Sinai’s Interfaith Outreach Program: A New Name

Guest Author: Barbara Jacobs

A ‘new’ name for an old Sinai tradition: Open Hearts & Open Door begins September 13.  

It began in the 1980s as the brainchild of Rabbi Howard Berman: An informal outreach program embracing interfaith families in thinking, discussing, and exploring how to build homes together.

Under Rabbi Seth Limmer, it continues …this year as last, with a change of name that reverts to the original: Open Hearts & Open Door (formerly known as Interfaith Outreach).
 “It’s a safe place, a place to talk about feelings and ideas,” he explains. “Now we’re recapturing the spirit and promoting our resources for conversations, no matter if you’re a Sinai member or not.”

Every month, from September through May, with the guidance of Rabbis Limmer and Zinn, couples gather to talk about holidays and activities, rituals around specific lifecycle events, as well as the similarities and differences. Dating, married, kids or not: All are welcome.

What’s the response? “It’s a chance to connect with a community and with the congregation,” says Sarah Samuels Taylor. Adds husband Jason Taylor: “Assuming we don’t have the same travel issues as last year, we’re definitely onboard for attending in the coming year.” Both agreed the dialogues were worthwhile, making them more conscious of their religious upbringings and culture. 
Adds Julie Abramowitz who’s engaged to Nate Turnow (the wedding’s next August in northern Michigan): “Conversion was never an option for either of us. We wanted to be more knowledgeable about and more sensitive towards each other and our beliefs. Being in an interfaith relationship has helped me discover that though I identify as Jewish, I can’t always explain what that means. Now I can, a bit better. The content of Open Hears Open Doors has led to us having more robust discussions about our lives together, embracing both religions – recognizing common ground as well as articulating differences. And it doesn’t matter about your base of information: the rabbis do a good job of creating a space where questions are welcomed and encouraged.”

Of interest? Email Kris Rosen to RSVP – and get the schedule.

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