Is IFFP a congregation? Why is it called “project?”
IFFP is called a project to reflect its capacity to grow and change. We are a community rather than a congregation. “Congregation” denotes an entity that has set parameters that a member fits into rather than a community that is organic. As Rabbi White said, “I appreciate the reality that IFFP is open to new approaches and transcends any form of set doctrine while also adhering to the practice and teaching of both Judaism and Christianity.”
Does every family volunteer at IFFP?
Yes, because IFFP is run by volunteers. Members dedicate a great deal of time to make sure that IFFP events and activities are well-run and inviting. We rely on the generous volunteerism of all members. Throughout the year you will have many opportunities to volunteer to help with various events. Sign up using our SignUp Genius link. Watch the Weekly Bulletin for more opportunities. If you aren’t sure how to help out, contact a board member or staff to get ideas about where help is needed.
What are the special events that help build the IFFP community?
IFFP has many special events throughout the year: High Holy Days, Sukkot, New Member Brunch, December Holiday Party, Christmas Eve Service, Membership Meeting, Kid’s Peace Camp during the Adult Membership Meeting, Purim Carnival, Passover Seder, Women’s Retreat, Coming of Age Celebration, and Summer Camping Trip. More information about all of these events is available on our calendar.
What are some ways I can become more involved in IFFP & connect with others?
Joining in the special holiday celebrations and attending social events are two great ways to become more involved in IFFP and meet other members. There are social opportunities for all age groups throughout the year. Learn about our Teen Group.
Volunteering is another great way to connect with other members. If you have a special skill (playing musical instruments, facilitating an Adult Group, writing grants, etc.) please share them to enrich our community.
What time does the Sunday Program begin and end?
Our usual Sunday program format begins with the Gathering (service) from 10:00 a.m. – 10:40 a.m. in the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School gym, followed by refreshments and social time before Sunday School and Adult Group Sessions start at 10:50 a.m.
Are children welcome at the Gathering?
Children of all ages are welcome at the Gathering. For younger or more restless children, you can bring a book for them to read, or a quiet toy for them to play with, or use the nursery.
Do you offer child care during the Gathering? During Sunday school?
Our toy-filled, teen-staffed nursery is provided for your children ages 6 months to 3-years-old during the morning’s events, for an annual fee of $110. If you are just visiting, feel welcome to try out our nursery program at no cost. Please feel free to take your little ones there for any period of time or stay there with them.
Can we bring family or friends to IFFP when they are visiting?
Members are always welcome to bring friends and family to any of our Gatherings or events. In fact, it is encouraged, as it helps those near to you better understand how your family can celebrate two faiths in one home.
Can we bring prospective members to IFFP?
Yes, please! Prospective members are always welcome at our Gatherings. There will be greeters at the entrance to the school each Sunday to welcome prospective members. They are given an opportunity to introduce themselves to the group during the Gathering. In addition, IFFP hosts two open houses each year. The Open House is an opportunity for prospective members to meet with IFFP Clergy, Staff and Board of Directors after the Gathering to learn more about IFFP programs and activities.
How can we find out what the theme is for each Gathering?
Most Gatherings focus on holidays and events in the Christian and Jewish calendars. Our calendar lists all the Gatherings, with themes, as well as other events. In addition, the weekly theme is described in the Thursday Bulletin, which goes to all members.
How can we share information or news with IFFP families at the Gathering?
At each Gathering, before the closing song, there is a time for brief announcements. Please let the IFFP Clergy know that you have an announcement before the Gathering starts. Each Gathering also offers a time to share joys and concerns of the community.
Does IFFP continue through the summer?
IFFP follows the Montgomery County school calendar year. Our Gatherings begin in September and end in June.
Is there a dress code for the Gatherings?
Dress at the Gatherings is very casual. Please wear whatever you feel is comfortable.
Are refreshments provided between the Gatherings and Sunday School/ Adult Group?
Typically, coffee and snacks are provided through membership dues.
What activities are there for adults while Sunday school is in session?
Adult Group meets while the children are in Sunday School. We have very informative, lively discussions pertaining to interfaith families as well as series focusing on a particular topic for several weeks, both led by members or guest speakers and facilitators.
Can we drop off our child for Sunday school?
At least one parent must remain at IFFP for any child who is younger than third grade. For the older children, a few families do choose to drop off their children just for Sunday school but we feel that the children benefit more if the parents are also involved.
We’ve joined IFFP so that our children could have some religious education, but we don’t want to get involved with the Gatherings. Is that okay?
Families join IFFP for different reasons – but the most common one is to provide an embracing and engaging atmosphere for children to learn more about both Christianity and Judaism. That was the initial motivation for founding IFFP. There are no expectations that all families will participate in the Gatherings, and some choose not to. Although there is no requirement to attend Gatherings, families need to register as “Members” with IFFP before their children can attend Sunday School for liability reasons.
Who are the IFFP Sunday school teachers?
IFFP Sunday School teachers are members who bring their knowledge and passion for religious studies to the children. IFFP has developed a special interfaith curriculum, and teachers are trained by the Director of Religious Education (DRE). Each classroom has two principal teachers – the DRE attempts to balance each teaching team with one Christian and one Jew. In the younger grades teachers may have their own children in their class. In the older grades, the parents are discouraged from teaching in the same classroom their children are attending.
How will we know what our children are learning in class?
IFFP has a highly developed Sunday School curriculum from Pre-K through Coming of Age in the 7th & 8th grades. An overview of the goals by grade and a description of each grade are listed on our web site and reviewed on Back to School Sunday.
Are our IFFP dues tax deductible? Are Sunday school fees tax deductible? Can we make an additional contribution to IFFP?
IFFP membership fees are typically tax deductible depending on your individual situation; Sunday School tuition is not deductible. In addition, IFFP appreciates and relies upon the generous, tax-deductible donations of members in order to support our many activities and programs. If you have any questions, please contact our Administrative Director.
How can we find out if the Gathering or Sunday School has been canceled?
IFFP follows Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) for closure due to weather. In case of icy conditions, snow or storms, you can call the Montgomery County snow day information line at: 301-279-3673 or check the MCPS website.
Can I contact Rabbi Debbie or Rev. Samantha between Gatherings? Do they have office hours?
Rabbi Debbie and Rev. Samantha do not have regular office hours but see members by appointment. IFFP has an office in Kensington where clergy can meet in person; they can also meet virtually on Zoom.
Rabbi Debbie can be contacted on her cell phone at (202-302-3137) or by email at RabbiDeb@iffp.org.
Rev. Samantha can be contacted at RevSamantha@iffp.org.
How can we stay in touch with other IFFP families between Gathering Sundays?
Weekly Bulletin: IFFP distributes the Weekly Bulletin via Constant Contact. E-mailed on Thursdays, this message contains information about IFFP activities—upcoming Gatherings, Sunday School, celebrations, COA and Teen Groups, announcements, updates and more.
Membership Directory: An online Membership Directory includes a great deal of useful information, including names, addresses, phones, and e-mails of all members, lists of Sunday School classes, cross-reference list of both spouse’s names, list of the Board members, and more.