th, 2017
myjewishlearning.com 


Dialogue” is the watchword in defining relations between Jews and peoples of other religions, particularly in North America’s environment of religious pluralism. The emphasis on dialogue comes as a result of years of hard work on the part of religious leaders and a growing concern about religious intolerance that has continued to brew and cause turmoil throughout the world.

Leaders from the Catholic Church, for example, take a proactive role in seeking dialogue with Jewish leaders. Since the Vatican II decision of the 1960s formally ending the Catholic belief that Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death, Catholic leaders such as Pope John Paul II have attempted to change their relationship with Jewish people. All major archdiocese include specific offices of interreligious affairs, in which a team of priests, nuns, and educators work with members of clergy from the Jewish (and other) faiths. These offices often play a key role in helping to create annual community-wide Holocaust memorial services on Yom Hashoah (Day of Holocaust commemoration).

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Did You Know...?

MAJYK 2017 is coming to Beth El?  

The Mid-Atlantic Jr. Youth Kallah will be hosted by Beth El on December 15-17 to experience a taste of NFTY and learn about its traditions and lingo.  In order to make this a success we need to find host families for 150-200 middle schoolers.  Please contact our Youth Advisors, Nori and Marissa, to become a host family!

 

Beth El is raising funds for a new playground?

With seed money from Cantor Jason Kaufman's concert, the JCCNV was able to start a fund with all proceeds going towards a new playground for the preschool.  If you would like to donate towards this very worthy project, simply send your donations to Beth El Hebrew Congregation and notate "Playground."  If you donate on line, the playground fund is first on the list!

 

Lifelong Learning

Wednesdays during the school year
@ 7:00 PM
See calendar for exact dates and subjects

 

ALIVE!

For more information about ALIVE! go to alive-inc.org.

 

Beth El House

For more information go to https://www.bethelhebrew.org/community/beth-el-house

Beth El House enables formerly homeless families to work toward self-sufficiency and confidence.

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Upcoming Events

 

LIFELONG LEARNING

TONIGHT, December 6 at 7:00 PM

"The Israeli Intelligence Community"

Who is the intelligence community; what are its areas of activity, how was it established,
and what were the defining events in its history.
You do NOT want to miss this exciting speaker.

 

MAJYK

December 15 - 17

*WE STILL NEED HOST FAMILIES*

 

BOOK SORTING

December 19, 20, 21 

10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

***December 20 will also sort during religious school

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM***

 



 

 

 

 

 


There are activities, meetings, services and seminars at Beth El each week, ranging from service opportunities to Jewish learning and education, drawing members and guests from throughout the Washington, D.C. area.

the full calendar