In the past, we have blogged about Mitch Cohen and his organization, Israel Encounter. Last year, he led a trip to Israel designed for those who have chosen Judaism. It was a way to support them as they began their Jewish journeys.
Cohen, a Jewish communal professional in Atlanta, is again leading a trip to Israel, but this year he is targeting another segment of the Jewish population. The organization is leading a trip for interfaith couples, and in order to lower the cost barrier, the non-Jewish partners get to travel for free. This is also a way to thank them for opening themselves up to Jewish life.
According to an article in The Jewish Times, the trip will introduce husbands and wives of a different religion to the Israeli and American Jewish communities by “helping them recognize the role Judaism can play in their family, and teach them the joy and beauty of Jewish customs, holidays, and beliefs.” The goal of this trip is for the families to “make a commitment to raising Jewish children in a home imbued with Jewish values and practices.”
Cohen, who founded Israel Encounter with Steven Chervin, said:
“This program is especially important when the woman of the interfaith couple is not Jewish. Women are the spiritual backbone of the family. They usually determine the spirituality of the couple, and it’s important they understand the importance of the Jewish experience.”
We couldn’t agree more. At JOI, we have created numerous programs to support and educate interfaith families, such as Mothers Circle, designed for women of other religious backgrounds raising Jewish families, and Empowering Ruth, for women who have recently chosen Judaism. Like Israel Encounter, our goal is to create a warm and supportive environment for everyone who desires a welcoming and inclusive Jewish community.
Good luck, Mitch, and we are confident your trip will be a success!