Article Discussion: Meeting the Parents of Your Jewish Daughters Catholic Fiance

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April 10, 2009 at 4:11 pm #913


Click here to read the article: Meeting the Parents of Your Jewish Daughters Catholic Fiance

July 24, 2009 at 3:07 pm #3463

Linda Heywood

My experience is that as children come along, couples who had agreed to not raise the children in one faith or another find that they want for their children the closeness of a spiritual community. In my case, my father converted to my mother’s faith after the birth of the first two children.

July 26, 2009 at 11:28 pm #3465


Yet another disheartening article where a couple has decided to take the path of least resistance, and turn their backs on each of their respective religions in the name of “love”.

The real question is why does keep posting these articles which offer NO helpful advice for interfaith families.
If the goal of this website is to encourage Jewish choices, why are so many of their articles featuring families who have turned their back on Judaism?

July 27, 2009 at 3:19 am #3466


(cont’d) do so many of the articles applaud families who make non-Jewish choices and sacrifice Judaism in favor of “compromise”?

August 6, 2009 at 2:40 pm #3512


I’m with you – I am very discouraged by these articles. I see no appreciation of Judaism at all.  In fact, I see a lot of hesitation.

August 6, 2009 at 2:45 pm #3513


To be honest, I hate these articles! They are almost as cry for help from the parents who have thrown up their hands and said, “there is nothing we can do”. I sometimes wonder about this website.

August 6, 2009 at 3:54 pm #3517


Interfaith? Try No-faith
This article is very depressing and not realistic. I’m Irish-Catholic and my Fiance is Jewish. We are having an interfaith wedding and we will raise our children in an interfaith community (more Jewish-Christian than Jewish-Catholic). Our parents are thrilled that we have decided to go with “both” and not “neither”. We know it won’t always be easy, but our children will know God and will have a great understanding and respect for all faiths.

September 22, 2009 at 2:00 pm #3782


I find that most of these websites want couples to have it both ways. You cant believe Jesus is our lord and savior on Monday, and on Tuesday believe he is not. Children need to feel at home in either a church, synagogue, or a temple. I am Catholic, my husband is Jewish. We chose to raise the children catholic (he did not convert) because children need a faith they can turn to in troubled times and happy times. There are other interfaith couples in my husbands family who chose exposing them to both. Guess what, most of these children grew up and married people who had faith and raised their children in that faith. What did they prove by not giving them a faith?

September 23, 2009 at 7:48 pm #3787


Ugh!  Raise them Jewish, please!

September 25, 2009 at 12:11 am #3789


Or raise them Christian with a knowledge of their Jewish heritage. If the Jewish parent is only culturally Jewish and the Christian parent IS religious, this would be the option I’d pick.

September 29, 2009 at 6:52 pm #3798

Andrea wrote:

Or raise them Christian with a knowledge of their Jewish heritage. If the Jewish parent is only culturally Jewish and the Christian parent IS religious, this would be the option I’d pick.

Would somebody explain to me what “culturally Jewish” means?  It is not a term that I use or like.  “Knowledge of Jewish heritage” – you can read a book.  That is also a cop out. I realize that this is a delicate subject but still . . .

September 30, 2009 at 7:12 pm #3805


Someone who feels connected to Judaism culturally, maybe because of a secular Jewish parent or grandparent, but doesn’t believe in God, practice the religion or know much of anything about it other than the foods or a few Yiddish words would be my definition. If I were the Catholic or Christian married to such a Jew, I wouldn’t see any good reason why I shouldn’t raise my kid Catholic or Christian if that’s all that religion means to the Jewish partner. If both parents are equally uncommitted, there’s no real reason why they shouldn’t expose the kids to both traditions on an equal basis.  

September 30, 2009 at 8:21 pm #3809


“Culturally connected”  – which you still did not define.  Oh, you mean, knows what a bagel is?  Boy, talk about ducking!

September 30, 2009 at 9:19 pm #3810

Hebrew Catholic

You may not use the term “culturally Jewish”, but I have heard (and read posts by) a lot of people who consider themselves Jewish who use it of themselves.  In context, it generally seems to mean something similar to the difference between being Mexican and being Catholic.  Mexican is an ethnicity, a nationality, and a cultural group, but not a religion.  Catholicism is a religion, including beliefs, styles of prayer, and moral standards.  Even though most Mexicans are Catholic, and some aspects of Mexican culture are influenced by Mexico’s Catholic history, it is possible to be part of the Mexican culture while being of a non-Catholic religion or no religion at all.  For example, this board has an article about Mexicans who converted to Judaism.  These converts were presumably still culturally Mexican.

Being part of a culture includes such facets of life as food, music, styles of humor, and attitudes about everthing from the role of parents in the lives of adult offspring to what constitutes appropriate behavior at a party.  It can include which milestones in life are important and how these milestones are observed.  It can include unspoken but nevertheless important “rules” like “big boys don’t cry” or “ladies speak softly”.  It includes how people strike delicate balances such as those between the needs of individual and the community, or between emotion and intellect.  It can include overarching “metanarratives” that act as filters through which all of life is seen, such as “Life’s driving force is progress toward something better” or “Everyone is out to get us.” 

It’s hard to think of any aspect of a culture that every single member will possess, but most members have enough aspects of the culture in which they grew up to have more in common with each other than with a random outsider.  Their shared culture is part of what binds them together as a community.

Because the word “Jewish” is used to refer not only to a religion but also to an ethnicity, there are people who have no intention of ever being religiously observant, and may even have left Judaism for some other religion or declared themselves firmly to have no religion at all, who, like non-Catholic Mexicans, nonetheless share many aspects of their ancestral culture, and want to be recognized as part of a community bound together by that culture.

I don’t know if that explanation will make you “like” the phrase “culturally Jewish” any better, and it certainly doesn’t mean you would ever use it, but it might at least explain what other people mean when they use the term.

If you  still dislike the term, perhaps you could suggest a better one that would allow people to talk about the sense in which they are connected to the Jewish community at a cultural level without feeling a part of it in a religious sense.

September 30, 2009 at 11:26 pm #3812


Alexandra, I did indeed define what I meant. Someone who knows what a bagel is probably isn’t culturally Jewish, but someone who eats bagels and lox with his family regularly and eats other typically Jewish foods on certain holidays might be. If you’ve never darkened the door of a synagogue or gone to Hebrew school, if you don’t believe in God or practice the religion in any meaningful way but you share a taste for foods, a certain type of humor, an affinity with victims of the Holocaust and automatically side with Israel, if your connection to Judaism is a sort of “We aren’t Christians — practicing Buddhism or Wiccanism is OK and we’re still Jewish, but no Catholics or Christians, please!” you might just be culturally Jewish. I wouldn’t call such a person religiously Jewish and, frankly, if I were the Christian spouse of such a person, I’d say we can baptize this child and I can take him to Mass and he can still be “culturally Jewish” with you the rest of the time. You can still share a taste for food, celebrate holidays, and teach the child your sense of humor, love for Israel, and sympathy for the victims of the Holocaust with a Catholic child who has Jewish ancestry.

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