I remember when I first told a trusted person about J six years ago. We weren’t dating yet, and her knowing how I was raised asked about his religion. When I mentioned Judaism, she bristled and told me I’d have to give up Jesus if we got married.
Friends, I wasn’t even DATING this man let alone any where near marrying him! I was a 19 year old girl with a crush on a friend!
But we did start dating and we did move closer to getting married. Which is when people who have no business asking a question ask the following:
Are you going to convert?
The thought is always that the non-Jewish partner will convert which is sometimes a bit hurtful for other reasons. But even so, conversion is a deeply personal decision, one that can’t be made for anyone but yourself. So when people ask the question, well it tampers with the thought process.
So we started with the basics. If we were so fortunate to have children, how would we want them raised? There are tenants and values of the Catholicism that I grew up with that I liked, I’d like those things instilled in them. But there were aspects I couldn’t get around. How the church couldn’t accept people I loved, how quickly under a new Pope things could change. Those values I loved were also found in Judaism and it would give them a good faith foundation. Children would be raised Jewish. We’d figure out the holiday traditions later.
Once we had decided that, we looked for a local community that would accept our interfaith selves and followed patrilineal teachings so any children wouldn’t be excluded. We found our synagogue (highly recommend if you’re an interfaith couple or family looking at Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford, they couldn’t be better) and it was perfect.
Then there was me. We would have a Jewish home, Jewish children and would I be the religious outsider in my own home?
That’s when I decided after hearing all the talk, that I would convert. I felt at home with Judaism, it was perfect for us. After all, we were having a Jewish home so I would be Jewish too. It was all really simple in my mind. I don’t think I knew how complicated it would become with my decision to convert.