Mourning the Loss of a Non-Jewish Parent

Posted on December 17th, 2017
Gayle Redlingshafer Berman for Jewish Book Council


"Ima, Aunt Angela is trying to reach you. I know it's grandma! I want to go to her funeral!" My 13-year-old son was home manning the phone in Efrat while I was busy teaching piano to American girls at a school in Jerusalem. My mother had been ill for many years with dementia, that terrifying disease that steals the memory and dignity of its victims. Long before we had made Israel our home 3 1/2 years earlier, each day we had expected the call from Illinois telling us that her body had given up the fight. That moment had apparently arrived. Not having my sister's U.S. number in my Israeli cell phone, I simply continued teaching my piano student.

Soon my cell phone rang. I was sure my sister was indeed calling to tell me that what my son had suspected was true. I told my student, "I'll be right back," knowing I could handle what I had been anticipating for years. "Dad died this morning!" I couldn't believe my ears! No, she meant "Mom," my head screamed! "Dad?" I yelled! "Yes, Dad."

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My Family Celebrated Hanukkah with Our Non-Jewish Friends. This Is What Happened

Posted on December 10th, 2017
BY MELISSA HENRIQUEZ for Kveller


Salad fix-ins? Check.

Cookies? Check.

Menorah, candles, and dreidels? Check, check, check.

My husband, kids, and I were headed to family dinner at our dear friends’ house. Though she and her husband aren’t Jewish, my friend is a history teacher who loves learning about and sharing multicultural traditions.

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Tips for Interfaith Families Celebrating Hanukkah & Christmas

Posted on December 3rd, 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 26th, 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 19th, 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

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