Rabbi Meredith Kahan Brings Interfaith Family Support Program To Cincinnati with 18Doors

Our Year of Firsts: Parenting Edition (OYOF) is a new-to-Cincinnati program from 18Doors, a national organization that offers resources and programming for interfaith families. The program is generously funded by the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati through the Reflect Cincy grant, and is being facilitated by Rukin Rabbinic Fellow Rabbi Meredith Kahan. 

(Editor’s note: Cincy Jewfolk is also a recipient of Reflect Cincy funding.)

The new program is designed for interfaith families in the first 18 months of parenting. OYOF aims to create a supportive community for first-time parents navigating the complex realities of an interfaith household. 

“My hope is that Our Year Of Firsts provides a new opportunity, and fills an existing gap for interfaith families who have just welcomed their first child to create meaningful relationships with one another,” said Kahan. 

The program is designed for parents with busy schedules and offers flexible programming. It consists of two monthly meetings – one in-person meeting, and one Zoom meeting. 

“I’m a parent of young children myself, and I understand how hard it is for people with really little kids to get out,” Kahan said.

That’s why OYOF is providing a stipend to parents so they can pay for their own trusted childcare to care for their young child and then more comfortably attend the monthly in-person meetings. Kahan sees the in-person meetings as another way for parents to create a supportive community. It can be for parents to make those connections, and have deep and meaningful conversations when they have their kids with them. 

“This is going to be a real opportunity for people to create significant relationships and bonds with other people who are in the same stage of life as them,” she said. 

Kahan sees the program as another way to continue the work the Cincinnati Jewish community is already doing in congregations, and through the JCC’s J baby program. The sessions are a chance not only for parents to connect with one another, but be given Jewish educational opportunities provided by a rabbi. 

“Each of our sessions are going to have significant learning opportunities and content so that couples can wrestle with the big decisions of raising a child as interfaith parents,” she said.  

The program will focus on fostering and nurturing identity, both for families and their children. Participants will also gain insights into the rhythms of the Jewish year and key milestones in Jewish life cycles.

“We’re going to be providing high-quality Judaica to families who participate to help build their Jewish home and to enable some of their celebration of Jewish life with their family,” said Kahan. 

The program, focusing on the early stages of parenting, is more than just a supportive initiative; it actively forges a community where interfaith families can find their place and flourish. With an emphasis on embracing the unique challenges and joys of this life phase, the OYOF aspires to be a transformative experience.

Kahan envisions the program as an annual event, creating a continuous and expanding network of interconnected families. 

“The aim is to cultivate a sense of belonging among young families often distanced from traditional Jewish institutional life,” she said. “By running the program possibly annually, the hope is to gradually build cohorts that not only feel more connected and involved in organized Jewish life but also deeply supported and celebrated within the community.”

Registration for “Our Year of Firsts: Parenting Edition” in Cincinnati is now open. It promises to be a journey of discovery, learning, and community-building, tailored for those standing at the crossroads of interfaith family life.

This article is sponsored content from 18Doors as part of Cincy Jewfolk’s Partnership program. For more information, check out our media kit.