Ten Steps to a Successful Interfaith Wedding from a Brand-New Bride:

  1. Get excited—it’s the best way to have fun with what may otherwise be a super stressful process:)
  2. Have a good foundation—talk about everything you can, learn about everything you can, explore ALL the issues; attending things like the Interfaith Couples Workshop, Intro to Judaism and Tying the Knot really helped
  3. Pin down your officiant(s) as early as possible, and keep ‘em in the loop (if you don’t have any yet, contact Jean Graubart at the 16th Street J and she’ll point ya in the right direction)
  4. Don’t be afraid to make it your own—interfaithfamily.com has some great sample ceremonies
  5. The most important thing to remember isn’t compromise, its respect—and as long as you’ve got that, you’ll make the right decisions
  6. Make programs so your (and his) family can follow along—it helps to have phonetics of the “heblish” translations so people don’t congratulate you on the beautiful “choopa”
  7. There are a million different meaningful explanations for everything (especially Jewish traditions!) mix and match, cherry-pick what fits you best or combine a few different interpretations—with so many options, no one’s ever wrong!
  8. There are also a million different ways to do a Ketubah (if you decide you want one) and some great interfaith texts out there (check out modernketubah.com for examples)—just don’t wait ‘till the day-of to print it!
  9. Plan away, but remember, “it’s the little imperfections that make the day so special” (this is from the Brand-New Groom)
  10. Finally, don’t forget to have fun!! Enjoy all the little things, big things and the in-betweens; there are sure to be ups and downs, but in the end, you’ll have created memories—and a partnership—to last a lifetime.

Vote or Die…Not Really, But We Get a Party

If there is such a thing as a “cool office”, we just might be it.
Yes, the Washington DCJCC has been nominated for the “coolest office contest” at metromix DC.

Here’s what they say about us:

Their office is pretty much as quirky as the hit TV show, “The Office.” Plus, they have a theatre on-site and are encouraged to watch matinee’s during the work day as well as taking take three hour long trips to Costco to buy cases of beer and tons of food for their programs.

Sound like fun? It is (most of the time). So vote for us!

Plus One?

According to USA Today:

The end-of-the-year list season is upon us: Most this/biggest that, etc.

But for 2008, The Forward, the weekly magazine which keeps an eye on Jewish American life, has bumped up its annual FORWARD 50 list of the names behind the Jewish stories of the year to a “symbolic” #51 by adding Postville, Iowa, Catholic Priest Paul Ouderkirk, for his tireless efforts to “feed, clothe and house dozens of immigrant detainees fired from the Agriprocessors Kosher slaughterhouse.”

Forward editor Jane Eisner explains:
Father Ouderkirk displayed unusual leadership and compassion by helping displaced workers and their families survive. At times it has seemed as if Father Ouderkirk and the good members of St. Bridget’s were among the few in this sad story willing to do the right thing.

I had two thoughts when reading this article: “yay Iowa” (hey, you can take the girl out of the Midwest, but you can’t take the Midwest out of the girl) and do we really need the plus one? Why can’t a priest—or anyone else for that matter—be part of the regular 50 contributors to American Jewish Life? Do you have to be Jewish to make a difference to Jews? Clearly not, as our Gallery points out in its current Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in WWII exhibition…or this year’s Morris Cafritz Center for the Arts Benefit performer Rita Moreno, who—though not Jewish—put on a spectacularly energetic, highly successful show in support of a “Jewish” Center for the Arts.

And I know, FORWARD’s list is meant to highlight American Jews after all, but it’s still worth a few thoughts about “our” community vs. “our community”.

All debates aside…who’s on this year’s list? Sarah Silverman is in the top five; and former 16th Street J guests Ilan Stavans and Ilana Trachtman made the list too. Also high five to DC’s own Esther Safran Foer, executive director of 6th & I.

Who would you add?

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