Jewish Connection Partnership

Program Descriptions
  • Introduction to Judaism Classes
    Many Jewish organizations offer courses, lectures or informal discussions on issues of basic Judaism. The resources listed here require no prior Jewish knowledge and are not targeted at interfaith families exclusively. Introduction to Judaism programs like Derekh Torah and the Melton Mini-School are designed to foster an understanding of Judaism of benefit to any one who wants to learn. Some programs, like "Rediscovering Judaism" are designed primarily for the unaffiliated Jew but can be of benefit to both the Jewish and the non-Jewish member of an interfaith couple.

  • Jews-by-choice
    Though those that choose Judaism are in all respects truly Jewish, they often face some of the same problems-- with family and community -- as the non-Jewish partner in an interfaith relationship. For those non-Jews who do choose Judaism, Jews-by-choice groups offer essential support.

  • Mentor Programs
    By pairing up new members with established members, synagogues are able to make unaffilated people feel more comfortable in a Jewish environment. The majority of the programs listed are specifically for interfaith couples and families.

  • Interfaith Couples / Support Groups
    Such programming can vary from therapy-style discussion and support groups to holiday workshops. Programs at JCCs, Ys, and Jewish Family Service agencies are often led by people that are not members of the clergy, such as social workers. Many families feel more comfortable in a less religious, less "confrontational" setting.

  • Parents of Intermarrieds
    Most of the programs for parents of intermarrieds are discussion or support groups. Some institutions hold programs for interfaith couples that include their parents or parents of other intermarried couples.

  • Stepping Stones/Pathways
    A program originated by the UAHC that educates both the child(ren) and the parents of an interfaith family on the holidays and fundamental concepts of Judaism. The program is aimed at preschool aged children and their parents, but similar approaches have been utilized with teenagers.

  • Havurot
    Small groups that meet within religious and sometimes social contexts. The appeal of the Havurah to the interfaith family is in its size and more tightly-knit nature. A Havurah is often a much more comfortable setting than a traditional synagogue because of its informality.

  • Holiday "how to" Workshops
    These programs educate participants about the rituals, traditions and symbols of the Jewish holidays. Unless otherwise noted, the programs are open to all, not just to interfaith families. The Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) runs Times and Seasons, a program offered through synagogues that is specifically designed for interfaith couples and focuses on holiday and life cycle events as a springboard for discussions of identity and belief.

  • Outreach Shabbat
    These programs are designed to make the interfaith couple or unaffiliated Jew feel comfortable in a Shabbat service. Such programs may include speakers, discussions, or a learners' minyan (prayer group.)

  • Outreach Seder
    The Passover Seder is often used as a way to reel in those unaffiliated with the Jewish community. Some synagogues opt for a creative alternative to the traditional Seder (i.e. a chocolate seder.) Other congregations and organizations are able to place interfaith families with community members.

  • Staff Sensitivity Training
    Many Jewish organizations, particularly those that offer counseling or child-care, train their staff to be sensitive to the situation of interfaith families and couples.

  • Films on Intermarriage
    The UAHC puts out a film "When Love Meets Tradition" as a centerpiece of discussion for interfaith couples and parents of intermarrieds groups. There are also several other fine films that explore the issues of interfaith relationships.

  • December Dilemma Discussions
    These once-a-year discussions focus on the problems of being both Jewish and American around the "Holiday Season."