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July 29, 1988 - Image 55

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-07-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

In intermarried
families, teachers
should instruct
their students to
respct both
parents' traditions.

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Another force having a
great impact on American
Jewry is interfaith marriage.
Arlene Chernow, regional
outreach coordinator for the
Union of American Hebrew
Congregations/Pacific South-
west Council, talked to the
educators about teaching
Jewish values and traditions
to children of interfaith mar-
riages. According to Mrs.
Chernow, in 1950, six out of
100 Jewish marriages involv-
ed someone who wasn't
Jewish. 'Today's ratio is near-
ly 40 out of 100. Because
parents don't generally talk
to their children or each other
about the intermarriage,
children often look for
reassurance in their religious
schools, she said.
Mrs. Chernow advised a
two-fold tack: tell the kids
they're in a Jewish religious
school to learn about being
Jewish, and they should tell
the children that the non-
Jewish parent or converted
parent "is okay!' Where the
non-Jewish parent wants to
celebrate the Christian
holidays, Mrs. Chernow said,
teachers should instruct their
students to respect that
parent's tradition. It is the
role of the Jewish educator,
she said, to help children
establish a sense of Jewish
self-esteem, while at the same
time teaching them to
"respect members of the fami-
ly who haven't made the same
choices."
She urged the teachers to
incorporate parents into the
lessons where possible. For
example, if students are
learning about Shabbat,
teachers should invite
parents to come to class, too.
The role of the Jewish
religious school teacher, she

said, is to clarify the child's
role in the Jewish school (if he
goes to Hebrew school, he's
Jewish), to reassure the stu-
dent (it's okay to have parents
from two traditions/it's not
your fault) and to teach
respect for the non-Jewish
parent's tradition.
Teaching of Jewish values
was a mainstay of the four-
day conference. "The Ques-
tions of Being Human," con-
ducted by Shoshana Berk, a
teacher at Ibmple Chai in
Phoenix, Ariz., focused on
things that differentiate
humans from animals: the
ability to think, the ability to
reason, the ability to do acts
of social justice and
lovingkindness.
Using the story of Moses
and the burning bush as a
basis for her talk, Mrs. Berk
explained man's mission on
earth is to be a partner with
God, to reflect "godliness, and
to transmit this partnership
from generation to
generation.
Rita Frischer, director of
library services at the Sinai
Temple Blumenthal Library
in Los Angeles, talked about
how literature — both Jewish
books and non-Jewish books
— can teach Jewish values.
She read some short Jewish
children's books and non-
secular books to point out
Jewish vaules such as
tzedakah, visiting the sick,
and issues confronted by Jews
such as anti-Semitism and
the Holocaust.
She said a Jewish book is
not defined by whether or not
the characters eat lox and
bagels, but by a Jewish ap-
proach to life. In a Jewish
book, she said, "You can't
take the Judaism out of the
book!'
On the final day of the con-
ference, a special program en-
titled "At What Price Peace"
gave delegates a chance to
talk about Israel's future.
Robert Eshman of the Na-
tional Friends of Peace Now,
advocated his party's line,
saying "Israel must reconcile
its security needs with
Palestinian national rights!'
Eshman added that Peace
Now wants the Israel govern-
ment to relinquish its claim
to the West Bank and Gaza
"for guarantees of security!'
Peace Now also calls for
elections of local represen-
tatives in the West Bank and
Gaza. Eshman said these
could be accomplished within
the framework of an interna-
tional conference "if the in-
ternational conference were

IJPJ IIiIIIL

gay and leSbian Jews. It is
funded by the Jewish Com-
munity Foundation of Los
Angeles and the Council on
Jewish Life of the Los
Angeles Federation Council.
Funded in 1986, Nechama
was created to educate Jews
about AIDS to better protect
themselves and respond to
persons with AIDS. Informa-
tion about his curriculum can
be obtained by writing Small,
Nechama, 6505 Wilshire
Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif.

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS 55

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