Posted on February 11th, 2018
This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily 


Purim Begins the Evening of February 28, 2018

Purim is a Jewish Halloween, a Jewish Mardi Gras and a secular New Year rolled into one. And it is not just a holiday for children who know immediately that anything with a costume will be fun. All Jews are commanded to be silly and celebrate the ancient victory against their adversaries by giving gifts of food to friends and to the poor.

Purim comes in the late winter or early spring. Jews have celebrated by dressing up as both the heroes and villains of the Purim story, as they chase away their winter doldrums and acknowledge that Purim brings springtime.

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Want more? Check out Jvillage Network's Purim Board on Pinterest. 

Want even more information on Purim? Check out Jvillage Network's Purim Guide. 

Guide to Wedding Ceremonies for Interfaith Couples

Posted on February 4th, 2018
This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily 

Finding Your Officiant(s) and Choosing a Date


Timing and Location of a Jewish/Interfaith Wedding

If you’re thinking of having a rabbi or cantor officiate your wedding, keep in mind that most Jewish clergy observe a number of limitations and restrictions on both the location and timing of weddings they perform. The rules vary a bit from one movement of Judaism (denomination) to another, but here are some of the most common limitations.

Location, location, location!

In traditional Judaism there are hardly any restrictions on where a couple can get married. A synagogue, someone’s home, a park, a non-denominational chapel or a banquet hall are all in play, as well as just about anywhere else. Some rabbis aren’t comfortable officiating in churches or sanctuaries of other religions; others are more flexible. If your ceremony is co-officiated, make sure you clear your wedding site with both officiants prior to contracting for a venue. Different religious communities have different requirements.

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Why I Write Stories About Religion

Posted on January 28th, 2018
By Chloe Benjamin for Jewish Book Council

I often attribute my interest in religion to the fact that, after my parents’ divorce, I grew up with two of them. My mom is the daughter of an Episcopalian minister, and as a child, I went to Sunday School at our local Episcopalian church. My dad, meanwhile, is ancestrally Jewish but presently atheist. I often tease him about the fact that his first wife is a minister’s daughter, and his second—my stepmother, Ellen—is a Jewish spiritual director.

Ellen grew up in Lorraine, Ohio, in a conservative Jewish family. Now a member of San Francisco’s reform synagogue Temple Emanu-El, she brought Jewish history and culture into our home. I was fascinated by the stories, the language and the traditions, from praying over candles, wine and challah on Shabbat to the rituals of Passover. When I asked Ellen to teach me Hebrew, she found an introductory textbook clearly geared toward children half my age and helped me learn.

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Kids’ Books that Matter: Enter the Land and Plant /Tu Bishvat, the Birthday of the Trees

Posted on January 21st, 2018
By Kathy Bloomfield. This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily 

When I was a girl, I spent many weekends at my grandmother’s house. She had a HUGE walnut tree in the center of her backyard. The neighborhood kids and my siblings and I, like most children, used sheets, blankets, benches and the like to create tents, tunnels and fortresses under the branches of that tree. From there we would enter the fantastic worlds of our imagination, gathering food for our children (i.e. walnuts for the dolls), walking through the desert (i.e. my grandmother’s cactus garden) or searching for magic globes (i.e. fruit from her avocado tree). The walnut tree was the starting point of every journey and the center of most of our larger family gatherings.

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Find more great ideas on JvillageNetwork's Pinterest page

WATCH: This Journalist Turned Rabbinical Student is Creating Entertaining Arabic Videos to Explain Judaism to Muslims

Posted on January 14th, 2018
By Yair Rosenberg for Tablet Magazine 

Elhanan Miller hopes to broker Middle East peace, one YouTube subscriber at a time

Several months ago, high quality animated videos explaining Jewish religion and practice began popping up on YouTube. This would have been unremarkable except for one fact: they were in fluent Arabic. Tackling such subjects as kosher food and prayer, the informative and often entertaining clips detailed how these rituals compared and contrasted to Islamic practice. Here, for example, is the video on prayer:

Watch video.

The YouTube channel, called “People of the Book” after the Qur’anic category for Jews, has quietly garnered thousands of views. It is the brainchild of Elhanan Miller, a Jerusalem-born intelligence soldier turned journalist (and Tablet contributor) turned rabbinical student who hopes to use the explainers to foster regional understanding and peace.

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