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  STAR Announces New Pilot Program to Welcome Interfaith Families

 'Call Synagogue Home' Recruits Eighteen Synagogues in Three Communities to
                      Participate in Newest Initiative

    NEW YORK, Feb. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Call Synagogue Home, the newest
initiative of STAR (Synagogues: Transformation and Renewal), is providing
eighteen participating synagogues with the resources, training and
programming to help create a warm and welcoming environment for interfaith
families in order to increase their participation in their community
synagogue.
    Research on the Jewish community reveals that many interfaith families
do not feel welcome in synagogues. Call Synagogue Home's pilot program will
provide participating synagogues with tools and communications to reach out
to interfaith families during key life-cycle events and ritual
celebrations, including beginning a Jewish pre-school or religious school,
brit milah and baby namings, divorce and death.
    "Most people are more receptive to synagogue involvement during these
life-cycle events," said Rabbi Hayim Herring, STAR executive director.
"These potential entry points are emotionally charged under any
circumstance and carry extra voltage for interfaith couples and families.
When handled lovingly, these moments can help people form positive
life-long bonds with a synagogue community."
    STAR provides research, education, innovative programming and
capacity-building skills that help synagogues respond to compelling
questions facing American Jewry. With funding from The Samuel Bronfman
Foundation, STAR has partnered with the Jewish Outreach Institute (JOI), a
recognized leader in the field of helping Jewish institutions become more
welcoming to interfaith families, to develop and deliver Call Synagogue
Home. The Samuel Bronfman Foundation, a founding partner in STAR, is
committed to encouraging Jewish communities to become open and inclusive.
    In the coming months, STAR will schedule Call Synagogue Home
presentations in three locations with significant numbers of Synaplex(TM)
synagogues, a network of more than 150 participating synagogues who offer
community-building programming that is relevant, inspirational and
significant to modern Jews. STAR will recruit extensively, but not
exclusively, from its Synaplex network. The goal is to have 18 synagogues
in the three communities participating in the pilot.
    About STAR
    Founded in 1999, STAR fosters innovation among synagogues in reaching
out to all kinds of Jews. Focusing on practical research, STAR explores
such varied topics as the role of technology in synagogue life; creative,
spiritual, cultural and educational programming in today's synagogues; and
continuing education for rabbis. More information about STAR can be found
at http://www.starsynagogue.org
    About The Samuel Bronfman Foundation
    The Samuel Bronfman Foundation (TSBF) focuses on projects dedicated to
fostering a Jewish renaissance. TSBF is an active supporter of the Hillel:
The Foundation for Campus Jewish Life, The Bronfman Youth Fellowships in
Israel, The Curriculum Initiative, and MyJewishLearning.com. More
information about TSBF can be found at http://www.thesbf.org


  SOURCE The Samuel Bronfman Foundation


Related links:
  • http://www.starsynagogue.org
  • http://www.thesbf.org

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