Last week, we launched the Network of Interfaith Families Groups (NIFG), a facebook group to connect families celebrating both religions. The object was to help these families to find each other, and to chat with leadership from the established groups. For the cover of the group page, I used my photo of a mosaic sun. As interfaith families, we are not melting pots or smoothies, whisked or whirled together, but intricate and careful juxtapositions of many vibrant elements of practice and belief and text and history, creating something whole and beautiful.
So far, the NIFG project is a success. We connected five families from Atlanta, and they have already formed their own facebook group. And news of the Network is rippling out. In an uploaded file of people willing to be contacted in new regions, you can now find a point person for Atlanta, Los Angeles, Nashville, Raleigh NC, Richmond VA (Christian/Jewish), Richmond VA (Christian/Muslim), San Francisco, Seattle, St. Paul, western MA, Wheaton IL, and the north woods of Wisconsin. So if you’re living in any of those places, or know someone who is and might benefit from meeting other families “doing both,” join us on facebook.
To be honest, for years I have been talking about creating an independent national organization for interfaith families raising children with interfaith education, but publishing Being Both took precedence. Meanwhile, every week, I would hear from families that needed to find each other. Finally, I realized I could make this happen, quickly, on facebook. (The idea is the legacy of the former Dovetail organization, which used to have an electronic bulletin board for interfaith families to find each other, before the facebook era). I still plan to help create a more formal organization. Among other things, we need to have a national conference, so that we can support and learn from each other, in person. But in the meantime, we can use social media and the DIY (Do It Yourself) spirit to reach more families who plan to give their interfaith kids an interfaith education, and want to find community. I remain convinced that most human beings need community. And that all human beings would benefit from more interfaith education.
Susan Katz Miller’s book, Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family is available now in hardcover, paperback and eBook from Beacon Press.