Weblog Entries for January 2005

New JOI Publication About Jewish Ritual

JOI executive director Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky and Rabbi Daniel Judson offer an easy-to-understand introduction to nine specific areas of Jewish ritual, how they originated, and how each has the potential to enrich lives, in their new book, “Jewish Ritual: A Brief Introduction for Christians.” It is the perfect guide for anyone involved in an interfaith relationship with a Jewish person, those interested in learning more about the traditions from which Christianity emerged, and others who want to deepen their own spiritual life with new rituals and practices.

Intro to the Jewish Mourning Period

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In thinking about the first anniversary of Egon Mayer’s death, I came across this web page on the Aish website called “The Stages of Jewish Mourning” that I found to be a very useful basic introduction to the way Judaism provides comfort through ritual to those who have lost a loved one.

Remembering Egon

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Today marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of JOI’s founding director Dr. Egon Mayer. Our thoughts are of course with his family. For me personally, I can’t count the times during the past year when I wished Egon was still with us, so I could bounce ideas off him or share with him JOI’s progress. Egon Mayer in 2001Most recently, I thought of him as we launched this JOI Blog. I remember how thrilled he was with the website redesign we did in 2002, and I’m sure he would have loved the added opportunities this blog will provide JOI in reaching out and welcoming people into the Jewish community. To learn more about Egon…

You can visit his personal website, lovingly redesigned by his family after his passing, at

You can also read about Egon and his work in the special edition of the JOI newsletter in his memory from Spring 2004, here. We also published a piece by Rabbi Joy Levitt called “The Seven Commandments of Egon Mayer,” which we posted online as a PDF file, here.

Review of “Introducing My Faith and My Community”

Reviews are coming in for Rabbi Olitzky’s book “Introducing My Faith and My Community: The Jewish Outreach Institute Guide for the Christian in a Jewish Interfaith Relationship” and they’re overwhelmingly positive. For example, from The Bookwatch:

An ideal outreach guide for Christian readers in a Jewish Interfaith relationship, Rabbi Olitzky accessibly addresses a diversity of issues including beliefs, religion, and the place of God in the Jewish faith; study, learning, and charity as core values in Jewish life; food, holidays, humor, and ethnicity as parts of Jewish culture; and the importance of Synagogue, Israel, and Community to American Jews. Highly recommended reading, especially for the Christian husbands of Jewish wives, the Christian wives of Jewish husbands; and the Christian relatives of Jewish children.

JOI Enters The Blogoshpere!

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It is with much excitement — and as much fanfare as can be mustered in cyberspace — that the staff and board of the Jewish Outreach Institute proudly present our first post to the JOI Blog! (Not sure what a blog is? Click here for definitions.) Why a blog? Read on…


Click Here!