Interfaith Family? We welcome your child!
When you send your child to a URJ youth program, they will make friends that last a lifetime. We promise to provide them with a nurturing and fulfilling experience.
Your child, and any child from an interfaith family who is being raised Jewish, has a home at the URJ. For over 30 years, the Reform Movement has been at the forefront of the Jewish world, ensuring a welcoming environment for interfaith families and their children.
Below you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions. Please feel free to contact us if you have additional questions. We warmly welcome the conversation about your child’s participation in the URJ’s youth programs.
What happens at the URJ’s youth programs? What is Jewish living?
Our programs are fun! Our participants experience a great atmosphere, positive role models, and immersive activities and programs.
When you entrust your child to the URJ’s youth programs, he or she will experience what it is like to live in a completely Jewish environment. This complete absorption into the rhythms and calendar of Jewish living gives each child a fuller appreciation of the richness of their Jewish identity and heritage. They are taught the values of charity, justice, and kindness. Experience has shown that they will bring these good values home!
Shabbat is an essential part of the youth experience. All of our programs include Shabbat blessings, dinner and songs. Participants experience the fullness of a Shabbat celebration both spiritually and culturally.
Each child’s pride in their Jewish identity is nurtured, while respect for those of other beliefs is also strongly encouraged.
Will my child feel isolated or difference because one parent is not Jewish?
Not at all. Many of our staff themselves are wonderful products of interfaith marriages. Each child is valued as the unique individual they are, with the wonderful attributes they bring to our community. Each child is recognized as a full member of the Jewish community whether they have one or two Jewish parents.
Will my child feel embarrassed if they don’t know how to do something Jewish?
URJ youth programs are a place for your child to further their knowledge of Judaism in an experiential way. Every child brings a different skill set and knowledge of Jewish tradition and practice. This is a no-stress environment, where learning the levels of Jewish living is an enjoyable and natural progression.
Will it be a problem if my child has limited or no knowledge of Hebrew?
No problem! They will pick it up in an experiential way. Each child learns some basic Hebrew terms, Hebrew blessings and phrases. They’ll enjoy showing off when they return home.
When my child returns home, will he or she be uncomfortable with my not being Jewish?
Remember that many of our staff have experience with interfaith families – either their own, their relatives or their friends. We teach each child that the Torah mandates to honor thy father and mother. We emphasize to each child that this teaching is not based on the parent being Jewish – the teaching is based on honoring each parent. Your position as the child’s parent will continue to be sacrosanct. We will encourage the respect you are due as a parent, with no regard to your own religious beliefs.