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.

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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!).