Atlanta Synagogue Takes Big Steps to Welcome Intermarried Families

Rabbi Julie Schwartz recently sent a letter to her congregation, Temple Emanu-El, located in the Dunwoody section of Atlanta. This letter explains the philosophy behind the temple’s new approach called Tapestry: Weaving Together Families and Faiths. Rabbi Schwartz writes, “…the leadership of the congregation has adopted a strategy of outreach, inclusion, education and support for interfaith families as a central element of its role in the North Atlanta community.”

She goes on to explain the salient elements of Tapestry:

Specialized programs to help the non-Jewish family member to become more familiar with the Temple environment, ceremonies and content of religious education that their children may be receiving;

Targeted activities designed to introduce interfaith families with one another;

Support and discussion groups to help address issues that face interfaith families;

Co-sponsored events and activities with other clubs, committees, and organizations within Temple Emanu-El to help non-Jewish members and interfaith families become more completely engaged in the Temple Emanu-El community.

We applaud Rabbi Schwartz and Temple Emanu-El for taking an important step and sending out a message of inclusion to the community it serves.


  1. Temple Emanu-el in Atlanta is a wonderful community and we are delighted that several of our Mothers Circle families have made their spiritual home there. Rabbi Schwartz has been a wondeful mentor to the women of The Mothers Circle!

    Comment by Suzette Cohen — August 15, 2007 @ 5:46 pm

  2. Bravo to this Rabbi!!! I wish more synagogues would adopt policies of inclusion of interfaith families! Our rabbi won’t even perform interfaith weddings! How can we be inclusive and welcoming if we abandon those in our Temple Family at this important lifecycle event?

    Comment by Sue Wishkoff — August 16, 2007 @ 9:25 pm

  3. Hi Sue,

    Thanks for your comments. I responded to your similar comment here.

    Comment by Paul Golin — August 17, 2007 @ 11:46 am

  4. Is the Atlanta Jewish community growing or shrinking? Since it doesn’t have a large Haredi community, I’d guess the latter. So an emptying temple is trying to float.

    Comment by Dave — August 17, 2007 @ 7:31 pm

  5. The Jewish community in Atlanta is indeed growing. It is reflective of in migration that most large American cities are experiencing.

    Comment by Kerry Olitzky — August 18, 2007 @ 11:30 pm

  6. Could Sue Wishkoff please contact me?

    Comment by Harvey Wishkoff — March 20, 2008 @ 9:13 pm

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