The rings represent members of an interfaith family joining together to celebrate their traditions while respecting the distinctiveness of each faith.

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Interfaith Families Project
Coming of Age Program

This program is designed to take place during the seventh and eighth grade year and is preceded by a one year preparatory program following the completion of the IFFP Sunday School. Its purpose is to acknowledge and celebrate our children's passage from childhood into young adulthood and to embrace their emerging identities as adolescents.

 It also purports to: 
  • Discover and honor the unique spirit and qualities of each participant.
  • Help each participant find ways to create a rewarding and meaningful life for both herself and her community.
  • Honor the richness of each family's heritage and dual faith background and explore the meaning this holds for each participant.
  • Examine what the Jewish and Christian scriptures and traditions mean to each participant intellectually, spiritually, morally and ethically.

The IFFP Coming of Age Program has the following goals (some of which will be met in the COA Preparatory Year):
1. Foster self-awareness in the context of the larger society such that participants will:
  • recognize their own special qualities and gifts reflect on their upbringing and how it affects their perspective explore what it means to take responsibility for oneself and the consequences of one's actions
  • explore those aspects of self that might benefit from reexamination.
2. Cultivate success in relationships with peers and adults by giving  participants the opportunity to:
  • work with others to accomplish things outside the scope of one individual lead and follow respond caringly to feelings and concerns of others learn negotiating skills and how to resolve conflicts
  • consider how Jewish and Christian scriptures and tradition provide guidance in making choices that affect self and others.
 3. Enhance and deepen the participants' intellectual and spiritual concepts of faith, culture and identity by having participants:
  • explore the value of Christian and Jewish religious traditions in their lives revisit the question of what it means to be interfaith explore belief in God (as one “defines” God) study and experience Jewish and Christian prayer and ritual
  • learn more about “coming of age” in both Jewish and Christian terms.
4. Challenge the participants to take charge of their lives, commit to moral and ethical choices along the way and give in the service of others by having them: 
  • explore principles of Christianity and Judaism concerning social justice, compassion and service confront the students with moral and ethical choices through the use of case studies
  • explore passive and active approaches for taking responsibility for one's life.
 5.    Deepen the participants' understanding of recent and current world events by having them:
  • study the history of two religious conflicts: the Middle East and Northern Ireland learn more about the religions involved in the conflicts learn about anti-Semitism and the history of Zionism
  • better understand the Holocaust and the creation of modern Israel.
6. Culminate in a meaningful Coming of Age ceremony that will have participants:
  • work together to create the group ceremony work separately on their own projects and personal contributions to the group ceremony
  • consider the possibility of working with their families to create individual ceremonies.

 Note: Some participants may elect to continue their Hebrew studies (provided as group instruction by IFFP in the 4th through 7th grades) with an individual tutor during their Coming of Age year. 

The program will work to meet these goals through the following activities: 

  • classes/Sunday School “heritage dinners” at kids' houses field trips community service social activities for the kids and families projects
  • ceremonies

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