We are excited to announce the following workshops that will be presented during the symposium:
Workshop Title: Out of the Mouths of Babes: Young Adults Share their Experiences of Growing Up Interfaith
Workshop Presenter/Facilitator: Rabbi Marsha J. Friedman, Ph.D.Workshop Description: "But what about the children?" frequently becomes the central question in discussions of interfaith marriage. Will they be Jewish? Will they be Christian? Will they be confused? The irony is that with all the theory about and speculation regarding what will/could/should/shouldn't happen to these children, the real life experiences of the children themselves are often overlooked! In this workshop, we will allow the children to speak for themselves about their experiences of growing up with parents of two religions. Our panelists will give us an "inside" look at the challenges and joys of being raised in an interfaith home, as we consider their experiences in a highly participatory workshop experience.
Workshop Title: The Interfaith Partnership – Negotiating the Conversations
Workshop Presenter/Facilitator: Jill Magerman, M.Ed. ACC
Workshop Description: All successful partnerships involve constant communication. Some conversations dealing with interfaith differences and issues (around parenting, customs, holidays, family) are more challenging than others. How can partners best approach these conversations? While sharing her compassion and enthusiasm for life, Jill offers others the opportunity to explore how to live a life driven by meaningful choices. "Everything really comes down to knowing your core values and living your life based on choices you make grounded in those values." Through this interactive workshop, participants will work with their partner to gain clarity of their own and their partner’s values, learn and practice active listening skills and explore tools to use when a challenging issue arises.
Workshop Title: The “Rite Stuff”: Shabbat for Beginners – Do try this at Home!
Workshop Presenter/Facilitator: Rosalind Holtzman
Workshop Description: Shabbat – the Jewish Sabbath – offers a weekly opportunity for rest, reflection, and restoration. Ushered in with candles, wine, and braided challah bread, it can help to create an “island in time,” an oasis in often busy and hectic lives. But how do you “do” it? Where do you start, especially as an interfaith couple where even the Jewish partner may have had limited exposure to Shabbat ritual? How do you make it your own? And what if you’re not sure but want to know more? Start here - NO experience necessary! The goal is to provide a framework with step-by-step instructions that will help you to feel comfortable and confident in creating a meaningful Shabbat at home. The workshop includes a take-home guide.
Workshop Title: Dealing with Pain, Loss and Multiple Traditions
Workshop Presenter/Facilitator: Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell, PhD., Rabbinic Director, East Congregational Network, Union for Reform Judaism
Workshop Description: How can Multi-Faith Families Navigate the Challenges of Terminal Illness, Death and Burial? End of life issues and decisions often take us by surprise. To face grief and loss, we may find ourselves hungering for or turning to traditions and beliefs we thought we had discarded or would never embrace. In this workshop, we’ll acknowledge the delicacy and power of final life passages, and explore approaches and tools for honoring the living and the dead.
Workshop Title: The December Dilemma and Beyond: Navigating Holidays in an Interfaith Family
Workshop Presenter/Facilitator: Rabbi Seymour Rosenbloom
Workshop Description: Year after year interfaith families can face the repeated challenge of negotiating the holidays of multiple religions. Holidays are so much more than a date on a calendar – over the years they take on an emotional attachment with respect to childhood, tradition, food and family. Which holiday takes priority? Who will coordinate the family schedule and how are the needs of the extended family accommodated? Can you create Win-Win celebrations? Rabbi Rosenbloom will lead discussion to consider ways of approaching the holiday season so it works better for both couple and family.
Workshop Title: Managing the In-Laws
Workshop Presenter/Facilitator: Rabbi Patrice E. Heller Ph.D., D.D., LMFT
Workshop Description: Even the most supportive parents may have concerns about changes in customs, different holiday celebrations, unfamiliar communities and a new “learning curve” when their son or daughter marries someone of a different faith. They may also have mixed feelings about not sharing their identities and/or practices of their faith tradition with their adult child’s new family and grandchildren. Less supportive parents can challenge family dynamics and create roadblocks at holiday gatherings. In this workshop, psychologist and Marriage-Family Therapist Rabbi Patrice Heller shares strategies and tools interfaith partners can use to create a peaceful, extended family while honoring their marriage and family of origin.
Workshop Title: The Unique Joys and Challenges for the Non-Jewish Mom: A Panel Discussion
Workshop Presenter/Facilitator: Julie Cohen
Workshop Description: In the Jewish faith, Jewish identity was traditionally handed down through matrilineal descent - it has only been since the establishment of the reform movement that Jewish identity could be passed down through the father. In many families, the mother is frequently the partner who takes primary responsibility for establishing and preserving religious traditions. In an interfaith family where the mother is not Jewish but the children are being raised as Jews, what are the issues likely to be present and how can the non-Jewish mom prepare for her role without losing her own identity in the process. A panel of Non-Jewish Moms will share their own journeys.
Workshop Title: Bris, B'Nai Mitzvah, Betrothal: The Challenges and Joys of Lifecycle Events
Presenter/Facilitator: Rabbi Elliot Holin
Workshop Description: Major lifecycle events can bring couples together and provide joy for the entire family. These times can also highlight differences of personal history and vision for the future for partners in an interfaith relationship. As parents of a newborn, an approaching 13 year old or a soon-to-be bride or groom, conflicts can arise on how to make these celebrations comfortable and joyful for all involved. Or, if you and your partner are currently preparing for an interfaith wedding and future together, there are questions and challenges that arise as each partner determines the role of their faith and past in their new future. In this workshop, you'll discuss the major lifecycle events and how to be prepared for possible 'bumps in the road' on your journey together so you can create meaningful transitions together.