Washington DCJCC’sInterfaith ConnectionsPresentation byMarion L. Usher, Ph.D, creator of “Loveand Religion: An Interfaith Workshopfor Jews and Their Partners.”
History of Interfaith Connections• The Washington DCJCC has been offeringoutreach programs to interfaith couples andfamilies for the past nineteen years on acontinuing basis. Our mission is to be inclusiveand to offer comprehensive programming.
Love and Religion Workshop: AnInterfaith Workshop for Jews and TheirPartners• Openly discuss complicated issues• Safe environment• Explore and create couples’ new religious lifetogether• Develop a community of similar people• Encourage Judaism as the lead religion• Classes meet for 4-weeks, 90 minutes a session.• Facilitators trained by Dr. Marion UsherIn 19 years of groups, over 600couples have participated in theworkshop.
Introduction to Judaism Class• Special discount offered to alumni of theInterfaith Couples Workshop.• Covers the fundamentals of Judaism includingShabbat, holidays, prayer, lifecycle rituals,ethics and beliefs.• This is not a conversion class.• Runs on a continual basis throughout the year.One of our most popular classes.
Jewish Holiday ProgramsOver the years we have offered the following:» Learner’s Shabbat» Shabbat Together for Families» Making Meaningful Experiences During the Christmas-Hannukah Holidays» How to Make a Passover Seder» Preparing Yourself and Your Family for the High Holidays» Chanukah Party» Sukkah Decoration Party» Family Purim Party
Highlight: Make Room for Matzoh• Hands-On event with cookie making andMiriam’s Cups craft project.• Take-aways: Recipe book, Seder handout withactivities and songs.• Attracted nearly 30 families, many of themnew.
Lifecycle Classes• Offerings include “And Baby Makes Three” and“Discussion Class for Grandparents ofInterfaith Grandchildren.”
Cross-Departmental Engagement• All programs at the DCJCC take into account the diversity ofthe families we serve.• Whether in the Arts, Community Service, Early Childhood orGLBT Outreach and Engagement we emphasize accessibilityand inclusion for non-Jewish partners and participants.• Methods Include:– Hebrew must include translations and transliterations– Use of inclusive language– Training for staff– Marketing relies on creatively using non-Jewish websites and media topromote engagement
Outreach Through the ArtsThe Religion Thing atTheater JBook Presentation atthe Hyman S. &Freda BernsteinJewish LiteraryFestivalLove and Religion at theWashington Jewish FilmFestival
Looking Ahead…• Continue vertical integration of outreach toInterfaith Families as part of standard-operatingprocedure for all programs.• Collect more information from past participantsabout the long-term impact of our programs• Maximize use of the internet to reach newcouples and distribute information• Aid other organizations in developingcomprehensive programming