Ohef Sholom Temple’s programming for Interfaith families won the Union of Reform Judaism’s prestigious Belin Award Honorable Mention, which according to the grant letter, is “given to recognize exceptional programs from around North America that demonstrate a significant level of creativity, originality and replicability.”
With assistance from various congregants and a newly revived Outreach Committee, Ohef Sholom developed “The Year of Outreach” aimed at engaging its young Interfaith couples by offering a series of programs—cultural, spiritual, educational and social. The goal of this program is to bring together members in Interfaith marriages and relationships to create a community and to get them involved in Jewish education.
The “Year of Outreach” consisted of the following programs: Traditional Jewish Cooking, December Dilemma: A Forum for Discussion & Understanding, Cocktails with the Rabbi: A Personal Forum for Questioning & Connecting, Passover How-to Workshop, Lag B’omer Beach Bonfire Party, Celebrate Shabbat: Learn about Traditional Shabbat Rituals
Traditional Jewish Cooking took place in the kitchen at Ohef Sholom when a local chef taught how to make brisket, chicken soup with matzah balls, a traditional sweet kugel, and rugelach. All participants went home with samples and recipes.
December Dilemma, presented by Rabbi Arthur Steinberg offered Interfaith couples the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings about the holiday challenges and facilitate a discussion to assist with decision making.
Cocktails with the Rabbi, hosted at a congregant’s home, allowed participants to meet other families in Interfaith marriages as well as to discuss issues and solutions that challenge Interfaith families.
A Passover How-to workshop offered an opportunity to learn how to conduct a meaningful seder, how to engage the children, and how to prepare delicious Passover foods. Each participant left with a family-friendly haggadah and handouts.
Lag B’omer Bonfire Party was a family-oriented afternoon for families to socialize and learn about the holiday of Lag B’omer. Hosted by the Schachet-Briskin family, this program brought 58 adults and children.
Celebrate Shabbat, involves a mock Shabbat dinner on a Thursday night including the various rituals of a Friday night. All participants left with a Celebrate Shabbat toolkit, outlining the prayers and rituals in English, Hebrew and transliteration.
This “Year of Outreach” program also won a Congregational Interfaith Mini-Grant from The Men of Reform Judaism.