Article Discussion: How My Non-Jewish Atheist Husband Helps Celebrate the Jewish Hol

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This topic has 3 voices, contains 5 replies, and was last updated by  Benjamin Maron 5 years ago.

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April 10, 2009 at 4:09 pm #669


Click here to read the article: How My Non-Jewish Atheist Husband Helps Celebrate the Jewish Hol

April 1, 2010 at 8:46 pm #4491


Hi, I’m wondering if Bill sings the prayers too? And if he does, doesn’t he feel weird saying the “Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe” part?

April 25, 2011 at 11:52 am #5745


You are very blessed to have someone like Bill to share what is important to you. I too have a non-Jewish husband. He has come around to the idea of not eating forbidden foods while we are together but that is about as far as it goes. He has never come to temple with me and does not feel the need to educate himself on my religious festivals. Having children has never really been important to me but I do not feel that it would be easy to raise children according to my faith and I do not necessarily tust my husband to support me in that journey. So I will need an awful lot of convincing if I am ever to have children.

November 19, 2011 at 6:22 pm #6306


Your family sounds a lot like mine, except we are both atheists; I’m Jewish and my husband is part Jewish. He is totally supportive of all we do (Sukkah-building, Seders, Shabbat) but he just won’t go to our secular services with us because it’s just not his thing. Still, we are definitely a Jewish household. Have you considered finding a Secular Humanistic Jewish congregation instead of a Conservative or even Reform or Reconstructionist one? Only you know what fits you and your family best but as someone who was a member of a Conservative synagogue growing up, you don’t sound like this is the best fit. Our secular, progressive congregation celebrates Jewish culture, tradition, history, teachings (we even read the Torah as literature) and has rewritten the liturgy so we can say what we actually believe in. I agree with the first poster – your husband can say the prayers in Hebrew and try to justify it all even if he doesn’t pray to God (like I used to), but you and he should know that there are other options – there are many beautiful secular Shabbat blessings (even a revised Shema) we say. Also, being a confirmed atheist or even agnostic is not a requirement for membership so it might be a better fit for you too. Shabbat shalom!

November 30, 2012 at 9:48 pm #8808


After reading your story, I feel even more at odds. My boyfriend is nothing like Bill in the sense of being open-minded to participating. In fact, he is very passionate about his newly found atheist views, and I’m actually concerned that our now 2 year relationship will not be able to survive. He used to have such an appreciation and respect for Judaism that has now transformed into scoffing and disgust. He says that we could still raise the kids Jewish, but I know it’s something he’s completely against and could end up resenting me for. I’m at a loss, and don’t know what to do. Please help!

December 3, 2012 at 10:55 am #8824

Benjamin Maron

It might be helpful to have more conversations about how you might balance your Jewish practice with your boyfriend’s atheist views as you go forward in your relationship.

If you’re in the Chicago area, you might check out our Love and Religion workshop, which focuses on open communication and the role of religion/spirituality in interfaith couples/families.

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