By Jodi Bromberg and Bruce Taylor
This morning, InterfaithFamily officially changed its name and became 18Doors. It’s an exciting, watershed moment for our organization – and a long time coming. Three years ago, InterfaithFamily went through a strategic planning process with Wellspring Consulting that included a comprehensive discovery stage. We spoke to more than 50 stakeholders – board members, staff members, interfaith couples and families, Jewish clergy and Federation executives. And one of the common themes throughout that process was the need for us to rebrand our organization so that it reflected the diversity of interfaith couples and families today.
Outside of the discovery stage, couples and families had been telling us for a long time about all of the terms they used to describe themselves. The terms were varied and numerous and besides interfaith, included intercultural, mixed heritage, mixed culture, dual faith, just Jewish, Jew-ish, Jewish adjacent – and more! We wanted an organizational name that encompassed all of those terms, so that the couples and families we serve and connect with see themselves as part of us.
In late 2018, our board and staff worked with rebranding firm Starfish to create our brand building blocks – what our organization stood for – and settled on 7 attributes that made up our brand. We are:
- Meaningfully inclusive
- Specialists (in understanding interfaith couples and families, and their connection to Jewish life)
- All the info, all the time
- Personally educational
- A house of understanding, not a house of worship
We also run everything we do through the lens of the couples and families who use our resources and services.
Once we had our building blocks, we knew we wanted a name that was creative – after all, we live in a time of Amazon, Google, and Twitter. When we found 18Doors with the tagline Unlocking Jewish, our working group knew that we had found our new name. 18Doors represented everything we wanted in a name. The number 18 and the doors evoked:
- The diversity of interfaith couples and families
- The many journeys and entry points for interfaith families into Jewish life
- How we help open doors (“unlock Jewish”) for couples and families – and for Jewish organizations and communities in figuring out how to create inclusive spaces
- The Jewish homonym “L’dor v’dor,” and the importance of passing Jewish values from generation to generation
- That we are a Jewish organization, with the subtle reference to chai (“life”) by using the number 18
The logo reinforces the importance of the door, with the negative white space in the “one” creating an open door and door knob, walking through the open space of the blue.
With our new name and brand identity, an entirely new website, a redesigned Jewish clergy referral service, more resources for couples and families with young children, and new professional development offerings, we expect to expand our reach and have an even greater impact. We will be able to connect more closely with families and couples that include Jewishly-identified family members, and family members of different cultural or religious backgrounds. We will now have the freedom to refer to them in the myriad ways they define themselves.
With all this change, one thing that will stay the same is our laser focus on meeting the needs of families like ours – the fastest growing constituency in Jewish life. Our mission continues to be to empower people in interfaith relationships to engage in Jewish life and make Jewish choices, and encourage Jewish communities to welcome and include them. Our vision remains that people in interfaith relationships – whatever names they use to describe themselves – are welcomed and embraced by Jewish communities and contribute to Judaism’s enduring strength and continuity.
At this seminal moment for our organization and the couples and families we aim to serve, we would not be in this position without the generous support of our funders, lay leaders, board, staff, rabbinic Fellows, network of Jewish clergy and professionals, and most importantly, the couples and families who inspire our work each and every day. We are looking forward to the next stage of our work and are excited to open the doors to those looking to learn more.
Jodi Bromberg is the CEO of 18Doors, formerly InterfaithFamily, and part of an interfaith family herself. Bruce Taylor is the Chair of the Board of Directors of 18Doors.