Welcoming Interfaith Families to Jewish Life
Q&A with Allison Hirsch: On Community, CJP’s Interfaith Outreach…and the Rockettes
Allison Hirsch is doing everything she can to ensure her kids are part of a strong Jewish community. She volunteers with CJP’s Downtown Initiative, the Family and Interfaith Planning Committee and the Commission on Jewish Connection and Engagement—all while making sure her kids get to Hebrew school on time. Along with her husband Andrew, she’s also a generous CJP supporter. But, as Allison “confesses” in this interview, she’s not Jewish. Learn why community matters to her.
Why did you first get involved with CJP?
I’m part of a Jewish family but I’m not Jewish. I feel like I have to confess that up front—and actually, I’m Protestant, so I don’t even know how to do a confession! My husband’s family has always been very involved with CJP, so it’s become a priority for me, especially now that I’m raising Jewish kids.
How would you describe your volunteer experience with CJP?
CJP is very well organized, they have clear goals and they ask for a lot of input. I saw the potential and I wanted to help create a strong Jewish community for my kids. I’ve always felt welcomed and that I have as much to add as anyone else, and that’s really a unique tribute to CJP.
Why is the interfaith agenda important to you?
I like the idea of making Jewish life accessible to interfaith families, and engaging people in Jewish culture without creating barriers. I’ve always been very impressed that CJP really cares about helping the community continually improve. That’s also what I really like about Judaism.
I think 40 years ago, being an interfaith family was harder. So far, the only question my son has asked is why it was his Jewish grandmother who took him to see the Rockettes Christmas show! She just thought it would be fun.
To me, what’s important is finding ways to get families together. I want to create a community where my kids have lots of options to find out about their Jewish heritage and know that being Jewish is a great thing to be.
Visit cjp.org/interfaith for more about our interfaith programs.