International Review of Education

, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 169–195 | Cite as

Interfaith education: A new model for today’s interfaith families

  • Sheila C. Gordon
  • Benjamin Arenstein
Original Paper


With societal changes rapidly transforming cultures that had been largely homogenous, today’s multi-cultural – and in particular interfaith – families need new educational strategies to help them understand their cultural roots and identify and clarify what aspects of their heritages they wish to nurture and transmit to their children. This paper focuses on a new model for religious education, namely non-doctrinaire “dual-faith” education, which the principal author has helped to develop in the United States (US) through the Interfaith Community (IFC), a small, independent non-profit organisation created and led by dual-faith Jewish/Christian families. The model is premised on the notion that families can have two different faiths in one household and that – with respect and education – families can be harmonious, religion can be transmitted, and tolerance broadly nurtured. While the model is particular to the US and to families with Jewish and Christian heritages, its premises and structure have significant potential to be adaptable to other religious combinations and other cultures and countries. After reviewing relevant literature and situating the IFC model in the global and US contexts, the paper sets out to clarify the importance of the concept, describe its elements, and discuss its implications for religious education in this time of changing ethos and demography.


Inter-religious/interfaith family Lifelong learning Multi-cultural education New model Dual faith, religious education 


L’éducation interreligieuse: Un nouveau modèle pour les familles interconfessionnelles d’aujourd’hui – Alors que les changements sociétaux transforment rapidement des cultures qui étaient en grande partie homogènes, les familles multiculturelles contemporaines – notamment les familles interconfessionnelles – ont besoin de nouvelles stratégies éducatives pour les aider tant à comprendre leurs racines culturelles qu’à identifier et clarifier les aspects de leur héritage qu’elles souhaitent entretenir et transmettre à leurs enfants. Le présent article met l’accent sur un nouveau modèle d’éducation religieuse, l’éducation « bi-religieuse » non-doctrinaire, que son auteur principal a contribué à créer aux États-Unis au sein de Interfaith Community (IFC), petite organisation indépendante à but non lucratif créée et gérée par des familles bi-religieuses, de confession juive et chrétienne. Ce modèle est fondé sur l’idée que deux religions différentes peuvent coexister dans un même foyer; grâce au respect et à l’éducation, de telles familles peuvent être harmonieuses, transmettre leur foi et promouvoir largement la tolérance. Bien que le modèle soit propre aux États-Unis et aux familles de tradition juive et chrétienne, ses principes et sa structure sont susceptibles d’être adaptés à d’autres combinaisons religieuses, ainsi qu’à d’autres cultures et pays. Après avoir examiné la littérature existante sur ce sujet et replacé le modèle IFC dans les contextes mondial et américain, l’article explicite l’importance du concept, en décrit les composantes et discute de ses implications pour l’éducation religieuse, en cette période de changement spirituel et démographique.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Interfaith CommunityNew YorkUSA

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