Judd’s Interfaith Show Nixed

By E.B. Solomont

Published August 19, 2005, issue of August 19, 2005.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Interfaith marriage is not the taboo it used to be in the Jewish community, but the topic is stirring controversy on cable television.

Early in the week, the producer of a new talk show, to be hosted on the Hallmark Channel by legendary country singer Naomi Judd, was soliciting participants for a segment on interfaith relationships. In its search for participants, the producer contacted InterfaithFamily.com, the nonprofit group that pushes synagogues and Jewish organizations to adopt a more tolerant and welcoming approach to interfaith families.

But when the Forward called Hallmark and producers of “Naomi’s New Morning” for more details, executives denied that such a segment was in the works. They said that while a pilot for Judd’s show did feature people with different religious backgrounds, the program was deemed too narrow.

“The content for the show, it’s certainly evolving,” said Christine Luzano, public relations manager for Faith & Values Media, which is producing the show for Hallmark with Lightworks Producing Group. The premiere episode — topic to be determined — is set to air November 27.

Earlier this week, producers contacted InterfaithFamily.com, sending the group what was later described as an outdated document describing the new Sunday talk show. In the letter, “Naomi’s New Morning” was described as a show that would explore how “faith is interwoven in contemporary life, popular culture, and personal transformations.”

Heather Martin, vice president of marketing and operations at InterfaithFamily.com, said she forwarded the solicitation to her group’s e-mail list, letting them know that the show would like to feature people in interfaith relationships discussing their holiday experiences. By the next day, she received a dozen responses.

One couple hoping to be featured was Dana Turney Hagenbuch, a Reform Jew, and her Catholic husband, Jay. The “religious question” has been an issue for them before, but has become more salient than ever since she became pregnant. Elizabeth McNamara, a Reform Jew who is dating a Catholic, also looked forward to participating. “It’s not realistic to say that people are only going to meet people inside their faiths,” said McNamara, a child of intermarried parents. “It’s an issue that affects a lot of people, and it’s important to get it out there.”

One executive at the Hallmark Channel speculated that a low-level production associate inadvertently sent out a call for participants. Although Judd’s show likely will focus on life experiences that may be spiritually charged, the executive said it would not be a faith-based show. Religions tend to divide us, the executive said.

Find us on Facebook!
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.