Author Archives: Gina

Oy Vey

UncertaintyOne of my children is being evaluated for a fairly serious medical condition. It’s not fatal. It is treatable. But it is going to cause some changes in how we do things. All in all, it’s something we can handle. The part that’s been difficult is hanging in there while we go through the diagnostic phase.

I’m a person who is not thrilled with unplanned events – unless they are parties. Those are definitely okay with me. So – having a perfectly healthy child suddenly frequenting Children’s Hospital is not something I’m comfortable with – but then, who is? The good news is that the staff and our doctors have been wonderful. They definitely get it that it’s a stressful situation for all involved, and they work to keep it all low key.
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Bat Mitzvah Prep

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s nearly time for my third child to be called to read from the Torah.

For my first son, I was clueless. It didn’t help that we switched temples and so skipped several steps at our current temple that would have made things a great deal more comfortable. I wanted everything to go well, but in a way that is familiar to most of us who were not raised as Jews, it was sort of like dancing to music I couldn’t hear. The most difficult part was that I felt responsible for teaching my son that dance, too. Lots of other issues with my family came up… It was a miserable process from my part – BUT he did great. He was ready on time. He was comfortable during the service. He was a champ.   Continue reading

Interfaith Couple – Interfaith Family?

I blog about Judaism for interfaith families. What that means to me is that, whether or not the person who was not born Jewish has converted, will convert, or never converts, is not the point. The point is that the family itself is an interfaith family because extended family is not all of the Jewish faith. As a result, interfaith issues come up throughout the lifetime of the marriage as different life cycle events occur and/or other changes take place in the lives of the couple, their children, and their extended families. These families have a need for information and a context for some of the Jewish rituals and events they will celebrate.

Interfaith couples are couples in which there is one Jew and one person of another faith. Their need for information and guidance if they choose to make Jewish choices and raise Jewish children is a vital need. They must be able to access that information without having to change who they are or battle institutional insensitivity along the way.   Continue reading

Welcoming Interfaith Families Recap

Napkin 2 03-19-13 5.58.42 PMI attended the Welcoming Interfaith Families program today. Sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, it included speakers from a number of organizations involved in various forms of outreach to interfaith couples. There was also a break out session for the discussion of a variety of topics, as well as an opportunity for all those in attendance to ask questions and offer comments. The take away for me was that times are changing – for the better.   Continue reading

Interfaith? Plans for Sunday?

Napkin 2 03-19-13 5.58.53 PM

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is hosting an afternoon dedicated to exploring ways in which the Jewish community can be an inviting place for interfaith couples and families. The event will include a variety of perspectives, news of initiatives at the local and national level, and a play about interfaith couples. Dr. Erica Brown, Scholar-in-Residence at the Federation, will lead a conversation on what the Jewish community can do to welcome interfaith families. Continue reading

Chapter One

Working on the sample chapter for my book on enhancing your Jewish identity. It’s amazing how many times a sentence can be tweaked before it “sings.” But once it does… I guess that’s the moment writers live for – that moment when it just sounds right

I don’t know about you, but for me, once the first section is set, it all falls into place. I know that’s supposedly because my vision is clear then, but it’s more than that. I can have a detailed outline that tells me each thing to cover in sequence, along with a killer topic sentence, but that’s still not the same as when the first section takes on a life of its own. 

Here’s to a great week for us all!


A Day of Jewish Learning

Routes-Logo-w-Tagline-no-sessions-e1360703616897What are you up to this Sunday? The Partnership for Jewish Life & Learning is holding Routes: A Day of Jewish Learning at the American University Campus in Washington, DC. The program runs from 10am to 5pm and features speakers and performers on a number of topics covered during 60 sessions.

Routes is designed to provide a “welcoming, accessible and exciting learning experience for the diverse Jewish population of Greater Washington.” For some this will be an introduction to Judaism. For others it will be a way to renew ties to Judaism or to explore new options. This year the program will include sessions on everything from managing stress and religion in the newsroom to discussions of tzedakah and the history of Jews and chocolate. Check out the schedule.

Food is available for purchase on campus, as well as at nearby restaurants. Kosher lunch boxes can be pre-ordered when you register – or – bring food from home. Yes. You can eat during sessions.

Register in advance and the cost is $18. It’s $25 at the door. High school and undergraduate students can enter FREE with a valid student ID.

Directions and parking info here.

See you there!

Family Shabbat Table Talk – URJ

You want to talk Torah at Shabbat dinner but you’re not sure where to start? The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) has a site with everything you need to get you started and keep you going. Family Shabbat Table Talk  has all the portions with comments, possible questions, and materials for additional study. (On their site, click on the name of the book of the Torah in the sidebar on the left to see the portions.) It’s an easy way to get you started.

The site says, “For each week, Family Shabbat Table Talk includes: 1] the title of the parasha and a citation so that you may find the full text in your own copy of the Torah; 2] a couple of sentences about the theme for the sefer; 3] an excerpt from the Torah text that will be the focus of discussion; 4] a short d’rash (teaching) on the text; 5] two or three questions each for children ages 3-5 and children ages 6-8; and 6] a suggestion for deeper study geared toward sophisticated learners and those who wish to spend more time on the topic.”

There are also tips for leading the discussion each week.

I’ve used this with my own children. At first it seemed a bit awkward, but they soon got the idea that we would be talking about Torah at dinner. Once they took to it, it was fun. It was definitely worth the small amount of effort it took to get it all started.

Shabbat Shalom!