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October 28, 2009

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October 28, 2009

The first time I found the InterFaith Family web site, I stayed up until 2am reading the stories. I wish that I had found the site earlier when it would have been reassuring to hear about other families like mine with a non-Jewish parent raising Jewish children and about people like me who took decades to finally convert. It was good to feel that we weren't complete oddities. I thought how ironic it was that since I was finally in the process of converting, my family would soon cease to be "interfaith". And yet since converting, I visit the site as often as ever because it gives me a connection to a community of people who have had similar experiences or feelings, or whom I can help by offering my own experiences and thoughts. I found the IFF web site from a link on the web site of the synagogue to which I had sent my children to Hebrew school and which was led by the rabbi I was studying with for conversion. I clicked on a link to an IFF story because it sounded interesting, but I did not think the web site would pertain to my family because my household had always practiced only Judaism even though I was not Jewish myself. And since even before marrying my Jewish husband I had thought of myself as being on the path to conversion, just a very long, slow path, I did not think that my family was really "interfaith". But I forgot that once I converted, my own birth family would become "interfaith", and the web site has many stories and discussions about dealing with non-Jewish relatives. The IFF web site has inspiring and uplifting stories by people who have happy interfaith families. But it also has stories in which people share painful and difficult experiences. Some stories of people who acted in hurtful ways towards intermarried couples made me very grateful that most of the rabbis and lay-people I have met have been welcoming, accepting, and non-judgemental of me and my family. I like that I am able reassure people who write on the discussion boards about negative experiences on the discussion boards that not all of the Jewish community will necessarily be so negative. The stories about real people and situations and the postings on the discussion boards encourage people in interfaith families to "make Jewish choices", the goal of the site. For instance, recently a poster on the discussion board was convinced that it was "impossible" for a non-Jewish mother to raise Jewish children with strong Jewish identities. But articles and examples by other posters indicated that this is not necessarily true. That information may help parents to at least consider the option as a possibility and possibly to try it rather than to not try because they believe it can't work. I have contributed four articles that were "published" on the web site plus two others that I have submitted more recently. Writing the articles allowed me to think more deeply about my experiences and emotions as I gave form to feelings that I had kept to myself. And the articles generated both positive reader feedback and some criticism. For me, it was especially a relief to hear about other people who had taken decades to convert. Sometimes I had wondered if there was something wrong with me that I should take so long to work through the conversion process and that I should be hesitant and have doubts and fears even while wanting so much to convert. The Jews by Choice that I knew had mostly converted when they were in their early 20's and I certainly did not know anyone who had taken as long as I did to finally convert. I was very moved by the story by woman who converted after many years and so eloquently described the very same feelings I had myself both before and after I converted. I hope that my stories might similarly touch other people, both those who identify with the stories and those for whom my story might allow them to understand what might seem to be a contradictory situation: that Judaism has played such an important role in my life and for my family even though I was not Jewish for many years. The best thing about the IFF web site is definitely the way it enables readers to feel like they are part of a "community" of other people who share their experiences and concerns. Being able to be a full member of my close minyan community was a key factor in my decision to finally convert. But with only two other interfaith families in the minyan, both of which are interfaith in a different way than mine, my religious community cannot give me the type of support I find on the IFF website. I visit the site so frequently that I keep a tab open with the site in my Internet browser. I appreciate that the web site is well organized, has many features that other user sites lack, such as the ability to tag "spam" and the "Facebook"-like feature that allows users to create profiles and to communicate privately with other IFF users. The site is also closely monitored. The staff are there to jump in when a user is unreasonably nasty or giving bad information. And the staff also offers additional information. When there was an abuse of the system, the staff were on it so fast that I got the fake "friend invitation" at the same time as an email noting that it was due to web site abuse and that "user" had been blocked. The IFF web site is much better run and monitored than the vast majority of the web sites with a "forum" feature. The Interfaith Family website is a fantastic resource for so many people: people in interfaith relationships or interfaith families, or friends or relatives of interfaith families. With the high rate of Jewish intermarriage, this is indeed a very large number of people. With intermarried people and their families often scorned or rejected, it is so refreshing to see the positive approach taken by IFF. I am certain that it is effective in helping people to make Jewish choices.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

reading articles, writing articles, reading/contributing to the forum discussions.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

feeling a connection to people who have similar experiences.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

friendly and communicated with me as a person, not as merely a nameless/faceless "reader" or web site "visitor". And yet the staff are also very professional.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 22, 2009

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October 22, 2009

The resources and services provided by interfaithfamily are of unique value for young couples who are new to the dynamics of interfeith families. Its contribution extends far beyond supporting the planning of an intefaith wedding: it is a precious guide for the spiritual growth of a family, and its support will continue to bear fruits for a life-time. I would like to express my deep appreciation and gratitude for the useful resources that interfaithfamily puts at disposal of interfaith couples and families like mine.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

supporting young couples in their first steps toward creating a solid interfaith family.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 21, 2009

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October 21, 2009

InterfaithFamily.com has been an invaluable resource to me since the beginning of my interfaith family life: my wedding to my non-Jewish husband. Yes, the site gave me referrals to clergy, and we were very happy with the rabbi we chose, who spent time with us and both sets of parents in his office prior to our engaging him for the Jewish ceremony. But even more valuable have been the extremely thorough and high-quality written materials about the ceremony and other holidays and rituals, which provide me with great reinforcement and provide my curious friends with excellent, easy-to-understand descriptions of our customs.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

a great interfaith wedding.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 20, 2009

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October 20, 2009

InterfaithFamily.com provides for me an excellent forum for learning all manner of significant things about Jewish life and about interfaith relationships and how partners and families work out or work through issues and needs. It also offers a myriad of interesting and valuable articles from people of many different backgrounds and histories, articles illuminating a wide variety of cultural, historical, and social phenomena and ideas. InterfaithFamily.com offers as well highly beneficial opportunities for people to connect in community and to share, exchange, and gather. Lastly, I looked to InterfaithFamily.com as a resource to seek out a rabbi willing to perform intermarriage wedding ceremonies, an immensely useful service.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeking a rabbi willing to perform intermarriage ceremonies.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

I learn a tremendous amount about Jewish thought, customs, celebration, and about how many people and families grapple with the issues of intermarriage and especially how to raise children and grandchildren.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

help millions of interfaith couples and families connect across the country.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 20, 2009

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October 20, 2009

I have had the pleasure and privilege of being both a content provider for, and consumer of, InterfaithFamily.com's esources and have found it to be tremendously helpful to me in my work as a congregation rabbi. It provides a wide array of perspectives on issues relevant to Jewish life and, especially, to the challenges and unique aspects of interfaith families. I frequently refer people to this site and consider it one of the more helpful Jewish resource websites available.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

[FYI...you've mispelled "personally" above!] I have, on many occasions, used articles from this organization's website to lead discussions and as teaching tools.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The breadth of its vision and its commitment to making interfaith families find a place within the brosder Jewish community.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

I encounter staff only online and through e-mail but have found them tobe helpful and responsive.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

do what it does even more effectively!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 20, 2009

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October 20, 2009

A wonderful website that is a priceless resource for interfaith families. Great features, very helpful and supportive advice and we presented stories and articles.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

addressing the joys and dynamics of an interfaith family

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 20, 2009

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October 20, 2009

Interfaith Family.com's website is highly informative. But it provides much more than information. It provides a sense of connection and inclusion that motivates me to seek greater involvement with Jewish organizations and events. It's also provided a non-threatening way for me to share Judaism with my son's Indian fiancee. I'm very grateful to have a non-judgmental source of information and inspiration.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

it's inclusive, nonjudgmental tone and information.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 20, 2009

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October 20, 2009

I've written for interfaithfamily.com website I love the articles on line and the supporting environment for interfaith families. The website is an amazing resource for interfaith families and those working with interfaith familes.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the learning and the support

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

super nice!!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 20, 2009

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October 20, 2009

Always great information. Interesting stories. Very courageous website. IF I can't find osmething on the site and I call they help.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

broadening my view of how families can adjustto each other

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Have them be international

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

THE people . Ed Case is a dedicated individual . The staff is always responsive.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

KImd caring enthusiastic and helpful

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Sart a national movement to welcome intermarried persons into the Jewish community.

Ways to make it better...

I knew how do use technology better.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

$ and negative attitudes in the Jewish community.

One thing I'd also say is that...

They have done an amazing job putting information on intermarriage at the finger tips of young people.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 20, 2009

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October 20, 2009

Interfaithfamily.com has been an extremely valuable resource to me as I raise my children Jewish in an interfaith family. Also in my volunteer work in Outreach at my synagogue, I often refer temple members to the web site and use the articles to lead discussions. Interfaithfamily.com has promoted a sense of inclusiveness to all the interfaith families out there trying to have Jewish households rather than make us feel we shouldn't even try.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

they have validated me and my desire to raise Jewish children and have given me the resources to do so even though I wasn't raised Jewish.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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