I remember the day like it was yesterday, even though several years have passed. My hands were shaking and my heart racing as I typed an email to Rabbi Darby asking if he would officiate at my wedding. There was really no reason to be worried—my partner Courtney and I had been friends with Darby and his wife Randi for years. We belonged to his synagogue, Kerem Shalom—a kind, inclusive home for many interfaith families like ours. And yet, still, my heart was jumping out of my chest as I pressed “Send” to ask our rabbi if he would officiate at our wedding, the wedding of a Catholic and a Jew.
He said yes, and we were thrilled, and it was a beautiful day as we stood under the chuppah. And yet, I think about that moment often, and how worried I was, how vulnerable I felt.
It is one of the many reasons that I’m grateful to the trustees of the Michael B. Rukin Charitable Foundation for its support of the Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship and especially Morreen Rukin, who has become a thought partner in this work. I’m also grateful to the 40 rabbis who have been or currently are Fellows, committing themselves to furthering their learning and work with interfaith families in Jewish life. For a glimpse of how the rabbis have been impacted and changed by their Fellowship, I encourage you to watch the recent Siyyum (Graduation/Completion) of Cohort 2.
Through the Fellowship, rabbis deepen their understanding of interfaith couples and families, and grapple with the questions that arise for them, learning from experts in the field. At a recent retreat this spring, Fellows learned from Dr. Samira Mehta—a religious scholar and expert on interfaith, interracial and multicultural experiences in America, and author of Beyond Chrismukkah: The Christian-Jewish Interfaith Family in the United States—and 18Doors Chief Digital Strategy Officer Kat Manos about what we have learned from interfaith couples and families online, as well as other experts in the field.
I am excited that applications have started to roll in from rabbis who want to be part of Cohort 4. We’ve made some important changes with this cohort, including asking each Fellow to complete a capstone project during their Fellowship, and I can’t wait to see the projects that Fellows create. We’re accepting applications through April 28, and are often told that 18Doors is the “best kept secret” in Jewish life. I’d appreciate if you’d help us change that by sharing this email and information about the Fellowship with the rabbis in your life, your network and community.
Thanks for considering it.