Stories & Voices
Interfaith Couples Find Connections
March 14th, 2016
UJA Federation of New York >> Billy and Lauren, enjoying the Golan Heights with Honeymoon Israel
Billy and Lauren, enjoying the Golan Heights with Honeymoon Israel

Too many interfaith couples don’t feel that they are part of the Jewish community in New York. Honeymoon Israel, together with UJA-Federation, is working to change this.

“I don’t feel like there’s an entry point for me,” says Lauren, a Reform Jew from Long Island. Her fiancé, Billy, is a business consultant originally from China. “I can’t be Billy’s ambassador to Judaism, because there’s still so much I’m learning myself.”

That was “before.” Now that Lauren and Billy have explored Israel with 19 other New York couples, they’ve changed their tune.

Honeymoon Israel begins with a nine-day immersive Israel experience and focuses on providing couples with the tools to make a personal connection with Judaism. Local couples travel together, exploring and learning about Israel while forming a sense of community with their group.

“One of the greatest aspects of the trip is that we all came back friends,” says Billy. “Wednesday we met up for breakfast, tomorrow we’re all going to the rabbi’s house for lunch. It was a great experience — I bought around 10 books about Israel when I went home!”

When the participants return to New York, UJA-Federation provides support to connect them with a network of local resources, so they can take the next steps of their Jewish journey. The travel groups plan events together, celebrate Shabbat, and share questions and Jewish experiences.

No one should have to look far to find a sense of Jewish community, in New York or around the globe. Turns out, it’s around us wherever we go.

To learn more about Honeymoon Israel or UJA-Federation’s other work to engage interfaith families, contact Andrea Fleishaker at or at 212.836.1620.