Radical Inclusion: Engaging Interfaith Families for a Thriving Jewish Future

Radical Inclusion: Engaging Interfaith Families for a Thriving Jewish Future

by Edmund Case

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Overview

After living an interfaith family life personally and working with interfaith families professionally, I firmly believe that engaging in liberal Jewish life can be a source of deep value and meaning not only for Jews, but equally for their partners from other faith traditions, and most importantly for the children of interfaith couples. It's a tradition that helps Jews and their partners and children live better lives and make the world a better place - one that can flourish in an age of widespread intermarriage.

But while most Jews are choosing love with partners who are not Jewish - almost three-quarters of non-Orthodox Jews are marrying someone from a different faith background - many are not choosing to engage with Jewish tradition. At a time when the liberal Jewish community is swimming in an ocean of interfaith marriage, instead of maximizing efforts to encourage interfaith families to engage, many Jews and Jewish leaders and institutions still question whether Jews can choose both to love someone from a different faith background and to engage with Jewish tradition. I say, yes, they can. Moreover, if liberal Judaism is to be vibrant and thrive into the future, yes they must, in increasing numbers.

Drawing on historical context, statistics, personal narratives and practical guidance, this unique book is for everyone interested in seeing more interfaith families becoming more engaged in Jewish life and community, and particularly for Jewish lay and professional leaders. It describes three invitations that can be extended to interfaith couples to help them live lives of meaning, raise grounded children, and fulfill their needs for spiritual expression and community, and three high-level road maps for what Jews, Jewish leaders and Jewish organizations can do to facilitate their Jewish engagement.

My central proposition is that the liberal Jewish world needs to adopt radically inclusive attitudes towards interfaith couples and partners from different faith traditions, treating them as equal to inmarried couples and Jews; adopt radically inclusive policies that embrace full participation by interfaith families including partners from different faith traditions; and implement a massive, concerted programmatic response designed to engage interfaith families.

Paradoxically, to maintain distinctive Jewish traditions, we need to be radically inclusive of partners from different faiths and the children of interfaith families. I hope this book will lead to an opening of hearts and minds for Jews, Jewish leaders and Jewish organizations, towards embracing a radically inclusive approach - and to a Judaism revitalized by the engagement of interfaith families embracing a beautiful tradition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781732938809
Publisher: Center for Radically Inclusive Judaism, Inc.
Publication date: 01/02/2019
Pages: 276
Sales rank: 1,216,065
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.62(d)

About the Author

Edmund Case is president of the Center for Radically Inclusive Judaism. A graduate of Yale and Harvard Law School, he practiced law for twenty-two years, then in 1999 earned a Master's Degree in Jewish Communal Service from the Hornstein Program at Brandeis University. He founded and served as CEO of InterfaithFamily, which grew to become the leading non-profit working to engage interfaith families in Jewish life and community, from 2001 to 2016. Past president of Temple Shalom of Newton, Massachusetts, he served on a Reform movement regional outreach committee and a Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston task force on services to the intermarried and has written extensively on intermarriage issues. His wife Wendy converted to Judaism after they had been married for thirty years. Their two children, both intermarried, are raising their four grandchildren with Judaism.

Table of Contents

Contents

Prologue

Part One The Intermarriage Landscape

1 Choosing Love—the Rise of Intermarriage in America

2 Choosing Tradition—the Jewish Community’s Response

3 How Many Jews Will There Be?

4 What Will Jewish Life Look Like?

5 Choosing Love and Tradition—Couple and Family Dynamics

Part Two Three Invitations to Extend to Interfaith Families

Invitation One Find Meaning and Spiritual Connection in Jewish Life

6 Jewish Traditions for a Life of Meaning

7 What about Christmas?

8 Expressing Spirituality in Jewish Settings

Invitation Two Find Belonging in Jewish Community

9 Being Jewish—Conversion

10 Doing JewishRadical Inclusion

Invitation Three Raise Children with Judaism

11 Welcoming a Baby

12 Raising Children—Jewish or Both?

Part Three Three Road Maps for Engaging Interfaith Families

Road Map One Attitudes

13 The Discouraging Attitudes That Need to Change

14 Radically Inclusive Attitudes

Road Map Two Policies

15 Radical Inclusion Starts at the Wedding

16 Status—Recognition and Ritual Participation

17 Intermarried Rabbis

18 Working with Families Doing Both

Road Map Three A Serious Campaign to Engage Interfaith Families

19 Building a Future of Programmatic Efforts

20 Model Pathways to Engagement

21 The Positive Impacts that Can Be Achieved

Conclusion Everything Follows from Attitudes

Epilogue

Acknowledgments

Notes

About the Author

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