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Reform Jewish Outreach is a program that aims to:
Welcome those who seek to investigate Judaism.
Integrate Jews-by-Choice fully into the Jewish community.
Encourage intermarried couples to affiliate with a congregation and to meet the needs of those already in the congregation.
Outreach seeks to enable intermarried couples to explore, study, and understand Judaism, thereby providing an atmosphere of support in which a comfortable relationship with Judaism can be fostered.
Educate and sensitize the Jewish community to be receiptive to new Jews-by-Choice and intermarried couples.
Encourage people to make Jewish choice in their lives through special discussion groups, community support, adult education and availablity of Jewish resources.
Assist young people in strengthening their Jewish identify and in examining the implications of interdating and intermarriage for themselves.
For those conemplating conversion to Judaism (as well as those interested in learning more about Judaism), Outreach offers the following:
Introduction to Judaism classes on both the community and congregational levels. The class focuses on basic Judaism, including holidays, life-cycle events, history, theology, and Hebrew. Students learn what is means to live a Jewish life and how to begin to practice Judaism. The program may include a psycho-social component that deals with the personal implications of choosing Judaism.
Post-introduction programs and various workshops and discussion groups.
For intermarried couples and couples contemplating intermarriage, Outreach offers the following:
An 8-week discussion group designed to clarify the Jewish partner's feelings about Judaism and to provide the non-Jewish partner with a greater understanding of Judaism and the Jewish community. Relevant personal issues discussed include: religious involvement while growing up, the religious and cultural differences each partner confronts in the relationship with each other and with extended family, holiday celebrations, and each couple's concerns about the religious upbringing and identity of their children.
Although the program is from a Jewish perspective, there is no attempt to convert the non-Jewish partner. The program helps participants to articulate the differences between Judaism and Christianity.
For Jewish parents of intermarried couples, Outreach offers discussion groups to provide parents with a non-judgmental supportive setting where they can talk with others with similar concerns. This provides the opportunity to discuss the impact of the relationship on the family, and to develop constructive responses.
For Jewish youth, Outreach has a number of programs that assist young people in examining the implications of interdating and intermarriage for themselves as well as for the future of the Jewish people. Outreach encourages youth to explore and strengthen their Jewish identity so that they will be advocates for Judaism in all their relationships.
The ultimate goal of Outreach is to strengthen Judaism by helping individuals build their personal connectedness to Reform Judaism.
If you want to find more information about the Outreach program, visit Reform Jewish Outreach at http://www.uahcweb.org/outreach/.
The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.
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Daniel P. Faigin <email@example.com>