Article Discussion: Why I Started The Half-Jewish Network

HomeDiscussionsGrowing up in an Interfaith FamilyArticle Discussion: Why I Started The Half-Jewish Network

This topic has 5 voices, contains 13 replies, and was last updated by  Lisa Minick 9 months ago.

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April 10, 2009 at 4:19 pm #2272


Click here to read the article: Why I Started The Half-Jewish Network

October 21, 2009 at 6:40 pm #3928

Judi Smith

It’s great that you are addressing these matters. I have learnt a lot from your articles. Best regards

October 21, 2009 at 8:02 pm #3929

Debbie B.

Because intermarriage rates have risen substantially in the past few decades there will be a growing number of adult children of intermarriage. I hope that relevant organizations will realize that children of intermarriage do not cease to exist nor do they cease to need services once they reach adulthood. Kudos to you, Robin, for being willing to work so hard to help other people like yourself.

October 28, 2009 at 12:24 am #3958


Dear Judi and Debbie:

Thank you so much for your kind words! They were gratefully appreciated!

Robin Margolis

December 11, 2009 at 7:05 pm #4113


This comment has been modified. Though we welcome dissenting views, we cannot host ad hominem attacks.

January 26, 2010 at 4:43 am #4273


Thank you to the this site for posting this article and to Robin for writing it. As a patrilineal Jew who has experienced discrimination at the hands of both Jewish and Christian organizations, but has persisted in my Jewish identity, I appreciate this issue getting time and space in interfaith and other Jewish media. Thanks again.

January 26, 2010 at 2:52 pm #4274


Dear Naomi:

Thank you for your support!


August 19, 2010 at 5:15 pm #4988


Kuddos to the author!

There are many of us out there who are half-Jewish (either ethnically or through inter-marriage) with little or no options for support.

Thank-you again for your determination and initiative.

August 20, 2010 at 5:07 am #4990

Susan Barnes

It sounds like a wonderful organization that you have started, and one that is much needed. I wish you would stick with the term “adult children of interfaith marriage” rather than “Half Jew,” though.

I don’t believe there is such a thing as a “half Jew.” Of course, there are some people who are searching for a spiritual home or are in transition (who might be called searchers or some such term,) but in general either a person has committed and proclaimed themselves to be a Jew or they haven’t (and if committing and proclaiming was good enough for our matriarchs in the Torah I don’t see why it shouldn’t be considered good enough now).

I recognize, of course, there is great difficulty caused by the fact that various groups and people have varying definitions of who is or isn’t a Jew. I know I’m Jewish but there is no way I will ever convince an Orthodox rabbi of that, since my father is Jewish and my mother is not. Still, I’m 100% Jewish. I am not a half Jew. At least that last statement the Orthodox rabbi and I can both agree on.

December 12, 2010 at 4:47 am #5301


Susan, “adult children”? How about “young children”?  I am Catholic, and my husband is Jewish. To me it makes sense that my children are half Jewish, and half Catholic, because both parents are not Jewish, nor both Catholic. That’s why mix couples of different faiths are called interfaith families, or intermarried families, because each one of them has a different religion. So the children are born to a Jewish father, and a Catholic mother, that means that they are a mix of two religions,= half and half. What is wrong with that?. According to the Jewish laws, for you to be Jewish your mother has to be Jewish. To me this is confusing, because if I am Catholic, and my husband is Jewish, I cannot say that my kids are only Catholic, because I didn’t have those kids by myself, their father is Jewish,  his contribution doesn’t count? There is another problem, and that is that religion is one thing, and race is another. I am Italian, so my kids say that they are half Italian and half Jewish. Or they say that they are Italian and Jewish.  

December 12, 2010 at 4:56 am #5302


Susan, If your father is Jewish, and your mother is of another faith, or race, you are not only Jewish, even if you grew up practicing only the Jewish religion.If you consider yourself only Jewish, what happens to your mother’s background, doesn’t count?

March 30, 2011 at 2:36 pm #5666


I am new in the discussion board, and have a question, my grand father was jewish but my gradmother was catholic so I grew up as a catholic, however 75% of my extended family is jewish. So, was hard for me to understand in my childhood why my holidays were not the same as my cousins.  Now as adult, I am living in USA (I originaly from Chile), and everyone categorize me as jewish. I always been close judaism and I will love to learn more…but I am confuse…I am really part jewish?. Who I am?..Thank you.

June 8, 2011 at 7:05 am #5843

Phx Mom

Welcome, Caroly.
I would say you are part Jewish because you had a Jewish grandfather.  However, matrilineal descent is generally accepted as the norm for determining whether the child is Jewish.  The American Reform and Reconstructionist movements accept patrilineal descent, too, as long as the child is brought up as a Jew and has a b’nai mitzvah or confirmation.  The bottom line is that unless you convert, your parents determine what faith you are.
That said, I would urge you to explore your Jewish roots if that’s appealing to you.  You’re free to attend synogague, but I believe that unless you converted, you would not be able to have an aliyah (say the blessing over the Torah.)
Best of luck to you in your quest.

August 19, 2011 at 11:19 pm #6038

Lisa Minick

Our family is officially interfaith.. I am Jewish and my husband is Catholic.  Our kids (11 and 13) are being raised in the Jewish faith and identify as Jews.  That being said, we do not live in a Jewish neighborhood, and are not as culturally Jewish as some.  We celebrate both Xmas and Chanukkah (as a religious holiday), Passover, Easter with friends and the High Holy Days.  Being a child born from two faiths has never been a problem for my children because, like me, they have been raised with a variety of friends – from various countries, faiths and backgrounds.  I am proud that my children are comfortable enough in their own religion to identify themselves as Jews, yet also know it is only part of their being – not their only identity.  Forums such as these are needed for those who have questions about interfaith relationships, but let me assure you, it’s not as big a deal as many may make it out to be.  Choose one religion for your children to follow as they grow up, provide a religious education and keep the lines of communication open for discussion of all religions.  You’ll raise great kids with good morals and respect for people of various faiths – and in the end, isn’t that what we all really want?

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