How Jewish Do I Need to Be…If I’m Not Actually Jewish?

Posted on February 12th, 2017
This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily 

By Rabbi Mychal Copeland 

I met Jeremy and Lisa at a coffee shop to plan their upcoming wedding. We had covered most of the usual pre-ceremony topics: communication, values and balancing work and home life. Lisa had a strong Jewish sense of self from her upbringing and was excited that Jeremy, who didn’t follow any particular religious tradition, was more than happy to go along for the ride. Jeremy expressed genuine interest in learning more about Lisa’s traditions.

As we were putting the final touches on the ceremony, he asked an honest and important question: “Do I need to break the glass at our wedding?” Many couples I work with both break a glass or fight over who gets to do it. Performing Jewish rituals with Lisa felt fine to Jeremy, but doing it alone seemed to be making a statement that this tradition was his. The idea of the ritual itself was not the issue, but what it represented.

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As Immigration Crisis Deepens, Jews, Muslims Draw Closer

Posted on February 5th, 2017
BY HANNAH DREYFUS from The New York Jewish Week

Forging deeper ties throughout the city as interest in interfaith group rises.

Rokeya Akhter, 53, a Muslim-American woman living in Queens, came to America from Bangladesh 24 years ago. She decided to leave her home country after her first husband robbed and then abandoned her and her then-infant daughter.

“When a husband leaves, it’s the woman’s fault,” she said. “It is nothing but a struggle in that society.” She quickly grew weary of the constant pity and the guilt and applied for a visa to the United States. She told her family she was leaving the day before her flight. “I moved here to give my daughter a better life,” said Akhter, who today works as an account coordinator for a cosmetics company. “Everything I do, I do for my daughter.”

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Thanks, Donald Trump. You Actually Brought Jews and Muslims Together.

Posted on January 29th, 2017
Ilana Schachter for The Forward

At 1:30 p.m. on the day of the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., I huddled with my group of students from the University of Pennsylvania alongside thousands upon thousands of other protesters. Our group tried to find a route around the gridlock, to no avail, when a Muslim freshman realized that the time for afternoon prayer had arrived. Lacking any means to exit the throngs, the student knew that she would need to pray right at the corner of Independence and Third, in the middle of the jam-packed protest.

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Half of today’s Jewish students are children of intermarriage

Posted on January 22nd, 2017
BY DAVID HOLZEL for Washington Jewish Week

Orwigsburg, in east-central Pennsylvania, is a town of fewer than 3,000 people. Maggie Moss grew up there with her parents and two sisters. “We were one of the only Jewish families in the area,” she says.

Hebrew school, a two-hour drive away, was out of the question. Instead, “I went to Protestant Sunday school and church for years,” she says. “I could probably give a whole Lutheran speech if I had to.”

Moss’ mother is Christian, her father Jewish agnostic — “He’s a scientific person” — and the family “loosely followed Jewish tradition.”

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Jewish, Muslim Israelis cater meals for needy children

Posted on January 15th, 2017
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c

Cooking Coexistence gives marginalized over-35 women employment and work skills, fosters friendships and provides nutrition to underprivileged kids.

With a sparkle in her eye, a traditionally garbed Arab-Israeli mother asked to speak at a recent employee meeting of Cooking Coexistence (“Tavshil Hevrati” in Hebrew), a social business in northern Israel where she’d started her very first job outside the home some six weeks previously.

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