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 are taught side-by-side by teams of Jewish and Christian educators. Our courses expose children to both of their religious heritages, allow them to cultivate their own spirituality, and provide a foundation to enable them to follow their own paths. Our mission centers around three main goals: exposure, respect, and delight. We do not teach children what to believe, but we give them the literacy and comfort that they need to relate to each tradition. We provide a supportive and vibrant community for this process of learning, questioning, and engagement.
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.
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.
Formal classes on Judaism and Christianity Individual classes and multi-session courses are held on a variety of issues relating to both traditions. Topics inlcude the very different histories of both religions, theology and beliefs, and rituals and practices; topics foucs on differences as well as similarities and have included: Judaism and Christianity for Interfaith Couples: Questions of Belief; Our Differing Jewish and Christian Perspectives; How to Understand Easter and Holy
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.
Single-session workshops on focused topics, led by a trained educator. Using strucutred workshop techniques to help pariticpants engage in the subject, these sessions examine a specific topic such as the theology and customs and rituals behind baby welcoming ceremonies, as well as the interpersonal and familial issues.
Through this one-hour session with an Interfaith Community senior staff member, couples will be guided through a preliminary assessment of their needs and provided with a context to anticipate interfaith marriage. They will have a chance to discuss the various issues facing interfaith families, the many choices they can consider, and the resources available to them - for example, reference and reading materials, programs for further study or counseling, and referrals to experienced interfaith couples therapists and to officiants for weddings and baby welcoming ceremonies.
The Interfaith Community offers a distinctive workshop for interfaith couples. The workshop draws on our many years of experience as an organization built by and for interfaith families, and is led by a professional counselor with many years of experience working with interfaith couples.
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.
Unique to the Interfaith Community, this multi-session advanced workshop helps couples design their own, individualized "road map" to a healthy, respectful interfaith marriage. The workshop is geared for couples who have gone through a process and thoughtfully decided that they will affirm both religious traditions in their marriage -- though the balance may vary greatly from family to family. The workshop provides practical opportunities to anticipate the rituals and practices they may plan to observe, to explore the challenges of exposing their children to religion, and to build relevant negotiation and communication skills.
Holiday Celebrations & Programs
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.
Holidays observed by the Interfaith Community chapters include
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.