Opening Our Doors to Interfaith Couples: The Approach of the Jericho Jewish Center

Interfaith couples are underserved and in some cases even shunned by the community. It is not uncommon for interfaith families to close themselves off to organized Jewish activities. At the same time, the lack of receptiveness of many branches of the Jewish community has left a large number of interfaith couples looking to find some way to belong, on their own terms. There are so many interfaith couples who are not connected to any Jewish organization, at times because of previous bad experiences that have led to feelings of shame and inadequacy. As a Jewish community, we are making a mistake by pushing such couples away. Instead, we need a sensitive approach to outreach that welcomes and nurtures new connections with the Jewish community. We need to show these families that there is a place for them in our community, that our tent doors are wide enough for them to be welcomed and embraced.

 

How do we do this? My congregation, the Jericho Jewish Center, is creating a networking group for interfaith families. We are also creating individualized learning opportunities to address each couple’s individual needs. Our goals in this regard are to provide opportunities to for interfaith couples to interact with other couples who might be experiencing similar things as well as to create a personalized program of exploration of Judaism for each couple which is non-threatening to the non-Jewish partner. 

 

If you are part of an interfaith relationship and you feel “out of place” in the Jewish community, you need not any longer. Join us for an introductory meet-and-greet on Sunday March 8th from 6:00-7:30 pm at City Cellar Wine Bar & Grill (1080 Corporate Dr in Westbury) with other interfaith couples in a welcoming, supportive and non-judgmental group setting. RSVPs are encouraged to 516-938-2540 or at  rabbi@jerichojc.org. Can’t make that Sunday but would like to participate? Please give me a call at the above number. I would be happy to meet with you, hear your story and demonstrate how welcoming our Jewish community truly can be.

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