Radical Inclusion: Engaging Interfaith Families for a Thriving Jewish Future is for everyone interested in seeing more interfaith families become more engaged in Jewish life and community – something that must happen if liberal Judaism is going to thrive into the future.
This one-of-a-kind book extends three invitations to interfaith couples to experience Jewish life and find meaning, spiritual expression, community, and a framework to raise caring children. It lays out three road maps for what lay and professional Jewish leaders and their organizations can do:
- adopt radically inclusive attitudes towards interfaith couples and partners from different faith traditions, treating them as equal to inmarried couples and Jews;
- adopt radically inclusive policies that embrace full participation by interfaith families; and
- implement a massive, concerted programmatic response designed to engage interfaith families.
Watch this space for ordering information.
Advance Praise for Radical Inclusion
In Radical Inclusion, Edmund Case reinforces his well-deserved reputation as an eloquent advocate for a policy of inclusion that would welcome and engage interfaith couples and their offspring in every facet of contemporary Jewish life. He argues calmly, comprehensively, persuasively, and passionately for this position, crafting a book that is must reading for Jewish laypersons as well as Jewish communal and religious leaders. It is a vital work for all who are concerned about the future of Jewish life in North America.
Rabbi David Ellenson, Chancellor Emeritus, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
American Jewry is currently experiencing a paradigmatic demographic shift, one that is fundamentally altering what it means to raise children in a Jewish family. Radical Inclusion provides us with a positive and optimistic perspective on those changes, and makes a clear and cogent case for the benefits of embracing the potential contributions intermarriage can bring to the American Jewish community. It is a “must read” for Jewish communal leaders as well as everyone else who cares about the future of Judaism in the United States, and it should be a required textbook in every Jewish Studies course.
Sandy Cardin, President, Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
Most North American Jewish families now include folks from other faith traditions. Radical Inclusion is an indispensable guide to navigating this unprecedented period of demographic change, presenting solid research and practical suggestions with clear-eyed optimism and none of the usual hand-wringing.
In his life, his life’s work and in these pages, Ed Case powerfully demonstrates that choosing to marry someone who isn’t Jewish is not the same as a decision to exit the Jewish community. From narrative to policy to practice, this book lays out a path for Jewish communal leaders to create organizations that welcome and value Jews and the people who love us and help us all to live lives full of Jewish values and practices.
Rabbi Deborah Waxman, President, Reconstructing Judaism
There are few people better positioned to reflect on issues related to interfaith families than Ed Case. Radical Inclusion includes accessible information to those interfaith families attempting to find their way, as well as providing a challenge to leaders in the Jewish community as to our approach to this growing community. Agree or disagree, Ed Case has created the framework for a much-needed discussion.
I know from my own experience how negative attitudes about intermarriage turn interfaith families away – and how a genuinely inclusive stance can draw them in. More interfaith couples and their children would engage in Jewish life if the approaches recommended in this book were adopted widely.
Radical Inclusion is the story of Ed Case’s struggle to understand intermarriage, one of the most complex challenges facing the Jewish people in an open society, and to create strategies for inclusion. The book chronicles his work, the creation of InterfaithFamily, and his understanding of how Jewish identity, Jewish peoplehood, Jewish practice and Jewish community figure in the lives of interfaith families who are committed to raising Jewish children. His work helped change the way interfaith families are viewed and outreach become normative in many parts of the Jewish community. The book is also an important and inspiring tale about how one person with a mission can make a real difference. I don’t agree with some of his conclusions, but he raises important issues with passion and clarity.
Barry Shrage, former President and CEO, Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston; Professor of the Practice, Brandeis University, Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program, and Faculty, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies
Radical Inclusion is the definitive book to date on inter-faith families and the challenge of this next era in Jewish and American life: an era of unprecedented mixing, blending, bending, and switching identities. This is an honest and illuminating call for Jewish leadership to focus on people rather than boundaries and borders and is a fearless invitation to create the next iterations of Jewish that paradoxically will only emerge in the space where inclusiveness and distinctiveness meet.
Radical Inclusion lays out a paradigm shift for the Jewish community: it invites us to see the opportunities and possibilities of the current intermarriage “crisis” in the Jewish community. Part handbook, part manifesto, and part memoir, Case offers a compelling argument for why the Jewish community must engage our interfaith families as full partners in the enterprise of Jewish life.
Speaking from the heart, Ed Case shares the story of his family and so many others who have felt unwanted or unappreciated by the Jewish community because of intermarriage. He forces his readers to consider whether existing approaches designed to protect the tradition actually do more to threaten its future. For leaders of the Jewish community, this book provides food for thought as your organization considers how to create a home that feels right for everyone.
Winnie Sandler Grinspoon, President, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation
If you want to understand interfaith families, and the issues they face in engaging in Jewish life, look no further. Ed Case’s new book is essential reading.
The powerful story of a passionate, tireless advocate for bringing Jewish living to intermarried families. Ed makes a persuasive case for inclusion, compassion, and welcoming of those seeking a meaningful Jewish life.
“The Jewish community faces a stark choice: build walls or build bridges. In relation to intermarriage, the former posture is doomed to failure. The latter can create a community that is enriched by an influx of non-Jews who see the beauty of Jewish life and creating a Jewish home. Ed Case has made this case to the Jewish community for more than 20 years. Now we have his playbook on how to do it with sensitivity and intelligence.”
Rabbi Sid Schwarz, Senior Fellow at Hazon and author, Jewish Megatrends: Charting the Course of the American Jewish Future
A seriously well documented analysis of the most pressing issue facing the North American Jewish community, documenting the pressures of North American Jewish life to respond to demographic change. Kudos to Ed Case for placing this important issue into a context where community leaders and family members can more fully understand how Judaism address modernity.
Rabbi Charles Simon, former Executive Director, Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, Inc.
With his signature clarity and passion, Ed Case draws on two decades of pioneering work with InterfaithFamily to give us this book. Taking a hard look at what’s lacking in efforts to engage interfaith families now, he advocates forcefully on behalf of an expanded vision of inclusion and—most important—takes on the full array of thorny issues to lay out a path to carry that vision into the world. Read it; then let’s do it together!
Dru Greenwood, former Director, Department of Outreach, Union for Reform Judaism, and Founding Director, SYNERGY: UJA-Federation of New York and Synagogues Together
Edmund Case has placed a large and welcoming frame around a vivid portrait of diversity within American Jewish family life today. After decades in which the very idea of “radical inclusion” was feared and rejected by Jewish leadership, including from our more liberal movements, and the author himself regarded with skepticism and scorn, now this is the book we are ready and waiting for. It reflects the author’s life experiences and years of careful observation and study of interfaith relationships and marriages. Through moving vignettes the reader identifies with the pain of communal rejection and the joy its of embrace. Toward the foremost goal of engaging interfaith families in Jewish living and community, this optimistic and visionary volume tells us how to do it, through changing attitudes and the creation of experiential opportunities that will open emotional doorways of meaningful inclusion. Ed Case’s prescient work belongs in the hands of our leadership, especially the American rabbinate and rabbinic students, who are eager to find and widen these gateways.
Rabbi Jerome K. Davidson, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Beth-El of Great Neck NY and faculty member, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
Radical Inclusion is must reading for rabbis, cantors, lay leaders, anyone contemplating intermarriage, those who choose Judaism, and born Jews who want a richer understanding of the history and issues surrounding intermarriage. Ed Case brings a scholar’s eye to issues confronting the organized Jewish community and makes a powerful case for addressing such concerns with sensitivity, dignity, and respect as well as with deep concern for the future of Judaism. Poet Edwin Markham once wrote about a circle that shut out an outsider but concluded, “Love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle that took him in.” His words cut to the very heart of this important volume.
Rabbi Stephen S. Pearce, PhD, Senior Rabbi Emeritus and Taube Scholar, Congregation Emanu-El, San Francisco
Our Jewish community desperately needs to embrace and engage every family, especially interfaith families. Ed Case understood this decades ago and has been a steadfast leader in this quest. This book is both thoughtful and powerful. If I could, I would buy a copy for every rabbi and Jewish leader in America. It’s not just a must read, it’s a must act!
Jay Sanderson, President & CEO, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles
In remarkably clear and concise prose, Ed Case has written an important chronicle of Jewish intermarriage and outreach in America, adding to it his logical next steps for “radical inclusion,” which emphasizes equality and personal meaning. His positive vision for the future of engagement should be required reading for any Jewish communal professional intending to work with interfaith families—which of course means all Jewish communal professionals.
Paul Golin, Executive Director, Society for Humanistic Judaism
I love Ed Case’s advocacy of adopting the art of “radical inclusion” as we as a community think about how to embrace interfaith families, as Ed defines them. We must go beyond being “open” and “welcoming.” While those approaches are a start, they are indeed just that, a start. Ed has provided his audience with thoughtful, nuanced, yet realistic approaches to practical and philosophical challenges and opportunities that face those of us who work with all Jewish families.
Alicia Schuyler Oberman, Executive Director, Jack Miller Family Foundation, Jack and Goldie Wolfe Miller Fund
For many years, Ed Case has highlighted the need to include interfaith families in Jewish life. In Radical Inclusion, he brings together years of experience, significant data, and clear thinking to provide an understanding of the challenges as well as specific methods to strengthen Jewish life. Anyone interested in building a more vibrant community should read this book.
Gil Preus, CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Washington
For anyone who is committed to the future of Jewish life and understands what it means to live in the 21st-century with the reality of interfaith marriage, Ed Case’s book is a filled with insights and practical wisdom. I have known Ed Case for decades, his commitment to the continuity of Jewish life and his understanding of the phenomenon of interfaith marriage is without parallel.
Rabbi Alvin Sugarman, Rabbi Emeritus, The Temple, Atlanta GA
Ed Case is a prophet and a change agent.
Rabbi Rim Meirowitz, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Shir Tikvah, Winchester MA
With typical wisdom and sensitivity, Ed Case considers intermarriage both as a communal phenomenon and a personal decision. Radical Inclusion tenderly provides a roadmap and support for every couple taking the journey. It should be in every clergyperson’s and communal worker’s library.
Rabbi Peter Rubinstein, Director of Jewish Community and Bronfman Center for Jewish Life, 92nd Street Y
Interfaith families constitute the majority in the American Jewish community. Instead of putting his head in the sand and repeating uninspired fears about survival, as so many have done, Ed Case offers a clarion call for making our synagogues and families truly inclusive, inspiring and engaging. I have been waiting for a book like this for fifteen years, and no could write it but Ed Case. Highly recommended.
Rabbi Evan Moffic, Makom Solel Lakeside Congregation, Highland Park IL, author of the The Happiness Prayer: Ancient Jewish Wisdom for the Best Way to Live Today
Ed Case is a trailblazer in the field of interfaith inclusion. Before anyone else, he understood the importance of treating partners from another faith with the respect and appreciation they deserve and how crucial this is to ensuring a healthy Jewish future. The recommendations clearly outlined in this must-read book are solutions we can act on immediately. Young Jews, both children of interfaith families and those married to or dating someone from another background, want to feel embraced by the Jewish community and want to be given the opportunity to make a significant contribution to Jewish life.
Becky Voorwinde, Executive Director, The Bronfman Fellowship
Starting with his personal journey and his online publications, Ed Case’s work has expanded to capture the opportunities implicit in contemporary American Jewish life. While there are and will be endless arguments as to whether this is “good for the Jews“ or not, he has taken the reality of a Jewish community living in unprecedented freedom and identified ways of enriching family and communal responses. Creating road maps to help create lives of meaning and a strengthened community, he outlines a better future. This book needs to be widely read.
Jeffrey R. Solomon, President, Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies
Edmund Case is one of my Jewish heroes. As a rabbi who for over 40 years has officiated at interfaith weddings, given every interfaith couple I married a free year’s membership in my synagogue and from the very beginning of my career adopted a policy of “radical inclusion,” openness and a welcoming non-judgmental approach to every couple, Ed’s passion for creating Jewishly inspiring experiences for interfaith families through his writing and creation of InterfaithFamily has been a constant source of wonder and inspiration both personally and professionally. This is a book that every rabbi, every Jewish educator, every executive director of every Jewish institution should read and embrace.
Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, Ph.D., Rabbi Emeritus, Kehillat Israel Reconstructionist Congregation
We’re living in the most open society in Jewish history. There are a growing number of families that have both members who are Jewish and members who are not. How do we support them? How do we strengthen Jewish life? What advice do we offer? What frames for moving forward? This book is important, timely, thought-provoking – and deeply helpful.
Nigel S. Savage, President & CEO, Hazon
Each year there are more and more interfaith marriages. Ed Case has written a masterful book with wise advice for couples who unite Jewish and often Christian partners. This book will enrich their marriages and help them raise their children with a deeper and more meaningful understanding of their backgrounds and faiths.
Newton N. Minow, Senior Counsel, Sidley Austin LLP