Finding Community and Themselves in jHUB

Tags: Federation, Interfaith, Young Adults, Family, Interfaith, Education

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Nina and Scott

Nina and Scott on the 2019 Honeymoon Israel trip.

When Nina and Scott decided to get married, they were determined to respect each other’s religious background – she is Jewish, he was raised Catholic. They planned their interfaith wedding, with the help of Rabbi Enid Lader of Beth Israel – The West Temple, who encouraged Nina and Scott to participate in The Taste of Judaism courses, sponsored by jHUB, a joint initiative of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland, and is an InterfaithFamily affiliate.

jHUB also provides new ways for interfaith couples and families to comfortably explore, discover, and personalize the meaning of Jewish culture and values in the modern world. As newlyweds, Scott became even more curious about Judaism as the two cultures began to mesh. Through a suggestion from Rabbi Lader, Nina and Scott then looked for more ways to meet others in the community through jHUB.

“Neither Nina nor I wanted to convert – but we also didn’t want to be outsiders in each other’s ‘traditions,’” said Scott. “jHUB provided a positive and encouraging environment for us to learn together and to ask tough questions of ourselves we might have been afraid to ask or weren’t aware enough to know to ask.”

“Not only did we begin to learn about ourselves and what living Jewishly meant to us, jHUB also enabled us to find a community of other couples who are experiencing all the same types of things we are going through,” said Nina. “It didn’t take long for this support system to become a circle of friends.”

“Nina and I have found in Jewish Cleveland the home we always wanted, thanks to jHUB,” Scott added. “From the fun learning tools we could use at home – like ‘Hanukkah in a Box’ to welcoming and inclusive events, jHUB has opened our eyes and opened doors for us time after time.”

Nina and Scott recently had an opportunity to visit Israel as a couple for the first time through Honeymoon Israel, which provides trips to Israel for couples with at least one Jewish partner. jHUB is Cleveland's local partner with Honeymoon Israel.

“I could not wait to see Israel through Scott’s eyes,” said Nina, who has been there before. “To have this type of experience at the outset of our journey together is nothing short of amazing. We’re so lucky to have jHUB and the Federation helping us find our place in the Jewish community.”

For more information on jHUB, please contact Rabbi Melinda Mersack at mmersack@jecc.org or 216-377-6007.

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Learn More: Federation, Interfaith, Young Adults, Family, Interfaith, Education