As the child of an interfaith household and one half of an interfaith couple, I know personally how important it is to talk to your partner about religion, tradition, and identity. I also know how scary that sounds. Yet few tools exist to help you address that elephant in the room.
So I created one. Check out more information on the product here, or keep reading for more on why I/we wanted to be a part of this interfaith landscape.
About Me: Baptized Jew has it figured out? (stay tuned)
I was born to a practicing Catholic father and a lapsed Reform Jewish mother. I was baptized and spent the first two years of my life in a church with my grandparents every Sunday. Then my brother was born and my dad had a falling out with the church, and we stopped doing anything “religious.” Sure, we had a Christmas tree, we lit the menorah, and made latkes, but when we asked where babies came from or what happened when you died, my parents skirted the question, unsure of how to build moral, thoughtful, community-minded children without the structure of religion.
Then, when I was 8, we went to Israel. It was there my Catholic father celebrated Shabbat for the first time, prayed at the Kotel, and met a wonderful rabbi who would bring my family into the fold of the Jewish community. To this day, my father calls to sing the Chanukah prayers each year and lights his own menorah. My father has helped raise three Jewish children, and it’s his acceptance, passion and belief in community, specifically the Jewish community, that give me faith. Given the tools, non-Jewish partners in interfaith relationships can be excited about Judaism, the Jewish community, and being a part of the fabric of this ancient people.
About Us: Lapsed Catholic meets baptized Jewish professional. Hilarity ensues. Roll credits.
We met through friends in the winter of 2013 and bonded over our love of whisky (at the time- Scholar’s served a mean $8 Marker’s Mark). Our love grew from there, and blossomed to include beer, tacos, fried chicken, and somehow along the way- each other. He knew I was Jewish (CJP on my business card made sure of that) and I knew he was Catholic (even if he thinks BC isn’t “that Catholic”), but raised in a house where religion was the only thing my parents didn’t argue about, I didn’t think it would be a big problem. And while it hasn’t been a problem, it has been a big deal.
Fast forward to moving in together, our first Christmas tree, and me trying to explain why Shabbat is so special, we knew we needed to communicate. Stumbling around the internet, we found a class to help us think about where we came from, why our backgrounds were so important, and how we want to integrate religion or tradition into our mini-family. It was a good class, and just what we needed, but it was far from perfect. And yet, when CJP said- “hey entrepreneurs, help us think about how interfaith couples talk about religion,” I looked the other way. When they said, “help us think about how interfaith young adults can engage with the religious community,” I said who me? But when they said- “these couples need someone to listen and support them,” I knew they meant me. So here I am.
Thanks for being on this journey with me (really us- I’m only half of this story!).