A Life Update

Wedding

In a bit of personal news….

 

WE GOT MARRIED!!

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Kiddush cups and unity candle

Part of our interfaith journey has been figuring out what pieces of each of us we bring with us. My families’ marriage traditions were reflected in having a unity candle set. We used a glass with shamrocks for one of them.

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Our chuppah included  the tallitots of J’s grandfathers who both passed before we married. erinandjasonballroomatthebenweddingphiladelphiaflceremony152of286.jpg

We had an amazing ketubah which reflected both of us with traditional Hebrew on one side and English translation on the other. We had two sets of old friends as our witnesses, one of which is also an interfaith couple.

It was the most beautiful and meaningful day of my life. Nothing will every come close to feeling the way it did the moment we were actually married.

And then we spent two and a half weeks in Hawaii and I decided relaxin on a beach was more important than writing.

I’ll never say anything was easy when it came to putting together our interfaith wedding. There was a lot of self discovery during the process but through it we came out stronger, better communicators and we knew more about ourselves as individuals. We were also able to create a ceremony that reflects who we are as a couple at this point and time in our lives. There’s no part of the ceremony that felt in authentic to us.

And we had a great party after.

So we’re having a great time being married and rejoining normal life!

lasagana

 

 

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Community Shabbat

 

ED8CF5E9-052E-40D8-AC4C-BB749B3645ECEvery so often our congregation puts together dinners of different parts of the community. They’re always hosted by someone in the community who cooks up an amazing meal and there’s great conversation. Sometimes they’re just for empty nesters, or our TRIBE group of 20’s and 30’s, families with mitzvah kids in the coming year,  and sometimes they’re open to all.

I love my TRIBE dinners, but there’s something to be said about the open ones.

I say this because I was the youngest one at dinner on Friday. By about 25 years.

I knew it was an open dinner, so when I got there and our host whispered to me that she had invited other young people, but none of them accepted…I was a bit worried.

I’ve written about how sometimes because I didn’t convert, I feel like a fraud going to events without J. I know they accept me, I know I belong, but it’s just that hump internally I’m trying to get over. But I was there and no turning back now.

And let me tell you it was the most fantastic dinner party I’ve ever been to. At the beginning of the night, I was ask to light the Shabbat candles by the Rabbi in honor of my upcoming wedding which was just a week away! I made a joke about how it was going to be good practice for the next weekend with our unity candle.

Well wouldn’t you know — it sparked an interfaith marriage discussion that night.

Interfaith discussions usually goes one of two ways.

  1. Everyone talks about how it’s in their lives, everyone is respectful, people are understand, everyone leaves learning more.
  2. People who are very against interfaith relationships express those feelings, people who have interfaith relationships in their lives are hurt, everyone is upset.

I’ve been involved in both where I’ve had to defend my relationship to strangers. And they’re never going to change their mind! People who think J is wrong for marrying me or that I’m “stealing a good Jewish man and should be ashamed of myself” (an actual thing once said to me) aren’t going to come around. And that’s ok. It hurts…but I’m not going to not be with J because someone says I shouldn’t be.

I’m happy to say that this dinner was the first by far. Our host is a Jew by Choice who converted when she was engaged to her husband. Three of the older women there had children who had married non-Jews and all had struggled with the idea initially. One woman, who was my mom’s age had never converted, but married her Jewish husband despite being widowed and a semi-practicing Catholic was involved in all aspects of Jewish life.

What I found most interesting though, since all them had Jewish grandchildren, was the respect and admiration that they had for the parents of their children in-law. To me, that was the most amazing part. Many of them had started of worried, some of them against their children’s relationships with non-Jews. After consulting with Rabbis, they realized things were going to be ok. And it was. Not because their grandchildren are Jewish, but because they love them all the same and they figured out that was most important.

I was answering questions about my ceremony not because I had to defend them, but because there is no “interfaith wedding template” so they wanted to compare experiences. It felt good to be a part of a group that could have a discussion on a complex topic with seven people having seven different experiences and nobody felt like anyone was doing it wrong.

It was nice to hear so many different perspectives and how interfaith relationships have affected different people’s lives. In truth, I didn’t know what to expect when I got out of my and and was met by a lovely pair of newly weds in their 70’s. But I’m glad I went. Because it showed that my community is one of understanding, love and support. By no means am I an outsider because I wasn’t born Jewish and didn’t choose to convert. They’re mine and I can’t wait to see what’s next for us.

 

A Jew-ish Ceremony

I wrote previously about Finding Our Officiant. It was something that wasn’t with out struggle.

Right now I have just 17 days left until I’m married. For a lot of reasons J and I had an engagement that has lasted over two years. And it’s good that we have. It gave us a lot of time to grow not just as a couple but as individuals as well. If it had only been a year I might have rushed into converting thinking I had to do it and I don’t think I would have regretted it, but I do think I might have been less comfortable with my decision.

So our officiant is our friend and Rabbi who left our synagogue to do amazing work in Jewish teen engagement in her home town. It allows her to be closer to her family and do what she’s really good at — youth religious engagement. And she’s like really, really ridiculously good at it. It’s a thing I admire most about her.

Creating our ceremony though, was an assortment of challenges. How Jewish did we want it? What elements of Catholicism did we want? What was she comfortable with? What were we comfortable with?

We started with a few ground rules

  1. The party was about other people. Our parents could decide about the flowers, the band, the food (they didn’t, but they had a lot of input) the ceremony was ours and not for anybody else so if there were things they didn’t like, tough.
  2. We needed to have elements of both
  3. People who were unfamiliar with Jewish traditions needed explanation and translations.
  4. Most of these practices were business practices that had been around for so long that my ancestors partook in them because they had to.
  5. We each got one need to have and one veto that the other one couldn’t argue.

Over the past few months, I think we built an interfaith ceremony that’s the best reflection of us.

We’re having a ketubah, but it’s an egalitarian writing of what we would say to each other if we wrote our own vows (an option presented to us, but weirdly something I’m uncomfortable with) and J’s “need to have” was, and it was a surprise to me, the bedeken. There’s a lot of reading and interpretation about  modesty, inner beauty, a husband’s duty and more but the most common biblical story cited is when Jacob thought he was marrying Rachel but was tricked into marrying Leah because of the veil covering her. J thinks it will be a fun and memorable moment for us, but again, egalitarian so while he puts my veil on, I’ll put his kippah on him.

We will have a chuppah, and we’ll use J’s late grandfathers tallit which has been embroidered with every milestone since the first cousin wedding above us, but we won’t be wrapped in it. My mom ended up really liking the idea of both parents walking me down the aisle. She was traditional for about 45 seconds before deciding that my father didn’t raise me alone.

Our vows will be in both English and Hebrew. We’re consecrating ourselves to each other “In the eyes of G-d and all humanity” as opposed to the traditional “according the laws of Moses and Israel.” We’re using the wine (since wine is also big item in Catholicism I felt like even this action was a bit of a nod towards my heritage.) We’re using the kiddush cup got at his Bar Mitzvah and the chalice I got at my First Communion.  We are having a unity candle, we’re doing a more modern Seven Blessings that acknowledges our differences and we’ll be breaking the glass.

I knew when I decided to marry J what I’d be giving up. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have just a twinge of missing it. While I don’t practice any more, I feel I have too much respect for those rules to violate them for the sake of making other people happy.

This is what my interfaith ceremony looks like. It leans a little bit more Jewish, but in our home and in our lives that’s who we are. It was by no means easy to create. There was a lot of research and a lot of discussion. I ended up vetoing any circling because it didn’t feel like me. Everything in our ceremony feels like both of us. The truth is just as no ceremony fits all people no interfaith ceremony will fit all interfaith couples. We’re lucky that our officiant wanted our ceremony to be something we were both in love with and build it from the ground up because it was ours. At the end of the day only one part of that entire day matters and it’s the 30 minutes where we go from being two separate people to our own family.

 

Shabbat

I’m secretly a little bit jealous of J’s siblings and cousins. None of them are interfaith. So when one of them just plans to do Shabbat, it’s no big deal. For us, people always see it as a thing. They get to celebrate as a family, with their children who are so solid from day one in where they belong. The oldest, at three-years old sings HaMotzi every time she sees bread.

Every restaurant with candles and bread, she celebrates Shabbat with prayers and singing and covering any sort of carby goodness on the table with a napkin and pulling the napkin off like a magician and distributing us pieces of bread that she’s torn off.

It’s the kind of adorable that makes you squeal every time you see it. But in truth, we’ve missed ever doing an actual Shabbat with her. We live a plane ride away and frequently our work schedules prevent us from ever having a weekend off that’s not diligently planned months in advance.

We don’t work in a field that affords us a weekend off consistently. During our busy season, Fridays and Saturdays become our busiest and most hectic days. Even Sundays get crazy.

So really, we don’t have weekends off. Sometimes we do. Usually though I’m spending it at work running around. So it certainly doesn’t help with our religious practice when our clergy has the same off days as us and there’s no services or programs for young adults.

Take this weekend for instance, we had a plan to go to services Friday night. I was going to take a break from work, recenter myself and head back into the thick of work. And then everything blew up at once. So I got stuck at the office and I was here early Saturday morning.

Suffice to say, any sort of services went out the window for us.

J’s family never celebrated Shabbat on a consistent basis. They did when the kids were interested in it, but it was never a part of their regular Friday night family routine. From that, it’s not a part of J’s consistent routine as an adult post the questioning religion phase of college freedom.

The work schedule isn’t a new thing, it’s just a rotating thing. And we got out of one of our best habits when it rotated about a year ago. We also dropped our best habit because I decided not to convert. It was like in doing so, I suddenly felt that Judaism wasn’t “mine” to be a part of if I didn’t have someone legitimate with me. And it’s nothing to do with our community, it is much more of my own anxieties. Like people will know that I’m some sort of fraud in my prayers. And I feel like by me not converting, J got some sort of get out of services free card because it only became a part of his like because it was a part of mine. Unlike me, he doesn’t get much out of organized prayer. Which is a sad thing, I think. But our ritual before was one that I think improved our relationship.

Because we follow Reform Judaism we follow a much more relaxed interpretation of Shabbat. So when we were off together some sort of consistency, we would create our own Shabbat.   Even if it was Tuesday.  And we’d spend the day talking, maybe finally see that movie we’ve been talking about going to, go to minor league baseball game or take a cooking class together. The rule was if there were things that had to be done on the computer, you could only spend two hours on the machine, and there were no phones. We spent most of our time doing things we didn’t always normally do and spending time with each other.

For a while since we could just go to services, go to dinner and hang out on Saturday we stepped away from our truly special ritual we had created for ourselves. And I know life is a little crazier than normal with just three weeks until our wedding. But craziness right now doesn’t excuse the month before when we weren’t three weeks from our wedding.

So I think our honeymoon, which we’re leaving everything with work on the mainland for two weeks and not talking to anyone (ok, except our photographer if she has our wedding photos ready) and hopefully we’ll be able to re make these rituals and this time for each other that we can carry into our marriage.

It’s kind of the beauty of interfaith, we’re designing what is working best for us.

Priorities

It has been hard to write for a bit. There were two bridal showers, a bachelorette, moving and all these last minute wedding plans.

Who knew there was so much that goes into planning for a grand total of like six hours?!? It’s exhausting just planning the party!

So writing kinda fell off my priority list. And I’ve noticed a lot of our priorities shifting and in ways it makes me sad and in ways it makes me happy!

We have a house, and we’re spending so much more time together. We’re so much happier having our own space and space that’s far away from work. It’s amazing how good for your soul a commute can be!

But through the past month we forgot about Purim.

And we forgot about Passover.

And we forgot about Easter.

And I remembered Lent, but it was hard. We haven’t been focusing on going to services at our synagogue. I haven’t been focused on writing. And I could blame it on time, oh I could. But in reality I have time for all those things. I’ve chosen not to do them.

That’s the part that makes me sad. That faith has become less of a priority in our lives. I guess that’s what makes the interfaith thing hard. If we were both Jewish or both Catholic I might feel like I’m “allowed” to make J go to services. But I can’t make him celebrate a holiday that isn’t his own, and despite the acceptance from the community, I’m still a little weird about going to Jewish holiday services on my own. I feel like it’s mine — but it’s not until I’m actually married.

We haven’t been in so long that our Rabbi emailed me to make sure that everything was ok.

It’s hard to figure out where our priorities should fall for now. For me, I put a lot of focus on faith and prayer and I feel unfulfilled when I don’t have those things in my life. J is very opposite. He doesn’t find much in organized faith and religion but instead finds fulfillment in traditions. So it’s a hard balance because we haven’t found the right place for it in our lives.

In that way, our interfaith journey is still very fluid. We started with what we wanted to be: interfaith. And now we’re figuring out the next step not as individuals but as a team. Ultimately this year will be big for us and so I want to make sure we start setting the ground work for our faith identity together within our first year of marriage.   That’s the part I’m still figuring out.

A Jew-ish Lent

When I was a full-time, practicing Catholic I my favorite time of year was Lent.

I’ll admit, it is odd for someone to say that they love Lent. But as a child I liked the challenge of not doing something I enjoyed.  As I got older I enjoyed having that time to reflect on what truly mattered. I also lived for Palm Sunday mass because it was really like a play and I’ve always had a bit of a flair for the dramatic.

When I was younger I would very carefully pick what I was going to give up for Lent, what my yearly challenge would be. I’ve given up foods, video games, makeup (that was the hardest, but also the most fulfilling), social media and wine. I always arrived at Easter Sunday proud of my strength, feeling more spiritually fulfilled and like I didn’t need those things. Some things, I never really went back to.

Still to this day, I do enjoy the Lenten season. There’s a certain peacefulness  when you’re trying not to do something and have to find more fulfilling way to occupy that space in your mind.

When I was in my conversion process I struggled with giving up this time of reflection even if I was replacing it with something else. There are plenty of opportunities for spiritual reflection in the Jewish calendar! Just look at having a mindful Shabbat. But it just didn’t feel the same as what I had grown up with. As much as I love Jewish traditions and as much as they’ve begun to feel like my own, I still want to hold onto some of my own faith-based traditions even if that’s not what half my home practices.

I’ve found that despite my questions of faith, my quest for a spiritual fulfilment at this time of year remains strong.  In recent years, I’ve mixed my love for the season in and the Jewish teaching of Repairing the World or Tikkun Olam.

These days, I’ve stopped giving things up outright. I haven’t found that as fulfilling in recent years. To me, while I understand why it’s done, it doesn’t do much for me. And it feels more like a bragging point than an internal struggle when I hear people talk about it now.   Instead I’ve found it more fulfilling to go out and do something to push myself out of my comfort zone, or changes up my routine but that also helps other people.

 

For me, that’s more spiritually fulfilling than giving up desserts again (which always leads to the age-old question: is a doughnut a dessert or a breakfast food?) This year, I’ve opted to keep my phone on the other side of the room most week nights, but every Friday and Saturday night. That way, when I wake up, instead of playing on my phone waiting for J to wake up I just relax and we spend some time talking in the morning before moving into the hecticness of everyday.

We did just clean out all our clothes. We’ve donated them to a school that will not only donate the clothes, but will earn money for the school based on the weight of clothes that they donate. A lot of them have tags and could be well loved outside of my closet.

This year my big project is volunteering with Girls on The Run, a non-profit that through running and small groups teaches girls that they can. As someone who spent a lot of her childhood (and a decent chunk of adulthood) outwardly confident but inside lacking any confidence, this cause hits home for me.

So while I’m pushing against the Lenten tradition of totally giving a thing up, by spending these 40 days finding different ways to make the world a little bit brighter I feel I’m making an interfaith celebration of Lent.

When Hate is Down the Hall

I haven’t been able to write for a few days.

  1. we’re in the process of moving to our house. Which has totally taken over my life.
  2. I’ve known what I wanted my next post to be about, but I wasn’t sure how to write about it.

I guess I’ll start with the fact that we didn’t put our menorah out this year in our window. We always did, but this year was different and I’m still not ok with why I felt we needed to do it.

It was a comment from a Trump-supporting resident a few floors below us that made us make the decision. She was talking to some other residents about how you couldn’t let Jews move close to you because they drive your property values down. How proudly she announced she wouldn’t live near a Jew. Scarier was the silence from the people who she was saying it to. I scurried by them, wondered how we got here and decided I wouldn’t risk it, menorah would be on the table this year.

I don’t think that resident would do anything, but those around her that night we were coming in, in their silence we knew that if something did happen they probably weren’t coming to help us.

At this point in history, I’m not ok feeling like we can’t practice or show anything Jewish in our very non-Jewish community. I’m not ok that our synagogue sends out community safety reports listing all the precautions they’re taking. The doors shouldn’t have to be locked all the time, but they are, and they have to be.

There have been over one hundred bomb threats to Jewish institutions, people killed for their brown skin, women attacked for covering themselves. There were 1,094 biased related incidents in the month after Trump was elected.  It’s been so widely reported even after the election and Trump’s first month Slate created an updating list of hate in America.

When leaders have nothing to say when people are actually killed by the hate speech and threats that they haven’t disavowed, it’s an issue. And it’s an issue for all people who fall into a minority group and those closest to them. Because when a president has nothing to say about an Indian man killed by a man saying “get out of my country” after encouraging anti-immigration rhetoric and installing travel bans you can’t be certain that you’re safe.

The othering based on religion is one I’ve never experienced. But J has. As has his family and his ancestors. Their tight knit Jewish community protected them from feeling like an other, but it wasn’t a wall from hatred. When he’s worried, as someone who has experienced religious hate, I know I should be too. Anytime you’re the religious majority partner, you can’t write off the minorities experience of those things. They’re happening, we know they’re happening. Majorities need to use their power and their group to take action and speak up for those who can’t.

If we don’t speak up now, who will be left to speak up for us?

Year Six

 

Today marks the sixth year that J and I have been together. Which is crazy to think about all that has changed in those six years

  • We lived in LA and London (briefly for both of those)
  • We graduated college
  • We started working and settled in one place
  • We bought a house! (That’s a very recent one)
  • We’ve been to more than 30 weddings together all over the globe.
  • Two siblings have gotten married
  • We now have six total second cousins between the two of us ushering in a new generation from both sides. (We love all of them to pieces and spoil them rotten)
  • We’ve been through the deaths of our beloved grandparents

I feel very lucky that I’ve gotten to grow up with him. Our Rabbi was talking to us to write our charge for our ceremony and my sum up was it hasn’t always been easy, but it’s always been worth it. It’s very true though. When you’re 19 and in college you can be selfish and things like religion and living over 1,000 miles away from each other 45% of the year seem not to matter. And then as you get older all those things start to matter very much. We had to have a lot of really hard conversations early on. While we committed to things then, we always make sure that we revisit those things to make sure we’re happy with the set up.

We went through a period of not knowing what our futures held. We graduated college without jobs, heading back to our hometowns. We didn’t have a plan to end up in the same place we just did. Knowing the hiring process where we work now, most likely our company decided to hire J and then determined who was being brought in next for interviews and that was me.

So yeah, I get a little misty eyed when I think what could have been. How we could have gone to different colleges, how we could have just been a really nice college romance and ended at that, how we might have never met. And that’s just sad. Because J is the best thing in my entire world. He’s endlessly supportive of everything I want to do. He’s the kindest person you’ll ever meet, he’s always putting other before himself. He’s passionate about so many things. He’s insanely funny. Family is the most important thing to him. He works hard at everything he does because he cares about everything he does. He’s never put pressure on me to be anyone but myself, including becoming Jewish, but he sat with me and learned with me for every step.  He makes an attempt at learning about everything I love so that we can talk about those thing or I have someone to enjoy them with.

Take for example the picture above. I love the beach, I grew up there. J hates the sand and the beach. And yet, there he is, on a beach cause he knows that makes me the happiest little clam when I’m there. And maybe, he’s starting to like the beach just a little bit too. And maybe I’ve started to support the Miami Hurricanes because that’s his favorite (don’t tell him that)

 

This year feels more finite, this is the last time we’ll celebrate February 27 and we won’t be husband and wife. I’m excited for our new chapter though and see what that has in store for us. Dating and engagement time has been fun, but I think I’ll enjoy our marriage even more.

J, if you ever do read this know that I love you more than words could possibly say. You’re everything and more I could have ever wanted out of a partner. You make all the dumb romantic cliches make sense. You’re more than a best friend. I do enjoy watching the Canes with you, even if you get a little riled up about them. I love you, bashert, and I can’t wait for another 100 years dancing with you.

Finding Our Officiant

We have a really, really great home for our faith. If you’re ever looking for an inclusive Jewish community in north central part of Connecticut, I have a great one! We found it months after moving to Connecticut from college.

When we first arrived it had two wonderful, shockingly young, Rabbis. The sweetest Cantor and a community that couldn’t be beat. Three years later, there’s been some changes. One of our Rabbis moved on, our Cantor retired. So now our Rabbis and Cantor are all wonderful, sweet and still shockingly young. The community has grown, it still can’t be beat.

This post is really about our Rabbi who left.

She wasn’t too much older than me, we had spent some time in the same cities, had rival football teams and loved musicals. She was one of the most amazing storytellers I had ever heard. I loved every sermon she presented. When Yom Kippur rolled around she put together a hodgepodge of Connecticut transplants with no families around for a great night out. She rapidly became on of my favorite people there.

I knew as soon as we got engaged, we were having a Jewish wedding and she’d be officiating. J agreed whole heartedly.

Now, this Rabbi didn’t do interfaith weddings. Which I was fine with, her choice as a part of the clergy. But it was also fine because I was converting. So I’d be on paper Jewish well before the wedding! We still had another two years to go!

With in a year she had taken a new job closer to her family doing what she does best; inspiring Jewish teens to be involved with Jewish life. As she left I was still scheduling the mikvah for the second time. Which was fine! I was going to finish!

Calling her and telling her I wasn’t going through with the conversion was the hardest call. I knew her beliefs going into it and I wasn’t about to make her do something she wasn’t comfortable with. I had my back up list from Interfaith Family and a list of friends and family who could do it and I was going to be ok. I was more so sad that someone who had been there for some really big parts of our relationship and someone I considered just a true light in my life wouldn’t be up there performing this rite.

But then she said the most shocking thing: she wanted to do it. Or at least thing about doing it quoting my personal favorite line that I wait to hear on Purim”Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.” She truly felt that no longer tied to a synagogue she’d be much more comfortable and able to do it.

From there it’s was a conversation of our nonnegotiable points of a ceremony. Was I ok with the seven blessings? Was she ok doing a unity candle? We didn’t want the traditional vows, how could we rewrite them to reflect our story? How would Jason’s Judaism and my non-Judaism blend? We agreed if our nonnegotiable points didn’t match up she wouldn’t be the officiant and we’d still keep in touch. Nobody would be hurt.

Luckily, they all matched up. And right now we’ve got a very large project between the three of us with the ceremony. We’re figuring it out and we’re designing it from the ground up. She’s getting advice and resources from friends of hers who do interfaith weddings and we’re going based off ones we’ve seen.

Here’s the truth I think of anyone looking for an officiant. Make sure you and your partner are comfortable with what’s going on and what you’re ceremony will be. For J it was necessary to have many of the points of a traditional Jewish wedding. For me it was important for our friends and family to be part of the seven blessings and to have a unity candle, as something my side would be familiar with. If you’re not comfortable with something, speak up about it! If an officiant isn’t the right fit, you don’t want to go into that day regretting or being uncomfortable in the most important part of the day.

 

Partner Participation

I’m a big fan of On Being Both, the blog by Susan Katz Miller.

  1. it’s helped me feel like my children aren’t going to hate me for choosing not to convert. Which is, shockingly, a real fear I have.
  2. I love reading other people’s interfaith stories. It’s amazing how what seems like a similar experience ends up so different for everyone.

She wrote a great piece about the phrase intermarriage in Forward. I largely don’t take issue with non-Jew, but I know a lot of people who feel it’s very other-ing when you’re trying so hard to be apart of a community. In fact, when I attended Rosh Hashanah services with my in-laws in South Florida the Rabbi’s whole sermon was about interfaith families (I’ll write about that at a later time.) In fact, he offered up a new phrase instead of non-Jew, instead opting to call us k’rov Yisrael. A person close to the people of Israel. It feels less “other” and I agree.

But I’m writing because of another blog post that she wrote. JTA had an article titled Outside the Synagogue, intermarried are forming community with each other, which is great. It’s evident in my interfaith raised peers that their parents didn’t have the same acceptance by the Jewish community that we’ve been so lucky to experience.  On Being Both had a great response to this article, both with the use of the word Intermarried but also with all the programs pointed out. All of the community programs are ones ones where the k’rov Yisrael is embracing Jewish life, run by Rabbis or other Jewish educators. I think that’s important, support from Jewish communities is so important. And there’s a ton to be learned for everyone.  But as Susan Katz Miller points out there are plenty of more balanced programming and communities for interfaith families that provide education from various faith backgrounds.  She keeps a whole list on the site!

I think what gets lost sometimes in the conversation of interfaith relationships, particularly in my circle, is the k’rov Yisrael’s roots or faith their continuing in. Every friend I have spends time going to services, learning to make challah and latkes, and preparing their homes for Passover. I don’t hear of many Jewish partners in my circle going to church beyond Christmas and Easter or learning to prepare the seven fishes for Christmas Eve. It’s a hard balance to strike. We’re constantly working on it and leaving the conversation open. Just because today I say I don’t want to go to church doesn’t mean that I can’t change my mind.

I think what’s most important here is that both sides have to be open to learning about their partner’s faith. Even if the outcome is children raised in one religion, it doesn’t mean that the other partner stops being who they are. That goes beyond putting up a Christmas tree, lighting a menorah or just doing the secular rituals. It’s learning the roots, the stories and the traditions behind all the rituals. That means finding programs or building your own community where the traditions and learning needed from both sides are supported.