Is this truly year three of the Being Both book tour? Somehow, I am still traveling around the country, speaking at museums, universities, conferences, synagogues, and churches. I continue to draw new energy and ideas from my conversations with all of you at these events. And, I am even more passionate now than I was three years ago about listening to your stories, and exploring the experiences of interfaith families in our culture and our world.
If the time seemed right for Being Both three years ago, it seems all the more important now, as we face religious and racial intolerance and strive for social justice. I find my message is evolving in response to my encounters with all of you, in person and online. Here are just some of the advocacy themes that I feel compelled to tackle as an interfaith activist:
- Religious institutions need to accept that a significant percentage of interfaith families want their children to have interfaith education. Engaging with these families makes more sense than excluding them.
- Religious institutions need to move beyond tolerating or even welcoming interfaith families, and figure out how to benefit from interfaith families.
- Organizations devoted to interfaith dialogue and understanding need to recognize the important role of people from interfaith families as bridge-builders and peacemakers, rather than feeling threatened by perceived blurring of boundaries.
- It is time to celebrate the rise of Generation Interfaith. Our world is being transformed by adult interfaith children who are now rabbis, ministers, priests, teachers, and organizational and political leaders.
- In a time of continuing religious tension and strife, we all need more interfaith education. And interfaith children, in particular, need and deserve interfaith education.
Recently, you all have helped me develop these ideas, on facebook and twitter, in our Network of Interfaith Family Groups, in New York at The Jewish Museum in an “Unorthodox” presentation with Jewish historian Alan Levenson, in the private coaching work I do with interfaith couples, and in the consulting I do with religious educators, clergy, and organizations. In the last few months, I have been able to expand on some of these ideas in “Is There a Jewish Way to Parent?” in Moment Magazine, in “4 Questions Every Interfaith Couple Should Ask Before Getting Serious,” in the Huffington Post, and in an extended local CBS news interview (in three parts, scroll to the bottom of that page).
Coming up in March, I am excited about continuing these conversations in Harrisburg PA, Chicago, and Long Island. If you have friends or family in these places, let them know about these upcoming events:
Harrisburg PA, March 3 2016, 6-7:30pm. Interfaith Families (and book signing), Morrison Gallery, Library, Penn State Harrisburg. Free.
Highland Park IL, March 6 2016, 10:30-noon. Lakeside Congregation for Reform Judaism. Free. Come at 10:15 for breakfast!
Chicago IL, March 6 2016, 7-9pm. Mishkan Chicago (registration is full, sign up for waitlist), at Uncommon Ground (Lakeview). Free coffee and dessert bar . Co-Sponsored by InterfaithFamily/Chicago.
Chicago IL, March 7 2016. Generation Interfaith: Women as Religious Innovators, Illinois Institute of Technology. Free.
You can always check the most updated details on all of the upcoming Being Both events at susankatzmiller.com/events. And let me know if we can work together to set up a talk, workshop, or consultation in your area. I am not going to move on and write a book about a completely different topic. Interfaith life is my life’s work.
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.