FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Alli West, Program Director
Michael Douglas Funds New Initiative Called “Connect” to Engage Interfaith Families in Northern Westchester
Bedford Corners, NY – December 1, 2016 – CONNECT, a new initiative in Northern Westchester, seeks to welcome and engage interfaith families. Through a mix of adult-and family-oriented programs, CONNECT will enhance connections, build community and help participants find their place within the Jewish world. Through the generosity of Michael Douglas, the Genesis Prize Foundation and The Jewish Funders Network, Temple Shaaray Tefila of Bedford received a grant to support interfaith families as they create their own traditions and experiences that connect them to the Jewish community in a way that is comfortable and viable for them.
“Growing up, I never felt accepted as a Jew because my mother was not Jewish,” Douglas has said. “I saw that as a barrier most of my life. Engaging interfaith families is essential to creating a thriving Jewish community and I am honored to help launch this new initiative.”
CONNECT programs planned for this year include a holiday wine tasting at Moderne Barn Wines & Spirits on December 10th, a family playtime event at Kidville, Mt. Kisco, a pre-Passover cooking party at Camp Kiwi in Somers, and an outdoor family picnic and bonfire. “There are many interfaith couples out there who are raising children in the Jewish faith, but do not feel connected to the Jewish community. Our goal is to support interfaith couples as they forge their own path in exploring Jewish traditions and teachings.” said Alli West, CONNECT program director. “Each program will be designed to include a fun and engaging activity and a small Jewish themed teaching to enhance family connections, while supporting and respecting the non-Jewish partner, making them feel welcome within the Jewish community. “
A 2013 survey done by the Pew Research Foundation found that 44% of all currently married Jewish respondents indicate that they are married to non-Jewish spouses. “It is the job of the Jewish community to make these families feel just as welcome and vital in the community as families with two Jewish partners”, said West. “The mission of CONNECT is to create rich and engaging experiences for Interfaith families and help them forge an organic connection to the Jewish community at large. “
CONNECT programs are open to the community and are funded through the generosity of Michael Douglas and the Jewish Funders Network. More information about CONNECT and upcoming programs is available at www.connectandengage.com