Shabbat candle lighting: 8:07pm

When Love and Religion Mingle

Are you in a Jewish interfaith relationship? Do you need help navigating the challenges and opportunities of love and religion?

The JCC and Jewish Community Services (JCS) are thrilled to be offering an exciting new workshop entitled Love & Religion, which seeks to create a safe, welcoming environment encouraging Jewish interfaith couples to examine their hopes and fears about the role that a Jewish identity will play in their life.

In this four-session workshop, couples that are seriously dating, engaged, or newly married will meet and share perspectives with each other to address similar questions.

The program was created by Marion Usher, an interfaith couples expert. It will be led by Beth Land Hecht, LCSW-C, Senior Manager, Community Engagement, for Jewish Community Services (JCS).

According to Hecht, the benefit of a class like Love & Religion is that the couples involved have already thought about the question of interfaith dating and marriage enough to want information, support, and direction. 

“The fact that they’re thinking about it, or someone suggested it to them - that’s the first step,” Hecht says.

Then, once couples come in the door, “they benefit by feeling like they are in a safe space to share openly and honestly, and feel welcome by the Jewish community, without judgement.”

“Each session we talk about something different – identity, religion, relationships, growing up - and how to anticipate where they might want to be [now and in the future].”

JCC Senior Director of Jewish Life, Rabbi Jessy Gross, also recommends Love & Religion to any couple who is interested in engaging with the question about religion in a meaningful way.

“I find that couples often speak about what is and is not important to them when it comes to their religious traditions and identity, but it is easy to miss the deeper questions and reflections that can come from that,” Gross says.

“I have worked with multiple couples who have gone through Love & Religion and every one of them emerged from the program thinking more deeply and intentionally about the role of religion in their own lives and in their relationship. Even if a couple identifies as ‘spiritual but not religious’ or it appears that religion and religious tradition matter only to one partner, I find that when it comes time to plan a wedding ceremony, it is usually not so black and white.”

Hecht describes another great aspect of the program: “We also let couples know: ‘When you leave, we’re still here!’ - to answer questions, etc.  We give couples books, information, resources.  We say ‘We can’t do it for you,’ but we can support and encourage them as they move forward.”

“Couples should take some clear time to think about these issues with the instruction of experts and the opportunity to engage with peers thinking through them as well. It is a great opportunity and I can see, first hand, how it has expanded the thinking of the couples who have participated,” Gross says.

The next scheduled Love & Religion class will be held:

Mondays | April 30-May 21, 2018 | 7:00-9:00pm
Downtown Baltimore JCC in Federal Hill

For more information, please visit, a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about our many interfaith programs and services. You may also contact Lara Nicolson | 410.559.3532 |

Fee: $150.00 per couple