Sarmad the Magnificently Naked 17th-Century Jewish Mystic

Posted on January 8th, 2017
By Blake Smith for Tablet Magazine  

Jewish engagement with non-Western faiths is much older than any recent ‘JuBu’ fad

On Sept. 25, 1989, shortly before receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, the Dalai Lama held a historic meeting with Jewish religious leaders, marking a new era of dialogue between Judaism and Buddhism. Since that meeting 27 years ago, American Jews’ interest in Buddhism and other Asian spiritual traditions has grown significantly. Alongside millions of “JuBus” (Buddhist Jews) are figures like the Hindu guru Ram Dass (born Richard Alpert) and rabbis who incorporate South Asian chanting practices into their worship. While this Jewish engagement with non-Western faiths is sometimes praised and sometimes criticized as a uniquely modern expression of our globalizing culture, Jews have, in fact, been exploring Asian religions and spreading Jewish spiritual insights in Asia for hundreds of years.

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Why Muslim-Jewish cooperation matters for America

Posted on January 1st, 2017
By Eboo Patel Religion News Service

Imagine receiving this message on your voicemail: “Dear Mr. Gonzalez, we regret to inform you that your heart surgery has been canceled. The medical professionals scheduled to perform it, Doctors Sarna and Latif, have discovered that they have serious disagreements about Middle East politics. Consequently, they are refusing to work together. We will do our best to find you other doctors before your condition becomes fatal.”

Seem far-fetched? In my mind, it is the logical outcome of the manner in which many Jewish and Muslim groups have chosen to engage each other in recent years. Or, rather, not engage.

From college campuses to national advocacy organizations, many Muslim and Jewish groups have made it not just a practice but also a matter of honor to boycott each other because of different views on Israel.

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Does a Catholic Mom With a Rabbi Daughter Get a Christmas Tree?

Posted on December 25th, 2016
Cindy Skrzycki for The Jewish Daily Forward

We all know that the Christmas tree can become one of the biggest points of contention in intermarried families. It can cause hard feelings, arguments and problems with the kids. In my family, we have navigated this fairly well — until this year, when I have taken it upon myself to ponder whether a fragrant pine bush in the family room will make anyone uncomfortable — specifically, the new rabbinical student who will be home over the holiday. My daughter.

Maybe it would have been better to leave this prickly issue alone, but I thought it worth examining exactly how important this tradition was to me and whether it should continue. Since we have a Catholic (me) and a Jew (my husband) in the house, and one of our children has expressed a strong preference for the latter religion by announcing that she wants to become a Reform rabbi, I needed a new way to accommodate this in my own mind.

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With Hanukkah just around the corner, find more great ideas in our Hanukkah Spotlight Kit 

Guide to Hanukkah for Interfaith Families

Posted on December 18th, 2016
This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily

This is a big year for us at InterfaithFamily, as the first night of Hanukkah falls on Christmas Eve! We’re cooking up the resources to help you plan your celebrations, whether large or small, so stay tuned for more over the next few weeks. To help you bring holiday joy to your family and friends, check out our Guide to Hanukkah for Interfaith Families and our Hanukkah cheat sheet. And get ideas from our holiday recipes, updated with your old favorites and new takes on tradition.

Continue reading in the Guide to Hanukkah for Interfaith Families.

With Hanukkah just around the corner, find more great ideas in our Hanukkah Spotlight Kit 

Yes, There’s a Cross in My Jewish Home. Here’s Why

Posted on December 11th, 2016
By Carla Naumburg for Kveller

“Mommy, can we put up Christmas decorations in the house?”

And thus began yet another December conversation. Christmas decorations are out of the question for us, as we don’t celebrate Christmas in our home. That particular line in the sand is quite clear in my mind, but that’s pretty much where the clarity ends.

My family background is a mix of secular Jews, Oklahoma Christians, and skeptical Italians. I was raised hanging pickle ornaments on Christmas trees with my mother and siblings and singing holiday carols at my Jewish grandmother’s parties.

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