Family, good friends, and home-made challah—some of the best things about Shabbat (Sabbath) dinner were all there at the Chai Center in Avon, Connecticut, where fourteen families gathered for a traditional Shabbat. But the most interesting thing about this Shabbat was the least traditional—the moms at the table are raising Jewish families, but they are not Jewish themselves.
Intermarriage is on the rise, and an increasing number of women who were not brought up Jewish are deciding to create a Jewish family for their kids. The Mothers Circle offers these moms a Jewish education, hands-on experience with Jewish rituals, and the support of their peers.
JOI created the curriculum and the structure for The Mothers Circle, but it is the moms and the course facilitators that give it heart and soul. “You feel a sense of community among these women,” said one Mothers Circle mom. “We all have a common goal.” The Hartford Mothers Circle will break for the summer, but the group will meet informally to discuss Jewish books. They’ve created a warm, supportive community, and it shows.