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The Product: Conversation Cards

Designed to spark conversations between interfaith couples, this deck of cards will let you talk about who you’re named after or favorite memories from family vacations, instead of how your family feels about your relationship. Some cards are fun and some tackle the hard questions, but Share & Tell makes it more manageable.

Learn more, talk more, share more- together.

Market Opportunity

Engage at home, off-line, on your own time.

There are many organizations, online resources, and tutorials offering interfaith couples the opportunity to learn about Judaism, connect with local institutions, or celebrate a holiday. Yet many couples are looking for something more simple: a low-barrier way to start a conversation with their partner about their backgrounds, their beliefs, and the traditions they hope to pass onto their children. These conversations can be fraught with anxiety, yet few resources exist to highlight the shared experiences of family, identity, and community. Share & Tell cards do just that, in your home, on your time.

Low-cost, self-contained product.

Share & Tell is a low-cost product designed to be printed and mailed directly to users or distributed by local organizations offering in-person or online programming or resources to interfaith couples or families. Each deck of 18 cards costs $18 to print and distribute, is self-contained, with directions on how to use the product, question cards, and planned accompanying online resources.  

Order your pack today!

 

How To: use Share & Tell

Who: Interfaith couples, families, and those who love them.

What: A deck of “conversation cards,” or cards with prompt questions. Find your partner, find your friend, find your office or whole family. The cards are designed for couples, but can be used to break the ice in a group too.

When: Whenever! Share & Tell is a self-contained deck of cards, designed to be used on your time. So open them up on a weekend, during the week, or on vacation.

Where: On your couch, on your road trip, at your local bar. Share & Tell cards are an offline resource to start conversations between you and your partner wherever and whenever you’re most comfortable.

Why: Conversations about your background, religious upbringing, current beliefs and traditions are important, especially when thinking about your future together.They’re also really scary to have with anyone, let alone your partner. Share & Tell can help make this process a bit lighter, a bit more manageable by giving you the tools to talk about who you’re named after or a favorite family vacation, instead of jumping right into how your family feels about your relationship.

How: Order a deck for yourself, your friend, your partner, your son/daughter, your neighbor, your office-mate!

The Process: PresenTense

Or the tale of the reluctant entrepreneur! In the ever popular Q&A format.

Q: What is PresenTense?

A: PresenTense is a global community of innovators and entrepreneurs, thinkers and leaders, creators and educators who are investing their ideas and energy in revitalizing the established Jewish community by helping innovators and entrepreneurs build new ideas into transformational ventures.

In Boston, with the support of CJP, PresenTense equips passionate people with the entrepreneurial skills, tools, and supportive networks they need to ensure that anyone who wants to make positive change is able to, and the entire community benefits from growth through innovation.

Q: So you’re a entrepreneur?

A: Reluctantly yes. I am stepping out on a ledge and creating a product I think there is a demand for, and looking at it in a socially conscious way. In that way, I’m a social entrepreneur  But I’m not quitting my day job just yet.

Q: So you’re in a social entrepreneurship program? What does that look like?

A: It’s a 10 month long entrepreneur accelerator powered by design thinking (stay with me through the jargon) to help me create, build, implement, etc. a business plan for a product. I’m in the “interfaith cluster.”

Q: Hold up. Interfaith cluster?

A: Yup! New to this year’s program is a focus on community identified problems. So instead of putting out a call for anyone with any idea to join, CJP has identified areas for growth in the community (or gaps in the nonprofit/community landscape). They didn’t tell me what to work on, just encouraged me to think of a product in this area.

Q: Back up a bit further. Interfaith?  What does that even mean?

A: Good question– you’re clearly not a Jewish professional! That’s great- welcome! I’m so excited you’re here! Short answer: interfaith is the (jargon-y) word we use to describe romantic relationships between Jews and non-Jews. So far, I’ve found only the Jewish community describes these partnerships this way.

Q: So what are you working on in this interfaith cluster?

A: I’m working on creating/enhancing spaces, places, and times where couples can have conversations about religion, identity, community, and family. I want to build safe (and brave) spaces for conversations that can be exciting, challenging, scary, or all of the above. My research has led me to create a series of “conversation cards” or flash cards with prompt questions for you and your partner to use to start a conversation. Right now, I’m calling the product “Share & Tell: Conversation Cards for Couples,” and hope to have them designed, printed, and for sale soon!

Stay tuned!

 

Why I’m here

As the child of an interfaith household and one half of an interfaith couple, I know personally how important it is to talk to your partner about religion, tradition, and identity. I also know how scary that sounds. Yet few tools exist to help you address that elephant in the room.

So I created one. Check out more information on the product here, or keep reading for more on why I/we wanted to be a part of this interfaith landscape.

About Me: Baptized Jew has it figured out? (stay tuned)

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I was born to a practicing Catholic father and a lapsed Reform Jewish mother. I was baptized and spent the first two years of my life in a church with my grandparents every Sunday. Then my brother was born and my dad had a falling out with the church, and we stopped doing anything “religious.” Sure, we had a Christmas tree, we lit the menorah, and made latkes, but when we asked where babies came from or what happened when you died, my parents skirted the question, unsure of how to build moral, thoughtful, community-minded children without the structure of religion.

Then, when I was 8, we went to Israel. It was there my Catholic father celebrated Shabbat for the first time, prayed at the Kotel, and met a wonderful rabbi who would bring my family into the fold of the Jewish community. To this day, my father calls to sing the Chanukah prayers each year and lights his own menorah. My father has helped raise three Jewish children, and it’s his acceptance, passion and belief in community, specifically the Jewish community, that give me faith. Given the tools, non-Jewish partners in interfaith relationships can be excited about Judaism, the Jewish community, and being a part of the fabric of this ancient people.

About Us: Lapsed Catholic meets baptized Jewish professional. Hilarity ensues. Roll credits.

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We met through friends in the winter of 2013 and bonded over our love of whisky (at the time- Scholar’s served a mean $8 Marker’s Mark). Our love grew from there, and blossomed to include beer, tacos, fried chicken, and somehow along the way- each other. He knew I was Jewish (CJP on my business card made sure of that) and I knew he was Catholic (even if he thinks BC isn’t “that Catholic”), but raised in a house where religion was the only thing my parents didn’t argue about, I didn’t think it would be a big problem. And while it hasn’t been a problem, it has been a big deal.

Fast forward to moving in together, our first Christmas tree, and me trying to explain why Shabbat is so special, we knew we needed to communicate. Stumbling around the internet, we found a class to help us think about where we came from, why our backgrounds were so important, and how we want to integrate religion or tradition into our mini-family. It was a good class, and just what we needed, but it was far from perfect. And yet, when CJP said- “hey entrepreneurs, help us think about how interfaith couples talk about religion,” I  looked the other way. When they said, “help us think about how interfaith young adults can engage with the religious community,” I said who me? But when they said- “these couples need someone to listen and support them,” I knew they meant me. So here I am.

Thanks for being on this journey with me (really us- I’m only half of this story!).

Kicking Us Off

Hello! Welcome! Bienvenue! Bienvenidos! Shalom! Peace be with you!

I’m so excited you’re here! Thanks for joining me on this journey to get to the bottom of interfaith relationships! (kidding… mostly)

What am I using this blog/website for?

I’ll be talking (writing/typing) about the process of creating a product designed to help interfaith couples talk to one another. I’ll include my thoughts and opinions, and know that these are colored by my experiences as an interfaith child and an outspoken member of an interfaith couple.

I may also offer advice. I’ve been there and done that, for at least some of this stuff. I won’t shy away from offering my opinion on what it was like growing up in a household where parents prayed differently (or at least used different labels), how I spent my first Christmas with my boyfriend’s mom (in JFK’s favorite Florida church pew nonetheless), and my thoughts on the institutional Jewish community and how it’s trying to engage with young adults like me. Take it or leave it- I plan to!

I’ll also ask for your help. Please be patient, as this is a process and I’m figuring it out as I go along. Please be kind, as I’m opening my (figurative, and maybe one day literal) home, family, and community to you.

Please be thoughtful, as this can be a touchy subject for many. Lastly, please be active- and let me know what you think!

Shit might get serious, but if relationships based on good communication, mutual respect, and a deep admiration of one other are not documented on the internet- do they even exist? I think not.

So here we go- hope to see you again soon!