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Book Shows Successful Side of Interfaith Family

Contact: Donald Cohen-Cutler
Zachary Kolstein

New Book Shows Successful Side of Interfaith Family Life
Inside Intermarriage Now Available – 10-City Book Tour Starts November 5

September 26, 2006 –NEW YORK– Everyone knows that marriage isn’t easy. Finding a spiritual balance while navigating one another’s religious beliefs and cultural traditions can test the relationship of even the best interfaith couples. In Inside Intermarriage: A Christian Partner’s Perspective on Raising a Jewish Family, author Jim Keen explores these challenges as he shares with readers his own journey as a Christian father helping his Jewish wife raise their two daughters in the Jewish faith.

Keen’s engaging narrative, which is often funny and always inspiring, will resonate with interfaith families of all backgrounds. He begins with his early courtship of his future wife, Bonnie, and how the then “wet-behind-the-ears” college freshman struggled to understand the Hebrew and Yiddish words that slipped into her speech. He later recounts their difficulty in dealing with disapproving family members when they announced their engagement, and his lifelong commitment to learning the religion of his wife and children.

Children of interfaith couples are often conflicted over a perceived need to choose one parent’s religion over that of the other, or simply choose to celebrate neither religion. In the chapters devoted to parenting, Keen recounts the deliberate decisions he and Bonnie have made to avoid this dilemma, enabling them to raise their children with a clear Jewish identity without compromising his deep felt connection to his Protestant faith. They exemplify how even the trickiest of spiritual dilemmas, such as Christmas and Jewish High Holy Day observance, can be resolved through communication and sensitivity.

The book provides helpful suggestions and solutions for all interfaith couples. Each chapter includes a postscript written by professionals who work with interfaith families as an addition resource. Above all, Keen encourages couples to embrace, not despair, their differences—advice which he himself has found to be spiritually fulfilling. He writes, “People can work around their religious and cultural differences and live to tell about it. They may also find their lives exquisitely enhanced. How often do we get a chance to learn about, moreover become a part of another culture? Many people view that as a chance to broaden their minds.”

Jim Keen graduated from the University of Michigan in 1989 with a degree in Communication. He wrote Inside Intermarriage: A Christian Partner’s Perspective on Raising a Jewish Family to demonstrate that there are workable solutions to one of the biggest issues facing the Jewish community. He is a columnist for, the Detroit Jewish News, the Atlanta Jewish Times, and the Ann Arbor Family Press. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife and two daughters.

Inside Intermarriage is available in paperback from URJ Press (212-650-4120/ for $15.95. Jim Keen begins his 10 city book tour in San Diego on November 5, 2006.

The Union for Reform Judaism (formerly the Union of American Hebrew Congregations) is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, uniting 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 synagogues. Union services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programs, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C.


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