The Interfaith Community has built a multi-tiered curriculum for children pre-K-8. Designed by consultants from the Jewish Theological and Union Theological seminaries, our courses were initially piloted in 2004. Courses are developed and, to model mutual respect, are taught side-by-side by teams of Jewish and Christian educators. Courses also encourage active parent involvement and education.
Courses are usually comprised of 10 sessions, book-ended by an additional opening and a closing "Family Day," at which all children and their families come together in a lively and spiritual setting to anticipate or conclude the experiences. Each class session is typically an hour, though lessons may be tailored or combined by the educators to fit certain schedules.
In addition, all courses will aim to help children develop their individual spiritualities and connections to God.
Courses are intended to introduce key themes and concepts from both traditions throughout a child's growth, revisiting many of those concepts at deeper levels later in the curriculum. However, our courses are not cumulative, so students who enter in later years will not find themselves behind the class.
Courses are normally developed with a particular age group in mind, but teachers are assisted in adapting the curriculum to different ages. The grades listed by each course title are suggested.
To provide a deepened understanding of members’ dual religious heritages, the Interfaith Community helps its members appreciate and celebrate the major Jewish and Christian holidays. In addition to holiday celebrations, other family programs include activities such as interfaith baby welcoming ceremonies, community service projects, and family picnics.
Jewish High Holidays
Programs vary by holiday and location, but all benefit from the guidance of our religious advisors, emphasize accessibility and inclusion, and integrate the authentic spirit of each holiday.
For adults in interfaith relationships, being knowledgeable about– and appreciative of– one's own and one's partner’s religion is important to an ongoing relationship. And it is critical to effective, respectful parenting around religion. Individuals also need practical skills and insights to navigate their differences. Our programs provide both sets of resources which, in turn, help couples turn their differences into a source of growth and strength.
Private Counseling with Couples
Through this one-hour session with an Interfaith Community senior staff member, couples are guided through a preliminary assessment of their needs and provided with a context to anticipate interfaith marriage. They will discuss the various issues facing interfaith families, the many choices they can consider, and the resources available to them – e.g., programs, publications, counselor and wedding officiant referrals.
Interfaith Couples Workshops
In a multi-session workshop, groups of 4 - 6 couples grapple with the role of religion in their relationships and address the basic issues which will help them make a thoughtful choice as to how or whether they can accommodate their dual-faith traditions. In a supportive environment, couples consider issues such as the importance of religion vs. ethnic/cultural heritage; the role of family/extended family; and raising children. Workshops are organized on a rolling basis according to demand.
Formal classes on Judaism and Christianity. Individual classes and multi-session courses are held on a variety of issues relating to both traditions. Topics include the very different histories of both religions, theology and beliefs, and rituals and practices.
Panel discussions on interfaith marriage and parenting. Panelists are IFC members who share their experiences and observations.These are opportunities to hear about the diverse and distinct journeys of different families and to participate interactively with these families. Some programs are general in topic, while others may focus specifically on an issue like educating children.