“I am Jewish, and I’m dating a wonderful Christian woman. As our relationship gets more serious, we’d like to figure out what it might mean to be an interfaith couple. What resources are available for us, and how can we get started?”

The most important resource for any interfaith couple is a local rabbi, who can answer almost all of the questions that you might have and can connect you with a variety of resources and opportunities to meet and engage with other couples seeking to explore what it means to be part of the Jewish community. You should be aware, however, that rabbis of different congregations, belonging to different movements (including Reform, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, and Conservative) will likely respond differently, and if you find that a particular rabbi with whom you meet or speak does not seem like the right rabbi for you, keep calling around until you find one that does. To find a synagogue near you, visit the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts directory page, where you can search by synagogue affiliation, neighborhood, and more.

Here in the Boston area, we have an extraordinary number of truly wonderful additional resources. CJP supports a number of programs and resources for interfaith couples here in the greater Boston area, including:

Reform Jewish Outreach Boston, which, in collaboration with the Union for Reform Judaism, area Reform congregations, and their leadership, offers a variety of classes and workshops, including Introduction to Judaism classes and workshops and resources for interfaith couples and individuals exploring Judaism.

The Jewish Discovery Institute is the Conservative movement’s greater Boston area resource for interfaith couples, families, and individuals who want to learn about Judaism. Their offerings include free classes on Basic Judaism and support for lifecycle events.

The Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston (JCC) provides celebrations and workshops for couples and parents on site and in various local settings on creating meaningful memories around Shabbat, Passover and more.

InterfaithFamily is a national organization which happens to be based here in the Boston area. They help connect people in interfaith relationships with each other and with local welcoming Jewish organizations, professionals, and events, and publish a bi-weekly newsletter which you can sign up to receive on their website.

And finally, beginning in March, 2012, the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) will debut a new ReachOut! volunteer program that will include opportunities designed especially for interfaith couples. Work with teens, spend time with seniors or serve meals at a homeless shelter. The program includes two Shabbat dinners to socialize with your fellow volunteers.

And once again, most individual synagogues offer programs, workshops, and classes geared especially to interfaith couples and those seeking to learn more about Judaism. Do not be shy about asking what your neighborhood synagogue (or even one neighborhood or two away) has to offer!

For more information on the programs listed above, visit www.cjp.org/interfaith.

created at: 2012-01-30Rabbi Howard Jaffe is the senior rabbi at Temple Isaiah, a Reform congregation in Lexington.