Shaarei Shamayim Welcomes Rabbi Maurice Harris “Embracing Diversity Within: The End of the ‘Intermarriage Debate’ and the New Era of Creative Jewish Adaptation”
9:30 am - 11:00 am - Intergeneration Service
11:15 am - 1:00 pm - Discussion with Rabbi Maurice Harris
Join us – tots, elementary and middle school students, teens, parents, and other adults – for our third and last intergenerational Shabbat service of the school year. Rabbi Laurie and Rabbi Maurice will lead a creative skit of the Torah portion, and Anna will be our song leader. We’ll provide the bagels and coffee; you provide a side dish.
After our service, Rabbi Maurice – a dear friend and colleague of Rabbi Laurie’s – will lead a discussion about inclusive communities. During the discussion, Julia Banchik-Lesniak and Michael Kanter will lead kids’ activities and provide child care.
In order to make this all work, we need some parent volunteers to help with set-up, clean-up, and greeting. Please let Jessie know if you can help – Jessie.firstname.lastname@example.org.
More about Rabbi Maurice’s Talk: The conversation about intermarriage and interfaith families has shifted profoundly in many parts of the American Jewish community. A decade ago, rabbis and Jewish communal professionals were still energetically debating whether Jewish institutions should focus on trying to get the Jewish intermarriage rate to shrink, or whether it would be wiser to focus on better outreach and welcoming to interfaith families. Today that discussion is quickly being replaced by a different one – one that accepts intermarriage as a well-established part of the “new normal” in liberal Jewish communities. Throughout the spectrum of liberal Judaism (and in some cases even within the Orthodox community), more and more leaders are wanting to talk about how Jewish institutions can better learn to invite, integrate, involve, and include interfaith families.
In the last few years in particular, as American mainstream values have moved decisively in the direction of affirming the ideal that people have the right to marry the person they love, minority communities of every kind are trying to feel their way into an emerging era of increasingly hyphenated and more complex personal identity.
Members of the Shaarei Shamayim community are invited to a short talk on the changing landscape of mainstream Jewish thought on these issues. Following the talk, community members will be invited to offer their insights and observations about how Shaarei Shamayim has adapted to these changing norms and how strongly inclusive synagogues like Shaarei Shamayim can contribute ideas to help the American Jewish community as a whole discover and invent new models of meaningful, vibrant Jewish life in the decades ahead.
Maurice Harris is the Rabbi and Senior Educator at InterfaithFamily (www.interfaithfamily.com), the premier resource supporting interfaith couples exploring Jewish life and inclusive Jewish communities. A graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Rabbi Harris served for eight years as Associate Rabbi and Head of School at Temple Beth Israel in Eugene, Oregon. He and his wife, Melissa Crabbe, are the adoptive parents of two children, Clarice and Hunter, who had previously been in the Oregon foster care system. Harris is also the author of two books offering progressive Jewish readings of Torah: Moses: A Stranger among Us and Leviticus: You Have No Idea, both published by Cascade Books.