One of the main goals for Judaic educational programs is to make this education readily available; but equally important, to make the education and information applicable for all types of households.
Whether you are a contemplating marriage or newly married and trying to find a way to honor the beliefs of each person, these programs can be a valuable resource.
There are new ways of welcoming and including interfaith households that appear to be growing. Whether you are new to the area and looking for a place to find information for yourself, a partner or spouse, or a place to education your children in the Jewish traditions, there are resources available. These are just a few examples below. Check with your local synagogue to see what they offer for interfaith families.
To help with this challenge, you’ll find many educational programs, classes, and opportunities to connect with others on a similar journey. A good place to start your search is at The Temple’s interfaith programs. The Andrea and Michael Leven Family Jewish Identity Institute has scheduled a comprehensive slate of events and classes especially for those who identify as interfaith couples and families (www.the-temple.org/interfaith).
If you don’t have a temple and synagogue that you attend regularly, check out that is near you or find one that appeals to you most and take advantage of their offerings. For example, at Temple Emanu-El, Rabbi Rachael Klein Miller describes their approach, “Interfaith families are completely integrated into the life of Temple Emanu-El. Any of our educational programs provide opportunities for interfaith families to deepen their Jewish knowledge and connection to the Jewish community.”
Also, on the north side in Roswell, Temple Beth Tikvah also looks at their program as a dynamic family-centered effort. Suzanne Hurwitz, the Religious School Director, explains, “Temple Beth Tikvah’s religious school is vibrant and welcoming, engaging the entire family. Our students are in kindergarten through 12th grade, and at each stage we offer many opportunities for parents to learn and discover the beauties of Judaism alongside their children.
“We welcome families of all backgrounds and make no distinction between interfaith families and families in which both parents are Jewish. Our teachers are approachable and caring, our curriculum [they primarily use ShalomLearning] is relevant, and we seek to develop lifelong learners who are passionate and curious about Judaism.”
In Sandy Springs, at Temple Sinai, Marisa Kaiser, the Charles S. Ackerman Senior Director of Learning and Engagement, explains their program this way, “At Temple Sinai, we appreciate the many ways that our interfaith families enhance our congregational community. Pre-COVID we blessed the non-Jewish parents and thanked them for the role that they played in creating and supporting their Jewish family. Throughout our educational programming, we train our teachers not to make assumptions about the religious practice of parents, and instead, to engage with each child to learn their unique circumstances and what makes their home particularly Jewish.”
We can’t make good decisions without all the information. These programs are one way to offer educational opportunities to children and their parents. It’s a way to learn what Judaism has to offer for the individual and the family in a caring environment.
There are ways to navigate an interfaith marriage, raise children, and maintain peace in the household while two different faiths are honored.
Don’t forget to check out the MJCCA site to see their programs.
- Vickie Carroll
- Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta
- temple beth tikvah
- Temple Sinai Atlanta
- The Temple Atlanta
- Temple Emanu-El
- Jewish Education
- Jewish tradition
- Andrea and Michael Leven Family Jewish Identity Institute
- Rabbi Rachael Klein Miller
- Suzanne Hurwitz
- hebrew school
- Marisa Kaiser