INTERMARRIAGE page 17
cussion groups. Local leaders dis-
cussed conversion, synagogue
policies, how to find a Jewish
partner again and ways to work
with teens on the issue.
Throughout the morning, par-
ticipants — parents, grandpar-
ents, educators and rabbis — not
only heard the intermarriage sta-
tistics, they listened to sugges-
tions for reversing the trend.
Rabbi Epstein outlined proac-
tive steps for individuals to take.
"We have to recognize inter-
marriage is only a symptom," he
said. 'The disease is a weak Jew-
ish identity. We have to tell our
kids they are different from their
"As parents it's important to
create the image of a Jewish fam-
ily and a Jewish home. Even in
homes with two Jewish parents,
the youngster rarely has Jewish
experiences. It is not enough to
say to a child, 'We want you to
' marry someone Jewish.' The
child has to see what Jewish liv-
ing in the home is."
During his session on teen-age
dating, Rabbi Aaron Bergman of
Beth Abraham Hillel Moses
talked about the challenges of
convincing teens to date and
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His message was similar to
Rabbi Epstein's: Don't tell chil-
dren how important it is to be
Jewish, show them.
"Our kids care about what we
think," Rabbi Bergman said.
"Most children have the same
values as their parents. The
screaming, yelling and guilt are
not going to help. The way to stop
it (intermarriage and interdat-
ing) is by coming to an under-
standing about what kind of
Jews we want to be. The day we
decide to be serious is the day
they will take it seriously. Sitting
down to a Friday night dinner is
a good step."
Taking Judaism seriously also
means extending a child's Jew-
ish education beyond bar or bat
"One of the worst messages we
send to our children is, 'You can
stop going to synagogue and quit
your Jewish education the day
after your bar or bat mitzvah,"
Rabbi Bergman said. "What we
are saying to our children is,
Now that you are 13, you know
everything there is to know about
Judaism.' The reward for a bar
mitzvah is the child never has to
be Jewish again." 0
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PHOTOS BY GLENN TR I EST
ore than 250 works of
Chanukah art are on
display at the Jimmy
Prentis Morris Jewish
Community Center in Oak Park.
They will be the focus of the Sun-
day afternoon Chanukah party
and reception for participants in
the annual Jewish News
Chanukah Art Contest.
The entries have been on dis-
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play for a week at JPM, and 25
of the best were published in the
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day Dec. 4, from 2 p.m. to about
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NEW '95 VILLAGER
Jewish News Associate Publish-
Following the concert, there
er Arthur Horwitz. Grand prize
winner Noa Iacob, a 10-year-old will be a Chanukah candlelight-
from Ann Arbor, will receive ing ceremony and refreshments.
Some 253 youngsters entered
Between 2:30 and 3:15, singer the Chanukah Art Contest, in-
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ter at the Agency for Jewish group.
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:OPEN EVERY SAT. 10-34 Education, was a finalist last work at the end of the reception
summer in the American Zionist
Movement songwriting contest at 4 p.m. JPM will hold any un-
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