Article Discussion: Considering Religion How Will You Raise Kids

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April 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm #1644


Click here to read the article: Considering Religion How Will You Raise Kids

June 26, 2010 at 6:26 pm #4774

Virginia May Reynolds

I has just joint today and I find your article amazing. So true… and mind you our family is a multi-faith challenge, not just two religions but several… I found what you said useful and kind.

September 14, 2010 at 9:47 pm #5054


I can’t seem to find direction on this anywhere on the site… what is a “good answer” to the question of what my husband “is” if we are raising the kids Jewish, but my husband is not converting (I am Jewish) – he was raised Catholic but is NOT practicing.  Our kids are almost 6 and 2 & 1/2, so the questions are starting.

September 15, 2010 at 3:51 am #5055

Debbie B.

Who is asking the questions? Your kids or other people? Historically, there were people who lived among Jews and followed a number of Jewish practices, but were not Jewish. Such a person was called a “ger toshav”. But this is not a suitable answer to either your children or other people.

In the many years of being married to a Jew and raising Jewish children before I converted, I considered myself a member of a Jewish household who happened not to be Jewish. In fact, I lived and worshipped Jewishly (more observantly than my Reform Jewish friends) and even my religious beliefs were Jewish, but I had not undergone formal conversion, so privately I felt that I was just in a very drawn out process of conversion. Some people do not like to be defined in negative terms, but the only way to describe my situation was a non-Jew in a Jewish household.

I think it depends on how your husband sees himself. Even though he is not practicing, does he still consider himself Catholic? If so, I might call him a non-practicing Catholic in a Jewish household. Otherwise, perhaps he sees himself as the non-Jewish father of Jewish children.

I found the book “A Place in the Tent: Intermarriage and Conservative Judaism” to have some interesting stories about people like your husband (or me, before conversion). The authors came up with the term “k’rov Yisrael”. But that is not very helpful when talking to others since then you have to define the term that no one will recognize.

The real problem is that people feel the need to categorize. And those of us who defy categorization can thereby make people uncomfortable. But if you think about it, many labels are so broad that they don’t really distinguish either. A “Jew” born to two Jewish parents could be a completely non-practicing secular Jew who describes himself as “agnostic” or even as an “atheist” and may have little knowledge of Judaism. Or a “Jew” may be a very religiously observant person whose life is filled daily with religious activity.

April 3, 2011 at 1:24 am #5679


We have 2 teenage sons. My wife converted to the Jewish faith after the children were born and baptised Lutheran (I’m Lutheran). The children were raised Lutheran but have resisted choosing one faith or the other, we believe because they don’t want to choose between us. Both of us are serious about our respective faiths. We are even concerned that are one son is leaning toward Islam so he won’t have to choose. How do we convince them that choosing a faith is not choosing between one parent or the other?

July 21, 2011 at 2:27 pm #5979


In interfaith marriages children should told about both religion and when they grownup, let them decide about their religion.

December 24, 2011 at 9:16 pm #6462


TeacH them both religions and let the child once grown up they will make the decision what they want to be.

January 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm #6489

Sara Davies

DWD’s comment has resonance for me. When my husband and I married 20 years ago, we were both atheists. He was from a Protestant family, and I had a “mixed” background of one lapsed vaguely Christian parent and another lapsed vaguely Jewish parent. Only in the last 10 years have I become invested in Judaism. Our children have had no particular exposure to religion, and like their father, want nothing to do with it. So, I am uncomfortable about holidays, and any observance I do alone. I don’t feel a need to lay religion on anyone, yet at the same time, wish I had people to share it with. What my children decide will ultimately be up to them. I want them to know the door is open if they want support, but it’s their choice whether they want to learn about Judaism, some other faith, or ignore religion altogether.

March 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm #6640


I am an Armenian Christian and am engaged to a non-practicing Jew. His family is from England and Germany. He’s like 4th generation American also whereas i am not even first generation American. We have been engaged for about a year and a half. We were together for 4 before that, and during that time it was completely vague how we would even get married let alone raise our children. We have such loving families on both sides and don’t want to hurt anyone with our decisions either. We are having a minister and rabbi for our ceremony and the advice from our rabbi was to raise them with one religion (mind you this was said in front of his mom). It seems like I have more trouble coming to terms with that one religion. I want our children to grow up loved, happy, and feel like they know who they are instead of not being able to identify with themselves and go off to find out who they are. That scares me alot. I don’t want to “take over” with my religion because my fianc√© is so supportive either. I feel so stuck like either direction I choose will be difficult and challenging. Help!

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